This is the first of a series of blog posts by IWC members on their writing lives.

I was long and lanky. Such a cruel trick my body played on my mother; I was no longer her doll to dress and display.  I was growing up and growing away from my 1950s upbringing.  That is where my writing began. 

I was born under a tower of men, that is, I had a strong father and two strong older brothers.  Although I was a “girlie” girl, I thought their lives more fulfilling than my mother’s and mine.  Not only were they being raised to make history (while I was being raised to make beds) they played sports every afternoon while I strolled my baby sister like a “little mother.” 

My father did recognize the reader in me and took me to the library once a week on Saturdays.  I turned to books to live out my real life, a life where I was still a girl, but moreover, I was a person, with dreams and abilities.  When I ran out of children’s books, I found a book that was going to change the direction of my life. I didn’t know it then, but I was going to be a writer.   The book was To Kill a Mockingbird.”  Although it was to be years later that I began to seriously write, Scout and Jem and Atticus were always with me.  Even at the age of ten, I seemed to realize the enormous impact wielded by a writer.   

I had written stories as a child, but back then, no one in my family understood (including me) that writing is a craft that must be taught.  As I entered the vestibule between childhood and adulthood, I found myself reading more and more, but not writing. There were no creative writing classes or writing units in school in the 1960s. 

Entering my teenage years, I must admit I read every issue of Seventeen Magazine, but I also  read all the classics we were assigned in English class, read all the Shakespeare plays the summer before my senior year (my summer of Shakespeare as I like to call it) and when I entered university, prepared to be an English major, I found myself in love and married two years later.

Somewhere along the way, I lost the writer whispering inside of me.  It wasn’t until three children later, that the whispering writer, hollered.  “Go back to school.”  I did.  I completed my remaining two years of undergrad in 2010 and I am currently a Masters of Fine Arts candidate at Butler University here in Indianapolis. 

Along the way, I enrolled in Writers Center classes and continue to do so.  One of the reasons, I was motivated to apply for acceptance into Butler’s MFA program was because of the tutoring of the Writers Center here in Indianapolis.  The teachers, classes and workshops gave me opportunities to be part of a writing community and to hone my writing.  It prepared me to write in undergrad and graduate school.  I continue to take classes at the Writers Center, even though I am in graduate school, because of the quality of the programs.  I am a member of the Writers Center.  I always will be.   I am now a professional writer.  I always was a writer, I just needed a place like the Writers Center to bring me back to Scout and Jem and Atticus.

Deanna Morris

If you're a member of the IWC, please consider submitting a short essay (up to 1,000) words about your writing life. Submissions should be e-mailed to

Written by Barbara Shoup — March 20, 2013

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