I’ve had many people ask me what my writing/publishing journey has been like. I’m going to break the story up into several posts over the next few weeks. If you have questions along the way, please post them in the comment section and I’ll do my best to answer them in some Q&A posts.
The Early Years – Discovering the Poet & Writer Within
I started writing when I was quite young. I was an avid reader – I can’t remember a time I didn’t have stacks of books in my bedroom overflowing from my bookcase. The titles changed as I grew up, but the state of my bookshelf always remained the same. There were several reasons why I loved reading. Although I believe the main reason was to escape a variety of circumstances that created upheaval and turmoil in my family’s house. The more my life twisted, the more I wanted to snuggle up in bed with a good book and just stay there all day long.
By the time life calmed down, I was hooked on books, characters, and the written word. I wrote my first newspaper article when I was in 6th grade. I had been assigned to a reading group, then needed to do an individual project on the book we read. For my project, I called the police station and invited our Chief of Police to come talk to my class about crime and how to stay on the right track when we went to junior high. After his visit, my teacher suggested I write a newspaper article about his visit. She edited my first and second drafts, then helped me submit it to our local paper, which covered our entire county. I still remember the day it was printed, reading the article over and over again, each time a tingle went down my spine when I read the byline – by Tara Danyelle Bauman. Me.
That winter, I wrote my very first story, which I called “Electric Youth.” It was a very simple story about two teenagers and first love. I printed it out on my dot matrix printer, ripped off one side off the perforated edges, then weaved yarn through the left hand side’s edges to bind it. I placed it in a box, wrapped it up and gave it to my great aunt for Christmas. I had forgotten about that story, until just a few years ago when my great aunt sent it to me, still intact. Reading it was both humbling and embarrassing. Humbling to remember that little girl who dreamed of writing and yearning for praise. Embarrassing to realize just how pathetic that first story sounded. Although, I guess for a 12 year old, I probably did pretty well.
That spring, I started writing poetry. While I walked the very long path from the bus stop to home, words would flow through my head. I often stopped to pull out a note book and jot down words, thoughts, and impressions. I also enjoyed art and would go sit by the creek that ran behind our house to draw and write some more.
For the next few years, I entered my poetry into the writing competition at our county fair. Each year, I won various awards in different categories. It was exciting to take my cash winnings and the babysitting money I had saved over the summer to purchase clothes for school.
In high school, I wrote occasionally wrote columns for our high school newspaper. I also entered some poetry competitions there as well. Just after graduating from high school, we learned my mother’s cancer had returned. Three weeks later, she was gone. The very last poem I wrote was to her. It encompassed so many emotions and so much love. I remember tucking it at her feet with a picture of us together during our very last goodbye before the casket was closed.
And that was the end of the words that flowed through my mind, forming beautiful poems. The words stopped flowing for a very long time. Eventually they came back, but in a very different form.