One of the questions published writers are invariably asked: “when did you start writing?” When, indeed! My sense is that writing was always a part of my life, like thinking or talking, although for so many years I never thought of myself as a writer. I just wrote. There were certain moments of recognition that represented various stages of imagining I was a writer—a teacher in 6th grade who told my parents I was a gifted poet, becoming co-editor of the literary magazine as a senior in high school and seeing my work in print. But, perhaps the magic started the night I sat on the floor at the foot of the great Irish short story writer, Frank O’Connor. He came to Bennett Junior College as a friend of Miss Regina Codey, our Creative Writing teacher, who had known him through her career as a Shakespearean actress. She had been forced to retire because of tuberculosis and became a teacher. At age 18, one of four students in her class, I had the privilege of having dinner with the two of them at the college president’s house. After dinner, I sat by the fireplace mesmerized by Frank O’Connor’s mellifluous voice regaling our little group with some of his childhood stories. I watched his dark eyebrows rise and fall behind his thick glasses as he spoke about the voices in his head, the fictional voices that I knew from reading his books. I felt that he was speaking directly to me, telling me that I was to be a writer.