Vision: A Resource for Writers
Lazette Gifford, Editor
Vision@sff.net

Meet the Moderators

June Drexler

y father was a scientist, a mathematician, and, later, a ceramic artist.  My mother had, in her youth, a voice to rival Judy Garland's.  Whether their talents had any impact on my view of myself, I don't know.  I do know that I grew up feeling thoroughly average.  I saw myself as rather stupid, actually.  For example, the other children, upon returning to school each year, could always boast of reading fifteen, twenty, even forty books over the summer, while I had never managed more than one.  The teachers never thought to ask, and I never thought to offer, the various titles of those books read.  So, I have no way of knowing whether the boy who read forty books had included The Agony and the Ecstasy (the book I struggled through that year) or not. 

I would not have defined myself as a writer in those early years.  I was, instead, an artist.  A pad of paper and a pencil was for drawings, not words.  I suppose I would have continued along that route if not for college.  I spent a year at a state college in Pennsylvania where I was disabused of the idea that I was any sort of artist.  I was, it seems, not creative enough for even the freshman professors. 

So, I left college, got married, had kids, and somewhere in the first decade of my children's lives began scribbling down stories.  Most of those attempts were incredibly bad.  Actually, I began by scribbling poetry, but that was so painfully horrid that I switched quickly to something that did not require a concept of rhyme. 

I am not a talented writer.  Words do not come easily for me, nor have stories always erupted in my brain like a Yellowstone geyser (loud, strong, and on time).  Rather, it is the pure creative need that I can't escape.  I need to make something in order to be happy.  Early, that something took the form of drawings and paintings, later stories.  Creation, not fiction, satisfies the soul-hunger for me. 

Not being particularly talented, it has taken me a very long time to compensate with craft -- over 20 years, in fact.  Part of the reason for this is that I've taken a lot of time off from writing.  I've raised two children, both in their twenties now, worked at various jobs from T-shirt printer to patent department secretary, been married, then divorced, then married again. 

I spent long sojourns in fan fiction also.  Sometimes I wonder why I did that.  That time feels wasted, but I also met many good friends while writing for Pern clubs and other fan groups.  I think, perhaps, I was running away.  The larger world of 'real' fiction, scared me.  In the end, however, my own 'fiction places' have always drawn me back. 

I have learned a lot about writing and writers over the years.  I have also failed to learn at times, allowing the opportunities to pass I now wish I had embraced.  Today, as with the very first time I tried to write, I fluctuate wildly between believing the thing I've just written is magnificent and thinking it is too foul for a dog to sniff.  I still strive for the words, curse the characters, sob and scream and pull my hair out -- writing is a painful exercise.  It is also the thing I love doing above everything else. 

I'm not sure what this article was supposed to be.  Perhaps a history of my life, but, to be honest, I've had a boring life.  Perhaps I should be giving pearls of wisdom about writing.  I'm not sure I have any.  Writing is hard.  Writing is rewarding.  It is fun, but it is also work.  Beyond that, writing is a road each writer has to carve for his or herself.  I wouldn't want to deny anyone else their own journey by promoting my route as THE good one. (Unless you care to go to Scotland by way of New Zealand, don't follow my example anyway.) 

About the only advice I can give is: don't look back with regret.  Whatever failures or distractions you've allowed yourself regarding your goals, those paths have made you the person you are.  Enjoy yourself.