Meet Kim Bailey Deal
The Evolution of a Writer: Kim Bailey Deal
I began to write short stories and poems when I was around nine- or ten-years-old. My creative endeavors also extended to sketching. My grandmother saw I had a knack for drawing so she sat me down in her living room one day and gave me a black-and-white photo of her, a portrait from when she was sixteen. Though rudimentary, the likeness was astonishing. I was so happy I wrote a little poem about it and an artist was born.
Looking back, I was the quiet kid who observed everything around me, or other times spaced out into my own little worlds. It was a blessing and a curse. About the time I began to blossom as a little writer and artist, and a spelling bee champion–my mom left all of us. My little sister and I came home from school to find her gone and a note on her dresser addressed to our dad.
For three months we lived with our dad at his mother’s, the same grandmother who had nurtured my creative side. There was no nurturing forthcoming from our grandmother at that difficult time. She was angry with our mother while my dad was spaced out and unavailable. My sister and I were left to our own devices.
So I wrote, and sometimes I drew pictures. I cried alone and silently in my bed at night. I listened as my family said terrible things about my mom and I became afraid and angry.
This fear and anger, along with a tenuous self-esteem and trust in others, continued after mom returned three months later and my parents made a go of reconciliation. It didn’t work, however, and when I was thirteen they divorced.
Writing became my personal form of therapy. I wrote to express the feelings I could not show. I was bound up inside with no one I could turn to for help. It was a lonely way to live a childhood but the writing brought me some measure of solace.
Life happened and I got busy in junior high and high school. I branched out when I joined the Colorguard in the high school and college Marching Bands as well as Winter Guard in high school. I wrote less but felt the pull to put my words down when I was away from my pen and paper for too long. School papers in Literature, English and History helped quench my thirst for words.
I wrote some poetry and stories that won contests from about the fifth grade until my freshman year, then I quit letting other people see my work. I was terrified at the possibility of ridicule and rejection, so I wrote occasionally and only for myself.
Marriage, children, college, and divorce all happened and eventually I found myself working as a full-time case manager in social services, a single mom, and in graduate school to pursue a counseling psychology degree. During the years my children were small, I went through a productive writing phase and had a poem published in the newsletter for an agency that sheltered women and children from domestically violent homes. I entered some community contests and won first place with one of my poems.
Still, I feared that proverbial other shoe dropping any minute. I dropped out of grad school about half way through to move to Italy. I’d had a sort of break in my mental and emotional ability to keep up with the stress of life and I took off. Three of my four kids were grown, two in college, but one was still in high school. The divorce from his dad left me powerless and demeaned. He controlled so much of my life and I felt suffocated and tethered.
Guilt from leaving my youngest child followed me to Italy and I was able to get medical help on the Navy base near where I lived as my friend’s husband sponsored my sojourno during my stay. I saw a psychologist named Lieutenant Matthew Schumacher. After a few sessions, he told me I needed to write. “Write your story. Just start somewhere, anywhere, and get it all out. You need to heal.”
My first stories were horrible. There was so much pain and anger, and I had no idea how to harness it to make a story that was powerful, moving and interesting. It was for my eyes only, so I kept writing.
One day I decided I had reached a point I could share some of my stories. I made a Facebook page as a writer and later created a blog. I picked up the guitar after years of remorse for not sticking with piano or clarinet and I began to teach myself how to play. Before long, songs came gushing out of me and I wrote and played (though not very well) some of my own songs. Poetry returned. Short stories began to surface.
My aunt encouraged me to submit one of my creative non-fiction pieces from my blog to a magazine as a reader contributor, so in April 2013 I had a creative non-fiction piece published in MORE Magazine’s Member Voices titled The Pull of Strays, in my mind this piece was a means for me to test the waters of exposure…to share my writing with others without fully committing to rejection of my work.
I kept writing, though sporadically, on my blog and eventually in September 2014 I made a WordPress blog about the time I started writing my first novel draft. Once I began to write the book it came pouring out. Most days I wrote at least 2-3k words, some days upwards of 6k. I had participated in NaNoWriMo and won, reaching (and exceeding) the 50k goal. I kept going until I had a complete first draft on January 5, 2015 of over 92k.
The year took a bad turn as our dog, my father-in-law, and my brother-in-law all passed away in the first six months. My husband’s health declined after all the loss, and I became depressed. I wrote, but I didn’t like most of it. I quit playing my guitar or drawing and sketches. I stopped listening to music.
Determined to get back in my stride, I participated in the The 2015 October Platform Challenge with Robert Lee Brewer, Senior Content Editor, Writer’s Digest Community, as part of the There Are No Rules Blog. My participation in this challenge helped me connect with other writers, editors, publishers and agents. I began to come out of my creative shell. I began to submit my work to journals, magazines, and contests. In order to be improve my work, I began to ask for beta readers and to also learn to give feedback by beta reading for my colleagues.
I participated in NaNoWriMo again last year and wrote just over 50k to win again, but I haven’t writen a word on that story since.
On January 1, 2016, two of my pieces were published in Issue 3 of the online literary magazine, Firefly Magazine, A Journal of Luminous Writing. I wrote the poem, Spirit Awakening, in 1994. I wrote the featured short story, Nu Na Da Ul Tsun Yi (The Place Where They Cried), after my husband and I, along with his son Bryan, rode the annual Trail of Tears motorcycle ride from Chattanooga, TN to Florence, AL.
Currently I am collaborating with a group of writers, mostly met through the October Platform Challenge, to produce and anthology of ficiton, non-fiction and poetry. I am also one of the six editors for the anthology collaboration. This month I am participating in CampNaNo with a goal to finish the first draft of my second novel. Also, I am putting together a piece for an editor at Writer’s Digest to post as a guest on his blog. Suddenly, I find myself with little time to write all of the things I want to write.
And you know what? It feels so good.
What I have learned after nearly a half century on this planet is that writing is not just something I do.
I am a writer. Period.
It is a necessary part of my growth.
Writing is my brass ring. My savior. My friend. It provides me with emotional, mental, and physical health. Writing allows me to breathe in the sweet air of life and exhale all those the toxins that make living hard to do sometimes.
Today I am grateful for my evolution as a writer. However slow in the metamorphosis, I am right where I am supposed to be.
Kim Bailey Deal
Kim Bailey Deal is a published author who tries to write most everyday but feels lucky to get some words down at least once a week in her WordPress blog at Kim Bailey Deal, which also publishes simultaneously to her Facebook author page at Kim Bailey Deal Page on Facebook and Kim Bailey Deal on Twitter. She lives in her hometown of Chattanooga, TN where she returned after 31 years away with her husband, a Chiweenie named Coach, and two cats named Mama Kitty and Kilo. She is the mother of four grown kids, three boys and one girl, and “Nim” to her husband’s grandchildren. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and is an avid Sooner fan. When she gets a spare moment she likes to ride the Harley with her husband, fish, watch movies, watch basketball and football, play guitar, and dance.
Meet H.A. Halfred
Why I write?
I opened a book. That was it. My sister, Nay, and Uncle Terry, handed it to me. I found altruism in the unknown. It built up, captivating me while fumbling for the next crisp page. I became enamored with emotion passing via word. It’s good to feel. I love to create it and then delve back in to refine my work. I never had confidence in it, though. When we stop trying to feel, our soul darkens. We were meant to feel. Life is word. There is so much of this world that we let fool our eyes. We are stunned by gadgets and oblivious to the beauty of literature. I try to inundate myself with books. They impress upon us, if done right. It is a fine, fine art. How many people read anymore? This is a dismaying question. Movies became cheap like coppin’ a
feel on the first date. I hadn’t checked the stats on readers. I was either immersed in a book, thinking of one, or looking for the next read. Why Horror? Horror and fear mold us. I got scared and this became an addiction. I left writing, tossing my boyish dreams aside for my family. Many other people do it, too. My family encouraged me and I was revitalized. I took my soul back. We were meant to be godlike. We were meant to feel. What better way to express but with the usage of fine, flamboyant, bouncing-trouncing word after word coming at ya! Ah, divine is word. I was meant to be a writer, only difference is now you know me. It started when I was ten. I was a paperboy, ink on hands, and a promise in my mind. In hindsight, it inspired the start of the Dark Wells.
You can find his books here.