Wittier Word Weavers

Writers' Club of Whittier

From Love Letter to a Novel

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By Helen Oyakawa
Not ParadiseWhen I was asked to speak to the book group at the Potrero Heights Park Community Center at Montebello in Sept. 2015 I was told that their usual turnout was 8-10. You can imagine my shock when I faced 40-50 people. (I had no idea that a dear lady’s announcement at my church would bring out that many of my friends to bolster me.)
There I confessed that my lifelong passion for writing nearly vanished when my slightly older brother found and read my love letter aloud to the handsomest boy in my 2nd grade class. My parents were horrified. But I could not stop writing. I even got my first fiction in a new magazine called Young Hawaii by telling the editor that my freshman English teacher called my story “very good.” Thank God, Mr. Walters never read it or scolded me before my class for lying. So I continued writing. I edited my 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade class papers plus the high school “Wildcat” when I was a senior.
For me writing is wonderful but arduous. I couldn’t find an agent. Self publishing my two books challenged me financially. But having done them, I still lack the confidence to sell my books until very recently. When I told a friend about my latest book, she talked to her pastor and he invited me to introduce it to their church. TWENTY people bought them!
Now I’m waiting to be given a date to speak to elementary school children at the Whittier Library.


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