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  • Writer's picture Beth Black

A Story and a Half

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

It's one thing to read a story. It's another to know the tale that wags it. In this blog, I'll write about creative insights, story inspirations, character battles (sometimes they fight back) and why I use the Oxford Comma in stories ... but not in posts about them.

I began writing short stories as a young mother. As the daughter of an intensely gifted writer -- my mother -- I took a while to really get started. Ours was a complicated relationship, but one joy we shared was attending a writers group together. It's where I began to expand my skills, pushing with her toward publication of our various works. I remember we once entered an essay contest where the awards were handed out at a luncheon. My mother won first prize and I won third. We both saw it as a good start for me. Since then, I earned a degree in English/Creative Writing at UC, Irvine -- one of the top writing schools in the nation. I followed that by working on-staff as a writer for 5 years. This was during a period when Mom was pulling together her published stories and released them in a collection. When she was finished, she succumbed to a horrible form of cancer, Multiple Myeloma. We just missed the experience of working together at a truly professional level.

I'm working with my mother's publishing company to control her projects. It's what she asked me to do. I'll keep you updated on that. I believe it would honor her memory, and the memory of her talent, to see that her work lives on. It garnered praise from literary press publishers originally, and I believe a new generation of readers will enjoy her personal brand of wit and irony.

Whether a degree in Writing adds much to fiction work is debatable. We've all read the works of famous authors who claimed their education took place at a library. (In fact, a college education does much the same.) This much I know: I come from a line of storytellers. At every family gathering, my great aunts and uncles, my grandparents, my parents and us kids would sit around my grandmother's living room and tell tales. Oh, the tales we told!

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