Overcoming Obstacles through the Power of the Pen By Bev Walton-Porter

At 7 a.m. on the morning of May 14, 2001 I kissed my kids goodbye and my husband of 16 years drove me to my second job. That was the last time I would ever see him. At 4:30 that afternoon, the police called my cell phone and delivered the news that my husband had died in an accident.

Prior to Gary’s death, I had written scores of articles, reviews and stories. After his death, nothing flowed from my pen for nine whole months. Each day I struggled to simply to get through the day. I thought I’d never be able to write again.

The writing community was overwhelming in its positive support. At the time, I was a delegate and grievance officer for the National Writers Union and, although I hadn’t met the majority of them face-to-face, my inbox and regular inbox was a deluge of sympathy cards and touching handwritten notes. In addition, my home was filled with breathtaking floral bouquets and gift baskets. These people didn’t even know me; yet, to them, I was part of another family — the writer’s family.

After nine months of walking around in a stupor and wondering how I would go on with my life and manage to raise two children alone without any family support in Colorado, one day I realized I had two choices: give up and waste the rest of my life in the black hole of pity or pull up my proverbial bootstraps and press on.

Today, I have managed to return to college with a double major and am four credits short of graduation at the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs. Over the past two years I’ve also co-authored one book and authored two others — one through Writer’s Digest Books, a major publisher.

My children are now teenagers and my son was accepted to NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts last fall. His major? Dramatic Writing. He’s been bitten by the writing bug, too! My lovely daughter is 15 and is a combination of tomboy and teen model. As for me, I met a wonderful illustrator named Paul in November 2005 and we are engaged to be married next year.

If you’d told me six years ago that I’d be able to handle widowhood, single parenthood, going back to college and becoming a multi-published book author after my husband’s death, I wouldn’t have believed it. But through the moral support of the writing community and through the process of writing itself, I’ve managed to succeed in small ways in order to overcome big obstacles.

For me, words aren’t just lifeless things on a page; words flowing through my fingers and forming on the page helped me find new life as a writer and new hope as a human being.

Bev is co-author of “The Complete Writer: A Guide to Tapping Your Full Potential” (Red Engine Press, August 2005). Her book, “Sun Signs for Writers,” was published by Writer’s Digest Books in August 2006. Her first fiction book, “Mending Fences,” was published under pen name Star Ferris in September 2006 by Whiskey Creek Press. She is a client of the Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency in New York City.