A Special Guest Writer

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by Dan Verner

I first met Colleen LaMay at a Write by the Rails meeting a couple of months ago. She sat by herself at a table in the back, and I’m afraid few people welcomed her. I’m not sure I said anything to her myself, although I usually try to greet new people.

I saw Colleen next at an informal gathering of writers on a Saturday a while later. We call this “Writers’ Café,” where we exchange ideas and look over each other’s writings for a couple of hours. This time I sat next to Colleen, and she told me her story. I was horrified to hear that she had just been dismissed from her job on trumped up charges, and she found herself in a kind of void, wondering what she would do next. She came to Northern Virginia from Oregon by way of Boise, Idaho where she worked as a magazine and newspaper journalist for over thirty years, writing for Idaho Health and Treasure magazines and the Statesman newspaper. But she wanted to do a different kind of writing, so she came to our group.

As she told me a harrowing tale of her summary dismissal from her job (I will leave the telling of that sad tale to her), I thought that she might turn that injustice into a novel. She had a couple of blog entries, and we began working on using them as chapters in her novel.

Colleen is also working with me on several articles for Prince William Living, and I know you will be impressed as I was by her fine sense of style and her concise and accurate take on a variety of subjects and people.

I have come to know Colleen as a caring, compassion, humorous, sensitive woman who adores her family and goes the extra mile to nurture her three children. In this first column she writes of leaving her older daughter at Ohio State and the sense of loss that involves. I hope she will soon have an online column of her own and perhaps move to print after a while.

Among other things, I am impressed with the way Colleen quickly answers email with long replies and also the literary qualities of her writing online. (I found it possible to make her emails in to free verse poems.) She also likes the kind of music I do and has a similar weakness for chocolate chip cookies.

Colleen, her husband Brian and their children live in Warrenton in a house (by her account) next to a field infested with copperheads and ticks.

May you write long and prosper Colleen! Welcome to The Sunny Side of the Street!

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