Writer and Photographer

Front Page | Writing Examples | Photographic Gallery | My Experience | Testimonials | Contact Me

Bettse shares her story

Don't be afraid to shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will fall among the stars . . .

In the beginning . . .

It is funny what memories from our childhood come back to us throughout our entire lives. I remember one of my early memories is when I was six-years-old and somehow knew during that time that I wanted to be a writer. I can't remember what prompted the decision except perhaps my mother was always writing something or other. I wanted to write a children's book. However, it came about, I knew and was determined that I would be exactly that. I did write quite a bit through grade school and high school that was graded well by my teachers, and was even published a few times in the letters to the editor.

Unfortunately, as it happens so many times during each individual's life, a sudden twist or turn steers us off course from our destination, and that happened to be in the form of a snake - Copperhead snake, that is.

And the serpent said unto the woman . . .

Well, it didn't really speak to me, just objected highly when I stepped on it in the middle of the night in my parents' living room floor. It did what any normal being would do, it turned around and bit me.

Yes, the living room inside the house. We were doing some remodeling and somehow it had sneaked into a crack in the wall. I was young and idealistic and just starting out in life . . . and had no insurance. The hospital bill seemed astronomical to me, and I felt forced to obtain full-time employment in order to pay the bills. Nevertheless, even though I found this experience bitter and daunting at the time, I learned many years later that it was beneficial to me in more ways than I could understand.

However, my writing took second place and then third as I was working my way through full-time plus employment and coping with other factors that life presented.

All that glitters is not gold . . .

While working, I became attracted by a shiny light, and, contrary to the universal warning, I went towards the light . . . the computer light, that is.

In other words, the world of the computer was booming, and I dove right in up to my headlights. It was an addiction that I had to learn everything about, always planning to write the great American novel someday soon. Nevertheless, my writing was more or less of a technical nature writing text books on computer programs, marketing material, and company newsletters for corporations. Unfortunately, "they" never got each other in the end of the manuscript.

It took several years of this addiction, concentration and education to realize that I had swallowed one of the biggest hoaxes known to modern man-and-woman-kind . . . the computer was an untrustworthy, unreliable mechanical device that became obsolete the moment it was developed. I was never going to become a Bill Gates and get ahead of the game.

Although the glitter dimmed, I still am not sorry for those years studying the computer age and still continuing my education in this field, but as a very low secondary field while concentrating on my chosen field as a photojournalist.

But the LORD was not in the wind . . . a still small voice . . .

It took several more years for me to be leaving the corporate and computer world and take the steps to become a full-time freelance writer and photographer. One of those obstacles was in a big wind . . . no, not political but meteorological. Or in other words, an F4 tornado that tore through the Midwest in 2003 right through our county in eastern Kansas.

We were in the house with no basement when we heard that the tornado was heading in our direction. Scared? No, I wasn't that smart and in fact, at one point, wanted to go look at the amazing force of nature. I didn't believe, of course, that a tornado would descend into a valley where we live, but it did . . .

The next moment, I was fighting to hold the door closed while the house collapsed and twisted around us.

It wasn't so much the tornado itself to live through but the aftermath. The life I had spent years refining was gone in a matter of seconds. Memories torn from their roots and were shredded before my very eyes. That is the real devastation of any natural tragedy of nature.

Nevertheless, it did leave me with one very important discovery that I didn't appreciate at the time . . . I could still write.

I wrote a brief outline of the experience for the friends at work who inquired after me, and several said that it could be published. That surprised me at first, but upon checking with the Kansas City Star, they eagerly snatched it up and a follow-up article a year later. (These articles are available to read by going to Writing Examples.)

However, at this time, I still felt uneasy about leaving my comfort area of the computer world.

You meant it for evil but God meant it for good . . .

It was not evil when my mother took sick with cancer; it was just another stepping stone in life. I prepared as best I could and left the corporate way of life temporary . . . or so I thought.

Anyone who has undergone a loved one being sick with this disease knows that it takes 24/7 work to provide the proper care and support needed. Nevertheless, I decided that this was the best time of all to work on what I had always wanted to do . . . write and photograph the life around me.

I started small and began submitting a freebee now and again to a different local newspaper while sending out queries. Soon the paper hired me as a freelancer and other national and local magazines have accepted my work.

My mother, a writer herself who has had two books of her own published about Irish history, Helen Walsh Folsom, recovered from her cancer, and me?

I found myself with the full-time career I had always wanted to have that I can devote my love and life to completely and share the "Hundred million miracles that are happening every day."


Last updated 2009