Women who inspire

Some think they have to wait for inspiration. I believe you carry it around with you from the people you’ve met along the way. These women inspire me in more ways than I can say.

Story: Leigh Neely // Photo: Fred Lopez

Finding inspiration is something writers think about often. You may witness a simple act that triggers something in your imagination to create a story. You also may have to dig deep to find the inspiration for an assignment on a subject that may not interest you personally. Inspiration is a funny thing. Many people think you should wait for it, but I have found you need to carry it with you always. These women are part of my inspiration.

My mother was one of 10 children. She went to work at the age of 10 helping women in the neighborhood with new babies in the house. She’s 89 now with severe osteoarthritis and feels lazy because she can’t do the many household and yard chores she did for so long. We’ve had many arguments over what lazy truly is.

As a reporter and magazine writer, I’ve had opportunities to meet famous people. One whose story I will never forget is Mary Higgins Clark, the wonderful mystery writer. She has written for more than 40 years and still puts out at least one book a year. She wrote short stories to supplement the family income until her husband’s death. He had a heart attack and while Mary was giving him CPR, his mother came in, saw what was happening, and had a heart attack, too. Mary had to plan two funerals. With five children to raise on her own, she worked in a Manhattan agency. However, she’d get up two hours early to write fiction before getting the children ready for school.

Two of my dearest friends are recent widows. Both men’s deaths were unexpected and sudden. Yet these women have dealt with their grief in a positive and inspiring manner, knowing it was time to live life differently and create a new path they walked alone.

A local publisher called me one day to see if I was interested in working full time. I was 63 and convinced I’d never have another job. Now I’m working and loving what I do, proud that I have the experience and knowledge to make her job easier. This job inspires me every day.

Inspiration is visible everywhere. Carry it with you always.

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