Meet Laura Kemp, Author “Evening in the Yellow Wood”
Laura is a teacher who loves to write about her home state of Michigan. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University where she studied under Stuart Dybek, and has had her short fiction and poetry published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Word Riot, Tonopalah Review, SaLit and SLAB: Sound and Literary Art Book. “The Pursuit of Happiness,” – a short story she wrote while at WMU, was chosen as a finalist in the Trial Balloon Fiction Contest.
When not writing, Laura enjoys musical theatre, hiking, swimming, reading and performing with her Celtic band- Si Bhaeg Si Mohr. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and children as well as her dog, two hamsters, two gerbils, ten chickens, two horses and eight (and counting) cats.
Laura loves to connect with readers on her blog: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sea Legs on Land), as well as on Facebook, Twitter (@LKempWrites) and Instagram. (lkempwrites) (less)
I’ve been wanting to write a blog for years and decided to finally kick it into gear. I have a novel being released by Pandamoon Publishing and thought this would be a great way to connect with readers and other writers.
Sunday, May 20, 2018
I was a wistful kid, always fluctuating between what I ‘wanted to be when I grew up’ and what was happening in the here and now. One day I wanted to be a movie star, the next a doctor or veterinarian (I still haven’t entirely gotten over that one).
When I went to college the question still loomed over me… ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ because even though I loved writing, I never thought I could make a living at it. Luckily I had equally wistful parents who allowed me to major in Creative Writing at Western Michigan University- a risky venture. I knew I was never going to actually ‘use’ my degree unless I got rich writing a novel. I always assumed I would settle down at a newspaper and start writing human interest stories (a quandary my protagonist struggles with in ‘Evening in the Yellow Wood.’)
Long story short, I got my degree, had a blast and met some great friends and professors while the rest of my friends worked on their practical goals. No creative writing jobs presented themselves on a silver platter and so I found work at a dog kennel, at the Elks Lodge, at a golf course and as a waitress at Applebee’s. Somewhere in the middle of all that I stumbled upon a job that would fulfill me for the next 13 years- I became a paraprofessional in a special needs classroom and began to teach students.
Wait a minute… ‘Teacher’ had ever been high on my wish list. Nevertheless, people began ‘hinting’ that I would be a great teacher. It became annoying, in fact- as though I was being ‘pushed’ into something legitimate. And what would become of my writing? Late nights grading papers and chaperoning school dances left little time for the Muse to appear. Two such time-consuming jobs could never go hand in hand… could they?
And then I quit my parapro job, went through a divorce and began to question what direction my life was taking. I needed something substantial to get my children through our financial hardships and the dog kennel just wasn’t cutting it.
And then an opportunity presented itself to me. And my parents took another risky venture.
I’m now proud to say I am a certified teacher in the state of Michigan- finishing up just in time to dive into the Epsilon class with my fellow Pandas.
And still I wonder if a writer can ever truly divide their heart between two professions. Are we all just ‘treading water’ until we get to quit our day job to write full time? I see others do it- I see my fellow Pandas and all the projects they have going on outside of their writing and am in awe.
I am also comforted- because I know that every quirky job I ever had has meandered its way into one of my stories. Every strange character I couldn’t get out of my head was based on someone in real life. Places, objects- even smells- stuck in my mind like a shoelace to Velcro and if I waited around for inspiration to strike I might find myself staring at a blank page indefinitely.
In other words, I need to live in order to have anything to write about, and that might include a thrilling chapter on grading papers long into the night or the girl who’s glued against a gymnasium wall with no one to dance with.
Stephen King did it. Robert Frost and J.K. Rowling did it, too. In fact, teaching and writing seem to go hand in hand. We plot the stories in our head the same way we guide the lives of the students in our charge, always hoping for a happy ending.
So be a teacher, or a doctor or a lawyer or a veterinarian. Spend some time hanging around dog kennels and the local Elks Lodge. Take your experiences and carry them onto the page because nothing is ever wasted. The Muse follows the action, not the other way around.
And so I dive into the next chapter as a Middle School teacher with the same wistful heart I had when I was young, knowing that some of my students will make their way into the stories that have given me such joy.
Names changed… of course.
My blogs @Laura Kemp
|Location||White Pigeon, MI, United States|
|Introduction||I’ve been wanting to write a blog for years and decided to finally kick it into gear. I have a novel being released by Pandamoon Publishing and thought this would be a great way to connect with readers and other writers.|
|Interests||Writing, reading, teaching, hiking, swimming, kayaking, spending time with my family,singing, musical theatre|
|Favorite Movies||Fargo, Last of the Mohicans, Napolean Dynamite, Legends of the Fall, In the Bedroom, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, etc… etc… etc…|
|Favorite Music||Bluegrass, Celtic, Pop, Dance, Anything with a beat that tells a good story|
|Favorite Books||Slaughterhouse- five, To Kill a Mockinbird, Lord of the Flies, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Misery, The Green Mile, The Pilot’s Wife, The Hunger Games, Pet Sematary, Lord of the Rings Trilogy|