Introducing my third Guest Writer for 2019 – my lovely American friend, Shirl Crimmins Smith.
Read on to discover the creative writing journey Shirl is on and her Short Story she has written just for us.
about shirl Crimmins smith
My story begins as the third of nine children born to Cliff and Jeri Crimmins on April 14, 1956. Dad and Mom were active Irish Catholics, and mom used to tease that she found me under a rock due to my being a wee bit stubborn. I was the “it doesn’t matter child” because my parents already had my sister and brother, and of course, I took that as a challenge. Dad worked two jobs while mom struggled to raise us, little hellions. Growing up in a medium-sized town in Iowa was an excellent place to experience the simple ways of life, learn, and mature.
Being born at the head of the pack provided opportunities to care for my younger siblings and taught me compassion and responsibility. Having a large family had advantages, as well as disadvantages, but there seemed to be enough love to go around. Living within a family of eight siblings meant that I always had a playmate or someone to fight with, depending on my mood. It also facilitated my ability to think of others first.
I enjoyed the status of being a big sister and felt great pleasure in my parents, trusting me with the care of my siblings. Their encouragement positively influenced and cultivated my unwavering ability to love, nurture, protect children, and shaped my personality and prepared me for parenthood.
Within my family circle, I felt confident and safe, but outside of this security, I often felt unsafe. Most of the time, I was socially awkward, and it felt as though I was adrift in a boat without drifting aimlessly. This insecurity prompted me to start writing poems and stories and dreaming of one day becoming an author. When my vision was shattered, I instinctively focused on the process of evolving and growing toward adulthood. The years passed, and one day, my knight in shining armor rode into my life and blessed me with two beautiful daughters and a grandson.
Life took this dreamer of happy ever after; on a journey, I never anticipated. You can read about it in my soon to be released memoir Saving Rebecca: A Mother’s Journey and Triumph into the Unexpected World of ADHD and Disability.
shirl’s short story
Have you ever contemplated how you became the person that you are today? Maybe given some scrutiny to what influenced you from that innocent, gentle, and vulnerable baby into the cultivated adult you became. Our lives and stories are varied, but our human emotions are universal. Each of us experienced the sculpting process of personal growth, which was influenced by our parents, grandparents, family dynamics, teachers, and genetics. Those authority figures had an immense impact on our thoughts and personalities until the day we spread our wings and took flight in search of life on our terms.
I was about ten years old when I dreamed of becoming a published author and devoted numerous hours writing in my notebook, believing my words were magic upon the page. Each finished project was a beautiful creation, or so I thought and felt that the world was anxiously waiting for me to grow up and share my talent. That was until one day, with passion, I shared my aspiration to be an author with mom. She merely looked down at me and stated that it was an unrealistic goal, and instantly and painfully, my self-confidence disintegrated. Years later I was finally able to comprehend that mom’s intent was not to crush my dream but that she had been looking at life through the eyes of an overwhelmed wife and mom. I wonder what childhood dream she had that perhaps she had given up for the life she lived? Too many of us can relate to memories such as this, where our ambitions were crushed by what someone said. Perhaps, our lives would have turned out differently if we had been able to realize, at the time, that their response may have been due to something going on personally in their life. Maybe they wanted to protect us from being disappointed or hurt in their fear that we could not succeed.
In my devastation, I slammed shut my spiral notebook and tossed it in the bottom of a drawer never to be liberated again, or so I believed. I read once that each of us is born with gifts and a purpose. Some of us tend to give up on our pursuits when doubt and fear are created in our minds. Try as we might to ignore that aspiration, it pokes at us from time to time vying for our attention. The thing about our vision as a child is that we embrace our imagination and pursue our dream without fear entering the equation because we genuinely believe that we can. As a high school English student, I was given the assignment to write a poem that resurrected my silenced dream of becoming an author. Unfortunately, this time around, I was the one who extinguished my potential because I fell in love, got married, and had two daughters.
But life has a wicked sense of humor, and that instinct to write was awakened yet again as I struggled to raise my second daughter, Rebecca, with ADHD and other disabilities. That journey inspired a profound motivation to write my story in hopes of helping other parents dealing with the difficulties of raising a Special Needs child. Saving Rebecca: A Mother’s Journey and Triumph into the Unexpected World of ADHD and Disability is much more than just the trials of parenting a challenging child. It is also sharing my honest, painful, and personal journey that transformed me into a spiritual and resilient woman. My memoir took over two years to write with the help of Dawn Montefusco, my writing coach and is now in the process of being published.
During the waiting period of publication, Dawn challenged me to write a quick read e-book for Amazon. This time the words fell upon the page as though that free spirit of my inner child was set free to soar with possibilities. That creative spirit took flight without fear of doubt or judgment, and the process created What Life Taught Me: A Toolbox of Insightful Approaches to Maneuvering Life. It is a small collection of stories that I share substantial life strategies that were instrumental in helping me maneuver a confusing and often painful world that molded a shy, scared, little girl into the woman that I am today. It is available on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Shirl-Crimmins-Smith)
It was during this creative wordplay that I embraced my superpower of being born a spectator of always watching, listening, and learning. Years of observations had been stored within my memory, and by utilizing those memories, and channeling the belief of my inner child, it gave me the power to make my dream a reality. What was your childhood vision that you left behind? What would it take for you to embrace that forgotten dream right now at this moment? As they say, timing is everything. What I have discovered is that my life goal had been patiently waiting for me to experience the trials and tribulations that I did so that I would have something worth sharing. If I could impress one crucial point to this rambling of mine, it would be that you are not letting fear and lack of confidence prevent you from chasing your dream. Those two emotions are thieves that thwart many from sharing their gifts and leaving a much needed positive impact on the world.
A note from Mumma Sue
Thank you Shirl Crimmins Smith for being my third Guest Writer in 2019
My previous Guest Writers works;