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Retire? Not this writer

Who are you kidding? No woman ever gets to retire! It's one of those unspoken rules. Men retire. Women don't. Not that I'm complaining. But stop to think about something: Maybe that's why we women live longer than our male counterparts.

After 30 years I was forced to give up hairdressing for health reasons. Would I be bored? I hoped not! I was so used to being around chatty clients that the thought of staying home was overwhelming. I had heard horror stories from reliable sources. After all, my clients had confided in me _ and they knew!

I wondered if I could be happy removed from the mainstream. I had to find another interest. I wanted something that would be meaningful and realized it was imperative to my survival. Absolutely and positively imperative. So I began to write.

My first strike-out was not knowing how to type. I enjoyed writing, but all that hunting and pecking picked my last nerve. So I decided to attend adult education in downtown New Port Richey and in two lessons conquered that challenge.

I struggled along until I purchased a computer and taught myself to use it effectively. Heck, I was in writer's heaven! I had a computer and I knew how to type! What more could one ask?

Well, I soon discovered that my friends and family could listen to only so much of my work, so I decided to give them a break. I joined the Writer's Block in New Port Richey. I began to read my work to the members, and they actually listened. Their critiques have been a big asset for me, and I humbly thank them all. I worked to polish my craft and eventually was lucky enough to secure an agent.

Not long afterward, I decided to attend a creative writing course at Pasco-Hernando Community College. I learned a deeper appreciation for words and a keen insight into creative thinking. And it was while attending PHCC that my agent sold my first book. Ever since, my life has been a wild ride.

My world has definitely changed. My existence has never been more rewarding or challenging. I love this new planet I've discovered, and I thrive in its glow.

I readily admit to having a tremendously supportive husband and family, and I thank God for my own tenacity. But I thank New Port Richey for affording me adult education and college courses for non-matriculating students, and for clubs like the Writer's Block and Toastmasters. I look forward to a class in journalism and have my fingers crossed that the University of South Florida sets up a campus in our area.

I've had several poems and a short story published, and I'm working on another book. I'm involved with press releases and interviews, and I'm giving talks and readings from my new novel, Desperate Intentions. I'm busy and I love it. But retired? Are you kidding? No woman ever gets to retire!

Eileen Raymond is a writer who lives in New Port Richey.