Vision: A Resource for Writers
Lazette Gifford, Editor

Meet the Moderator:
Kay House (strigidae)

Kay House first became a moderator in Holly Lisle's Forward Motion Writing Community when she was tapped to fill in as Mystery and Suspense Moderator during Ron Brown's absence.  She has read widely in mystery, science fiction, romance and fantasy.   

House's obscure screen handle, strigidae, came into being when a former community host refused to accept her name or preferred screen handles (night owl, bookworm, etc.) as a login name.  (They hosted a lot of communities.)  In a fit of annoyance, she decided that, as a writer and wordsmith, she could and would find a word that was not already taken.  She marched off to find The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds and looked up owls.  The species name for most owls is strigidae.  That name was not already taken on the old host's system, and she took it -- quickly!

Having practiced law from 1979 to 2001, when she was sidelined due to disabling migraine headaches, House has finished more non-fiction reports, briefs, pleadings, memoranda, agreements, funding applications, contracts, wills, deeds and other legal instruments than she can count.  Finishing fiction, however, comes hard for her.  Even finishing non-fiction has proven difficult, despite the fact that she has two published professional papers to her credit.  "Ordinarily," she says, "I knew I had finished a piece of writing when I finally allowed my beleaguered secretary to tear it from my clutching fingers in time to meet the deadline of whichever express delivery service had the latest available pickup." 

House first realized she wanted to write fiction when, at the age of eight, she read Anna Sewell's Black Beauty.  Some of her early poetry was published in high school literary magazines, and she spent two years in the high school department of St. Mary's Jr. College (now St. Mary's School) in Raleigh.  As an undergraduate, House carried a double major in English and Political Science.  In the end, however, she allowed her family to persuade her to go to law school on the theory that practicing law was a more practical way to make a living than writing fiction.  She took both her academic degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: a B. A. in 1976 and a J. D. in 1979. 

In 1987, House got her first computer, and began littering her hard drive with the beginnings of stories that never got finished.  As her career as a legal aid lawyer continued to prosper, the needs of her clients came first, and her writing got less and less attention.  When she was decisively sidelined with daily severe migraine headaches, her husband, Dan Besse, encouraged her to set a reasonable writing goal for a woman with less than 6 usable hours a week.  On his advice, she decided that, instead of trying to write a great novel, she would try to write a mediocre short story.  Finally, shortly after joining Forward Motion last winter, she achieved that goal.  While it remains the only piece of fiction she has yet finished, House reminds herself that setting small gentle goals is important, and that one must work around one's physical limitations as well as one can. 

With Ron Brown's return and Rob Flumignan taking over as team leader for Mystery and Suspense, House has stepped back to assisting with the moderation of the Mystery and Suspense, General Fiction, Rants and Tutorials boards.  She hopes to finish another mediocre short story in the near future.  

Her professional publications include:

CEOing: Something Completely Different, Management Information Exchange Journal , Spring 2002, Volume XVI, 1.

Interviewing the Pro Bono Client, North Carolina Bar Foundation, Pro Bono 101 (2000).

  Copyright 2002 Anniekate Finley