Well, I don’t think it’s fair to ask you to write your mini-biography without writing one of my own so you can know me a bit better. This is going to serve as my blog post as well since it’s going to be my 20 minutes a day of writing. I hope you’ll check out my blog since that is what started this daily writing 4 ½ years ago. The address is lenleatherwood.wordpress.com.
Let me see what I can say that you don’t already know about me…
I am the mother of three daughters and the grandmother of 3-year-old Luna and 4-month-old Nico, her brother. I expect I’ll have a few more grandchildren before it’s over. We’ll see how that works over the next few years.
I am 63 and have been married for 36 years as of this June 7th. My husband Ray is a character who I love very much. He and I are partners in business and in life in the best possible way and I feel very lucky to have him around. He is a baby, being 5 years my junior, and he has been married since the tender age of 22.
He and I don’t drink since we are both from families where alcohol and drug addiction have run rampant for several generations. We resolved to break the cycle for ourselves and for our children and we have done just that. Our kids are all healthy and, while they drink (I think), it is moderate. Also, our children have been raised without eating beef, pork or other mammals and when they were very young, they had no refined sugar. I put it that way because Ray and I both gave up refined sugar shortly after we were married and raised our kids with that same dietary restriction until we learned that they were eating as much sugar as they wanted at school and/or with friends. Still, they were raised without refined sugar in the house.
In the spirit of complete honesty, I have to admit that I have periodically cheated on the refined sugar front, but for the most part have been fairly consistent. My husband, God bless him, simply doesn’t cheat, which can make him a bit hard to live with sometimes since he has such solid resolve. As a result of this particular dietary decision, I have become an accomplished baker of sweets that are sweetened with honey or maple syrup. However, recently I learned that I have a bit of “high sugar” in my blood so I am now abstaining (for the most part) from all sweets except stevia.
The point of all the above I suppose is to say that I have been something of a health nut for many years now and am happy to report that I feel extremely healthy overall. I am determined to reduce this moderately high sugar through diet so that I can ensure that I stay as healthy as I can since I have hopes of spending lots of time with my grandchildren over the next few years. Plus, I have lots of writing I want to do and a few more countries (and art museums) I’d like to visit.
I am a devout Episcopalian, have been licensed as a professional counselor in Texas since the mid-1980s and have been a private writing teacher in LA for the past 16 years. I love all things related to reading and writing and am also one of those people who adores connecting with others (adults and kids) through the teaching of writing. In addition, I am a published author of short fiction and memoir, but I think you already know that. I have an unpublished memoir I am currently revising and a novel that is a work-in-progress.
On a completely different note, I have lost 4 of my 5 siblings over the past few years, plus my best friend, my sister-in-law, my brother-in-law, my parents and my husband’s parents. As a result, I have a strong connection to death and dying. I don’t have much more to say about that besides it is a part of my life experience and colors my view of living. (I like the Buddhist “Be here now” focus). I would say that my spiritual life has deepened as a result of these experiences as well.
I have lived the last 21 years in Los Angeles, but am a native Texan and still own a home 25 miles from where I grew up in north central Texas. I love my Texas roots and stay in touch with many of my old friends from Bonham, Texas, population 7,000. I feel strongly that my small town experience has been critical to my development as a human being (that connection and caring). However, I do adore living in Los Angeles, which is a feeling my husband and I both share. I love the LA Phil, the art museums and the more liberal environment of Los Angeles. I also love my church, St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal church in Hollywood, where I am an acolyte, a cook at the bi-monthly homeless breakfast and, in the past, have served on the vestry and as a church warden. St. Thomas folks and our priest there are my LA family and my life is enriched greatly because of those relationships.
Okay, that’s is about all I can write in 20 minutes. Of course, I could write much more about this life of mine, but this will have to suffice.
Please know that my goal for you during this course is to feel safe and supported as you write daily for 20 minutes for 1 month. I know this is a wonderful writing practice to develop because I have done just that for the past 4½ years. You will gain a lot from simply writing everyday: fluidity, voice, confidence and much less perfectionism, which is critical if you hope to allow other people to read your work.
With that, I’ll bide you good night and will look forward to “seeing” you again tomorrow.