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Why I Write

Words illuminate life for me. Writing has been my response to my voyages since my first real trip in 1964.

I sprawled on the floor, a five-year-old girl mesmerized by the dog-eared pages of my Wonder Book, I See the Sea. I had memorized every word, every picture of sand, shells, and lapping waves which evoked images of the sea inside my mind: The high waves roar as they crash and boom and spray against the gray rocks. Little foamy whitecaps spill over as the waves tumble in. I closed my eyes and became the girl in the book, holding up the twisty yellow shell to my ear, wiggling my chilly toes while waves fizzled and splashed over my legs.

Front Page Erin

When my family traveled to Case Inlet in the South Puget Sound area of Washington state, I trembled at the waves’ thunder and thrilled to tingle of cold, salty spray on my face. I understood how the wind carved each rippling whitecap. My tattered little Wonder book had enhanced my trip to the beach. Its words had captured the sea in the same way I had once seen a firefly caught. The next day in my first grade classroom, I wrote new words I'd just discovered on a piece of wide-lined paper to try to bottle the sea in that same way.

My travels continue to be book-to-life inspired. Instead of a newly sharpened pencil, my fingers dance on a keyboard when I write about my travels now—but the inspiration is the same. I write to make tangible the touch of a place, and to capture a flash of life like a firefly in a jar.