Dear Writing Community,

Since this is my first blog post on Our Salon, I thought I’d begin with an introduction to tell you a bit about who I am and why I’m here.  I’m a 42-year-old teacher of English and English as a Second (or foreign) Language, native Chicagoan, and mother of two young daughters.  When I started out, I went to Columbia College in Chicago to become a writer.  I took fiction classes, journalism classes, and writing for the theater.  I graduated in ’99 believing that I would become a journalist, bringing the world to my fellow man, gracefully and honestly, one article at a time.

I moved to Denver after graduating and got my first paid job as a writer and soon learned that, to my utter disappointment, it wasn’t the right job for me.  I hadn’t considered that, after meeting interesting people in the city and interviewing them, I would then have to spend long hours, by myself, actually writing.  It was a terrible realization.  But, after a year of giving it a shot, I knew I needed to find an occupation that better suited my personality.  I would’ve been a raging alcoholic had I stayed (now I’m only an occasional lush).  Despite my inner bully, who constantly reminded me that, “those who can’t do, teach,” (I really hate her) I came back to Chicago and went back to school to become a teacher of English.  I’ve been teaching secondary education and adult ESL since 2009 and I absolutely love it.

However, the writer in me has kept yelling up from the depths of my psyche, softly but persistently, and after 12 years of changing paths to teaching and mothering, I have discovered that I’m ready to answer.  That’s all well and good, but my writing hasn’t improved much over these years because of neglect.  That’s why I’m here--I’ve realized that I can’t get better alone, looking at my drafts, hating all of it, and letting my writing rot in the bowels of my laptop.

I’ve joined this online community to attempt to find the honesty and energy in my writing again, to get into a consistent writing routine (which I’ve been told by successful writers since 1994 is the key, but I’ve successfully ignored save for short, month-long stints, maybe), and to allow my writing to improve and my voice develop through consistent practice.  I’d like to discover what it is to write as myself, at least most of the time, instead of the mannequin I can sound like in some of the writing I’ve done (that’s when the fear took over and my own voice started hiding somewhere but my fingers kept typing).

I ask and welcome you to offer any negative or positive criticisms on my writing as I go (I can take it!).  I will try my best to tell you about who I am, what I think about the world we live in, and to paint life as I see it.  Some of it will be really shitty, but I hope some of it will also be done well, and maybe even speak to someone.

I’m excited to begin this journey again, looking through new eyes, and a bit nervous.  What if it sucks?  What if I don’t have anything to say?  What if I can’t improve because I’m simply not a decent writer?  There’s that inner bully again…I really hate her.

Here goes.

Views: 224

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on September 21, 2016 at 9:13am

Welcome! Delighted you're here!  

Comment by nerd cred on September 21, 2016 at 9:14am

Welcome! You'll find both energy and honesty here, that's for sure. I'm not sure what else.

I have a daughter who attended Columbia College briefly while she was figuring out her life. The boyfriend she went to Chicago with graduated from there and is a successful TV writer now. Or he was the last time I checked IMDB. 

All three of my kids are English majors of one sort or another, there's writing in all of their work, whether or not they'd call themselves writers, I'm not sure. As for me, for a long time they'd run their most important writing by me before finalizing it. That still makes me proud, I have no actual professional credentials.

For now I'm working on being a full time crone, trying not to get too crotchety. I may not be too successful at that part.

So far I'm not seeing evidence that you are "not a decent writer."

And my comments are always way too long.

Comment by Keith Joiner on September 21, 2016 at 9:30am

Welcome aboard. Looking forward to your posts!

Comment by JMac1949 Today on September 21, 2016 at 10:03am

That inner bully will grind you down... lately it's gotten to me.  Though I haven't written anything original in 2016, since 2013 I co-wrote a graphic novel Heaven and Hell, Burroughs and Blake with the now deceased Our Salon author James Mark Emmerling.   I've written and posted nearly 600 pages of a novel People of the Book here on Our Salon and so far I've posted 28 years of Memories in 176 posts over the years.

In the spirit of an Open Call challenge issued by Steel Breeze, show us your best stuff.  Welcome and be not afraid.

Right now I'm distracted by a physical move to Texas, but after I get settled I expect I'll get back to finishing People of the Boook and my Memories. 

Comment by Rosigami on September 21, 2016 at 10:12am

Hello, Annmarie, and welcome! What a great introduction you've provided. I look forward to reading your posts.

Comment by marilyn sands on September 21, 2016 at 10:28am

Welcome Annmarie - if there's an issue you feel passionate about - your writing will shine!  Find it & technique will not matter.

Comment by Zanelle on September 21, 2016 at 10:29am

I always thought being a journalist would be so cool.   I went the artist route and still struggle with getting my voice out there.  At seventy soon I quit trying and just enjoy the ride.  I love having a blog and write whatever I want whenever I can.  It is like a mini journalist thing.  It satisfies me.  My daughters ask why I dont do something real with my talents.  That isnt easy  The battle out in the world is a tough one and quality rules.  Im not so much for quality as honesty...blogging is just right for me.  You will enjoy meeting Alyssa who is a member here.  She is a writer in Paris and has a little boy now.  So fun to read about her life.  Two of our very best writers have recently died and I think many of us are still in shock about that.  We all know how tough life is and Lorraine is at the helm here and does a great job.  welcome.  

Comment by alsoknownas on September 21, 2016 at 2:04pm


I try to post once per week. I've exchanged ideas with some big brains here and it can be fun.

I've read the works and thoughts of people who will be remembered by me forever.

It can be what you want it to be, but you must write as compellingly as you can. People here like to see souls bared.

Comment by Annmarie Handley on September 21, 2016 at 6:19pm

Thank you all so much for your comments, long and short.  I'm so sorry to hear about the recent loss of one of your fellow bloggers.  I love the voices here.

I am thrilled to be part of the community and will be baring my soul soon, like it or not.


Comment by koshersalaami on September 21, 2016 at 6:59pm
Nerd Cred doesn't know from long comments.

How did you find us? Do you know someone here or did you somehow trip over us?
Most of us come from another site, including Lorianne, who founded and runs this site. It was called Open Salon and was a sort of junior offshoot of

Baring your soul is both appreciated and, to a certain extent, expected.

If you have questions, ask, including about how the site works.


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