At St. Clement’s School we are blessed with several staff, and many alumnae, who have had their writing published and stories told. I always marvel at this feat and wonder how it is accomplished. How does an author decide on characters and create their paths? How do they grab the reader such that the reader is living the lives of fictional characters with avid interest? At what stage of life do these skills take hold? On Saturday night I had the good fortune to attend a book launch for Susan Doherty Hannaford- the aunt of two of our Clementines- whose first novel A Secret Music has been published. Susan is 52.
I share Susan’s age with you because when she spoke at the launch she explained that she decided over eight years ago to become an author. I recall talking with Susan over many years about her project, and, on Saturday evening I sat at the launch listening to her with great admiration. Despite receiving repeated rejection letters from publishers, losing 57 pages of her work at one point because she had not saved it, and working through numerous edits, Susan has accomplished what she set out to do.
Susan reminded me that as we work to teach our girls and young women that the best path is rarely a straight line, it doesn’t hurt to pause and remind ourselves of the same thing. Regardless of age or circumstance, all of us are capable of being the author of our own stories- literally or figuratively.