When I started writing in earnest, around the age of 12, it was mostly poetry, the rhymes and verses reflecting what I was feeling, wishing, or trying to cope with in my life. I wrote quite a few poems and then started writing short stories, because I didn’t always want to be restricted by the number of words or making a rhyming match. I had some very supportive English teachers along the way, Beverly Keeler, Linda Sweeney Wilde, Judith Robbins, Dottie Hentz Smith, and Eileen Lucier. They not only taught us the formats for writing, whether it was poetry or prose, but they encouraged us to explore the writer hidden inside of us, and to find our own voices.
Judith Robbins was the first one to encourage me to send my work out, to the school newspaper. I was terrified of rejection and possible humiliation, yet she convinced me to stick my neck out there and take the risk. When she died, I was heartbroken, for she had been a mentor as well as a teacher. In my senior year of 1971, I had Mrs. Eileen Lucier for my English teacher, and she helped me submit a poem to the National High School Poetry Press, for the Young America Sings anthology which came out that Spring. One day, at the end of classes, they announced on the school intercom that my poem had made it into the anthology, almost knocking me out of my chair. I was being published! I will never forget that feeling, or the women who helped me believe in myself enough to take that risk for something I loved. Even if I never have another thing published in my lifetime, I will carry that joy and sense of pride always.
It is up to all of us adults to encourage and support our youth to not only face their fear, but pursue their dreams and believe in themselves. With that, I want to share my first published poem, Love’s Season’s, exactly as it appeared in the anthology in 1971. Thank you for reading this blog! Ladies, wherever you are, thank you for being my mentors!
Love’s Seasons A love will shine like coming spring and grow till it means everything. Its freshness sparkles like the dew and makes the world look washed anew. In springtime, warmth is rain and sun, and tears and laughs expressed as one. As seasons change, so does a love from winters storms, to Springs soft dove. As winter takes a love away, the ice will thaw some Springtime day. But, if that love does not return, some new fire of love will burn. © Susan B. Lovejoy 1971 Young America Sings