“The maker of a sentence launches out into the infinite and builds a road into Chaos and old Night, and is followed by those who hear him with something of wild, creative delight.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have been a writer my entire life. I have two large Rubbermaid boxes filled with jottings and journals and diaries and favorite quotes and poetry and illustrated books dating back to grade school, some of them merely stapled pieces of paper together. My mom and dad did not keep consistent diaries nor did they force me to write, but for some reason, I have been compelled to record my thoughts, dreams, fears, hopes, musings, prayers, and history from a young age.
I began writing for publication at Cleveland High School when I joined the Tomahawk newspaper staff as a sports and feature writer. It was a thrill seeing “By Cornelia Becker” at the top of my stories. My teacher was Miss Jan Watt and recently she e-mailed me to say she saw one of my Living page cover stories in The Oregonian.
At the University of Portland I settled in as an English literature and education major, also taking journalism and German courses, for which there was no degree. While a co-ed, I joined the newspaper staff, The Beacon, as copy editor, earning money to do what I loved best: playing with words. After graduation, I filled in as a substitute high school Language Arts instructor and church youth group director before being offered a position teaching German at Mt. Hood Community College, my first taste for college instruction. As a professor’s kid, I felt right at home.
Along came kids.
With kids came time off work and rethinking what I wanted to be when I grew up. Writing for publication popped up on every short list.
I approached The Oregonian at its suburban extension office near our West Linn home, asking if I could freelance for them. Editor Pat Mullarkey gave me a chance, and I haven’t stopped.
Along came twins, and I just had to write down the stories about my life as an everyday mom. I penned WriterMom column, (originally titled On The Home Front), for the West Linn Tidings from 1999-2005. The publisher, the late Bob Bigelow, asked whether they were paying me for my column. They were not. That changed – my dream of becoming a paid columnist came true.
In the meantime, I also began teaching at Portland State University’s Center for Excellence in Writing, where I fittingly teach Memoir writing and basic Journalism.
Along came one more child.
And in 2005, I began writing Real-Life Mom for The Oregonian’s SW Weekly section, another dream come true – to write a family column for the state’s largest daily newspaper. I wrote that parenting column till the section consolidated into the Clackamas County Weekly in 2008. I continue to muse on life and family and God and culture at www.writermommusings.blogspot.com
My first book, Images of America: WEST LINN, was released by Arcadia Publishing in 2009 [ www.imagesofamericawestlinn.com ] and I am working on compiling my collection of WriterMom columns into a book. In addition, I have begun my memoir.Show