With Apologies to Forest Gump…

Writers are like wild blackberries: you never know what you’re going to get. A few may be sour, a sprinkling bitter, but most are downright delightful.

Like end-of-summer blackberries, writers seem to pop up everywhere. Good times or bad, they produce, not because they have to, or even because they want to, but because they cannot help themselves. Hot sun may beat down on them, difficult winds may toss them around, but just like blackberries, writers press on.  It’s easier for those who can sprawl unencumbered in comfort. Then again, maybe it isn’t. The ones forced to cling onto a steep hillsides for dear life or slog through mud not only find a way to keep going, but they seem to come through with the sweetest offerings of all.

And like blackberries, some writers have only a handful of fruit to show for their efforts, while others proudly display an astonishing crop. But regardless of the output, a berry bush is still a berry bush, just as a writer is still a writer.

Among blackberry vines, creepy spiders drop down to weave sticky webs and block off the juiciest berries.  Such nerve!  It’s the same with writers. Critics drop down and block the way with unsolicited advice and discouraging words. “I just want to help,” they insist.  Yeah, sure.

Ahhh, but is anything quite so delicious as a juicy, sweet blackberry, still warm from the sun? Or is anything quite as satisfying as the beautifully crafted words of a writer who persists until she gets it right?

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

Richard Bach


About kaystrom

Kay Marshall Strom, who am I? Well, I’m a traveler, a railer against social injustice, a passionate citizen of the world. I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I’m a 21st century abolitionist who speaks out against slavery of all kinds. I am a beach walker and a gardener and the off-key singer of songs. I’m a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. Most people, though, know me as a writer and a speaker. So here is a bit more about that part of my life: Of my 43 published books, seventeen have been translated into foreign languages, and two have been optioned for movies. My writing credits include magazine articles, books for children, short stories, television scripts and two prize-winning screenplays. I love to write, and speak, about topics close to my heart. I speak at seminars, retreats, writer’s conferences, and special events throughout the country. And because I enjoy travel, I even speak on cruise ships. Because I don’t see how a writer can really reflect another people and land without spending time there, I’ve been trekking through India, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Sudan, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt, Japan and South Korea, tape recorder and camera in hand, to gather stories from the world-wide family of God. Thanks to my “virtual friendship” with John Newton, 17th century slave ship captain turned preacher, I traveled through Ireland. In West Africa I toured an old slave fortress off the coast and saw a tiny set of baby manacles bolted to the wall. I was struck dumb. From that horror came a story question, and from that question, my foray into fiction: The Grace in Africa trilogy. Come join me as I travel and rail against injustice. Maybe you will choose to be a 21st century abolitionist too.
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