Elaine Marie Carnegie
Please welcome our own Sharon Frame Gay to the Writer's Journey Blog this week.
"Kixo is the greatest dog in town
I love him as much as I love Mom
Like a rose, a-twinklin' in the meadow
Kixo is the greatest dog in town."
I composed this wedding song for my groom, an English Springer Spaniel named Freckles. When Freckles wasn't a portly dog roaming alleys in the city, he transformed into the superhero, Kixo. Kixo could fly, run faster than lightning, and crush dragons in his powerful jaws. He was my hero, my guardian, and my best friend.
I married Kixo in a backyard ceremony. He wore an old Christmas bow tied around his neck. I marched across the grass with a towel placed on top of my head to look like a veil. The old gentleman next door leaned over the fence and pronounced us "dog and wife."
My writing journey had begun.
I was five years old. That was sixty-five years ago. I guess you could call me a late bloomer. Although I still sing that song decades later, it wasn't until the past several years that my songs, poems, and short stories made their way past my imagination and into the literary world.
We moved often when I was a kid. My family followed dreams as elusive as mirages on the highway. When we reached them, they vanished, only to appear miles down the road in another town, another life.
I learned to play by the side of the road. And I learned to be alone. But I was never lonely because I had a vivid imagination tucked beside me in the back seat of the car. While others looked through the windshield at the Texas Panhandle and saw scrub, dust, and endless telephone poles, I saw a beautiful white horse loping alongside our station wagon. I often crawled out the window and jumped on his back. With a tap of my heels, the horse rose from the Texas earth and we traveled to the stars. To this day, I still see the sparks from his hooves when I look at the night sky.
An anxious kid, I missed a lot of school because of digestive issues. My mother told me I had to stay in bed all day if I didn't go to school. Little did she know this was heaven to me. I spent hours drawing pictures and making up stories. At seven years old, I pecked out my first tale on my grandmother's ancient typewriter.
As I grew up, my enthusiasm turned towards music. I sang in high school and throughout my twenties. Later, I studied voice for several years with a coach and became interested in writing songs. I enjoyed singing more than anything I'd ever done.
But one day, I lost my voice. I could not speak for several years without pain. It felt like there were shards of glass in my vocal cords. The music stopped. As I struggled to sing through the pain, my vocal coach said, "you know, you're a talented singer, but you're an even better writer."
I didn't want to hear this. I was too busy living in silence and despair to recognize that there was another path. One I had forgotten. A path that went all the way back to a wedding ceremony in the yard with my faithful pet. I went into mourning instead.
Several years later, my husband Ben died of brain cancer. I wrote an essay for his memorial and asked the minister to read it. Later, a friend mentioned a creative writing class at the local community college and thought I might enjoy it.
I signed up for the class and discovered that the stories rumbling around in my head all the time had an outlet. Sitting at the computer, I was a scribe who listened to my characters as they told me of their lives and adventures. I never knew what I was writing about, or how the tale might end, until it did. I am a true "pantster".
In 2015, I submitted my first piece of writing, a non-fiction essay, to a magazine in hopes the editor would like it. He published the essay. Then nominated it for the Pushcart Prize.
Since then, I have been published over one hundred and fifty times in literary magazines and anthologies, and have received several awards and nominations.
This year, Clarendon House published a collection of my short stories, "Song of the Highway". It was a thrill to hold those "word babies" in my hand for the first time, examine the cover, turn the pages, and count its fingers and toes.
When I close my eyes, I still see the five-year-old girl marching through the yard with a towel on her head, making up stories and songs. Things haven't changed much over the years. I continue to daydream and host stories in my head. I still write songs about my dog. Writing has become an important part of my life, and I have no intention of stopping.
As a friend once told me, I didn't lose my voice. I found it.
BIO: Award winning author Sharon Frame Gay grew up a child of the highway, playing by the side of the road. She has been internationally published in anthologies and literary magazines, including Chicken Soup For The Soul, Typehouse, Fiction on the Web, Lowestoft Chronicle, Thrice Fiction, Crannog, Saddlebag Dispatches, Owl Hollow Press, 5-Star Publishing, and others. Her work has won awards at Women on Writing, Rope and Wire Magazine, Pen 2 Paper, and The Writing District. She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, as well as nominations for the Peacemaker Award, Washington Science Fiction Association Award and Best of the Net.
Sharon's collection of short stories,
"Song of the Highway,"
is available on Amazon:
Sharon Frame Gay's author page on