I retired from a fulfilling career in public education in 2007 and started my new life like a confused teenager: flailing about for an identity and recoiling from the responsibility of planning and executing meaningful activities to fill my days. After a month of deep sighs and uncombed hair, when I began to fear an escalated slide into sloth—overeating, oversleeping, substituting novels for life—I climbed out of my recliner and enrolled in a memoir class.

Surrounded by encouraging classmates, I discovered I had a passion for writing and stories to tell. In 2009, I adapted one of my memoirs and won a local cowboy poetry contest against five competitors. I blew my $20.00 prize at Mather’s Bar and haven’t quit writing since.

When I signed up for memoir writing, I also enrolled in a bowling class, but that endeavor wasn’t nearly as successful.

I consider myself a student of poetry rather than a poet, but I belong to a group in Craig where the positive energy of the poet-participants encourages me to keep trying. I’ve also found that writing poetry improves my prose by forcing my attention to the use and rhythm of each word.

Currently, I’m spending most of my time compiling columns I’ve written for the Denver Post and the Craig Daily Press, along with several unpublished pieces, for a book I hope to self publish—if such an unusual and exacting burst of activity doesn’t send me back to my sluggardly ways.

I also enjoy traveling, hiking, cross-country skiing, and drinking coffee early in the morning in my Craig home with my husband, Joel, while watching birds bustle around our yard, visiting feeders and baths.

Janet Sheridan