Today, I would like to introduce my friend, Vickie Darnell, whom I met at the Writer’s Forum meetings a few years ago. Her job in the group is “Hospitality Director.” She sets up the food that people bring to share during the meeting’s break. So here is her story. Enjoy!
1) How long have you been a writer/artist?
I have always enjoyed writing! In school, I was always writing notes to fellow classmates and essay questions were opportunities to express myself. My parents inadvertently encouraged me to write by leaving notes for me, telling me to have a good day at school and such. I was told that because I was left-handed, that my handwriting would be terrible. Therefore, I practiced writing, seeking to find an attractive way to write my name, Vickie Coleen Downey. I carefully wrote each letter, over and over again.
As a child, I also enjoyed drawing and painting with watercolors. In fourth grade, unbeknownst to me, my teacher entered one of my paintings in a city wide contest. I was the winner of my elementary school and my painting was displayed at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park! The day I brought my painting home, with a beautiful blue ribbon attached to it, my three year old brother tore it up. I ran, with tears in my eyes, to tell my mother what he had done. I was shocked and dismayed when she gathered up the pieces of my painting, crumpled them up and threw the pieces in the trash can. I never drew again. (*And, my brother has a Bachelor of Arts college degree in graphic arts from Long Beach State…)
2) What do you like to write about/create?
When I first read IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote, I became hooked on crime. HELTER SKELTER by Vincent Bugliosi, and THE ONION FIELD by Joseph Wambaugh further drew me into the crime genre. Becoming a police officer seemed to be a perfect fit for me, since I was (and still am) fascinated by murder. On the flip side, I have also written several children’s stories, and magazine articles about draft horses and rural life, as well.
3) Who has been the greatest influence in your creativity?
As I previously mentioned, authors Truman Capote, Vincent Bugliosi, and Joseph Wambaugh sparked my interest in crime novels. Being a police officer, I wrote several crime reports on a daily basis. After leaving the police force, I became a stay at home mom to my two little boys. Wanting to give them the best childhood possible, I not only read to them all the time, but created stories which included them and their toys, hoping to entertain them and perhaps ignite their own creativity and imagination. In truth, my children inspired me!
Leaving the SF bay area and moving to Humboldt County provided the opportunity to initially have horses, cattle, sheep and chickens. Draft horses eventually replaced the saddle horses, opening up another avenue to write about. I wrote several articles about driving these draft horses, wagons, harness, and the places visited because of the drafts, such as participating in the Great Circus Parade held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1996 to 2000.
I owe my desire to write to everyone I have encountered in my life, which is akin to the Wild Ride of Mr. Toad, at Disneyland. My children gave me a second chance at childhood and continue to amaze me each and every day. My wonderful, supportive husband constantly encourages me to put my thoughts on paper. So, in the middle of the night, I am awake, reading or writing.
Thank you, Vickie, for sharing your writing journey with us. I’m sorry about your painting experience from childhood! I can relate. I appreciate your contribution to my Guest Blogs. This was a great way to get to know you better. I hope we can get together sometime soon!
My next guest blogger will be my husband, George T. Parker on Monday, August 7th. Stay tuned!
Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂