Paving the Personal Path to a Literary Life

123_1We’ve all travelled unique paths to the present. I found my way to this literary life a little later than most, after decades in information technology and corporate America, after extensively volunteering for non-profit organizations and freelancing as a business writer while raising a daughter. Computers, my fascination with them and the world they create and deliver, have been a constant thread throughout each of these opportunities.

Not many of you, and fewer as time goes on, will remember their first glimpse of a computer. I was eighteen, not long out of high school, soon to be married, and tucked into a windowless sliver of low-ceilinged room at the now-defunct First National Bank in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The soon-to-be-married status was unfortunate as was the fact that I was NOT one of the promising Central File Clerks chosen to digitally transform the department.

I befriended the chosen. They allowed me to look at their glowing monitors, only when our supervisor, Elsie, was out of the room. They tabbed and typed names and numbers into what I found out were fields, and, oh, I so wanted to also bask in the blue light of their IBMs.

I earned that chance after escaping the dungeon and the aforementioned dragon, and transferring to another department and a keyboard of my own. Eventually, I landed with a pre-public-access-Internet information service reached by external, screeching 300-, 1200-, then 2400-baud dial-up modem, some with acoustic couplers, cabled to computers with names like Commodore 64, RadioShack TRS 80, Apple II or Apple IIe. This service, through these computers, allowed the sharing of news archives (a radical notion at that time in that industry), and the retrieval (if you had enough time and money) of the full text of articles, one letter at a time, about as fast as the slightly-above average typist could type. Starting in the early 1980s, we distributed news stories from “The Daily Oklahoman” and “The Dallas Morning News” and a growing list of news sources from across the U.S. and eventually the world. Even without delivering a single graphic or photo, and nearly two decades away from a website or hotlink, we were hot shit! What nirvana.

From the technical side of the newsroom, I formed a fascination with the writers, their stories and storytelling, and after a magical sperm-meets-egg moment that created one life (my daughter’s) and transformed another (mine), I journeyed into that side of the world. I explored this fascination with writing, choosing to better myself, further my education, and become the mother I wanted for my daughter. I pursued an undergraduate degree in English with a creative writing specialization and an MFA in literature and nonfiction.

My current role as Craft Talk Editor of The Tishman Review, marries these things I love—computers, storytelling, improvement of self. It allows me to bring together disparate perspectives and interconnect a worldwide community of writers and readers in online conversation about other writers, writing processes, books, prose, and poetry, to encourage the sharing of hard-earned insight and wisdom and to help writers deliver their best work while expanding the possibilities of that work. Bottom line, my purpose is to serve the best interest of writers in order that each is richer in idea and craft and the world is richer for having heard what each has to say.

The online world, The Tishman Review, and I are ready for your ideas.

Charlie Lewis
Craft Talk Editor

[Submissions to the Tishman Review Craft Talk are made via Submittable. While I prefer pieces between 700 and 1,000 words, I will gladly read the longer.]

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