When I was studying Creative Writing, I liked to introduce myself as the victim of a happy childhood. I was only 21 when I jumped in and decided to commit to writing at least one poem a week, teaching first year college students, and delving in to my inner life. I was a beginner then--intrigued, lonely, and often desperate for the next achievement, bit of excitement, or bend in the road.
Others seemed to have much more juicy writing material than I did. They had travelled, some had families, and many came from interesting, richly diverse, and sometimes painful, backgrounds. They had read all of Chaucer, The Odyssey, and studied Latin. They struck me as rich in material, and I wasn't sure I had much of a story to tell.
I now know that every childhood story gets a bit more complicated with time. For every lucky break I've gotten in my personal life (ideal mate, two healthy kids) and career (string of ifulfilling jobs), I've also had to face some serious "clean pain" - the kind that hurts right to the core, the kind that made me not want to get out of bed in the morning. I lost a few people that I couldn't imagine the world without. I worked my tail off at a job that took everything I would give, and one day they let me go, just like that.
For me, each period of clean pain--pain I didn't invent--has led me to a better place. In these difficulties, I found my strength. I grieved my loved ones fully and with intensity, then found a way to love my husband, children, sister, and mom, even more. I found a new and better career path, one that spoke to my independence, my grit, and my gifts, more than I could have imagined.
I'm Alissa Norton: BS, Human Development & Family Studies, MFA Poetry. 25 years' experience in corporate, small business, nonprofit, education. Proud mom of two teens, professional video producer, creative dabbler, gardener, outdoor enthusiast. In training at the Martha Beck Institute for Life Coaching.