Lorraine C. Ladish is the editor in chief of VivaFifty.com, an online publication for Latina moms. She is the mother of two young daughters and lives in Sarasota, Fla. with her blended family. Fully bilingual and bicultural, she has written 15 books of non-fiction (in Spanish) and two novels (in Spanish and English). Click here to go to her Amazon listings. Follow her on Twitter @lorrainecladish.
It started with books
I still remember the smell of ink of my grandfather’s printing press. The press spat out leaf after leaf of paper with printed words. The mechanical noise was comforting. It had a pattern to it. My sister and I would help collate the pages after they had been guillotined. Covers were glued on. They then became books. That happened on Saturdays. I must have been around six or seven years old.
My grandfather wrote. He wrote all the time. Longhand. On pieces of paper he would sometimes lose. He wrote wherever he was. He wrote poetry and read it to me. My father wrote too. He wrote on notebooks, using precise penmanship. He wrote with a fountain pen. At ten years old, so did I.
One of my schoolteachers once asked me for an autographed copy of one of my dad’s books. I gave her the book. She asked me whether it was autographed. I said yes. I didn’t know what autographed meant. She looked at the pages and told me the book wasn’t autographed. I took it back home to my father. He signed the book. I promised myself that from then on I would always ask what a word meant. I also realized it was important to autograph a book. One’s own book.
At 12, books were my best friends. I was shy. Very. I preferred books to people. Saturday mornings, it was the printing press, but the evenings were spent at the bookstore. We had more books than toys.
I thought everyone spent their free time reading and writing. My family did. Eventually I realized other people had other interests. But I continued reading and writing.
At 29, after years of writing just for myself in journals, I felt I had to do something important before I turned 30. I wrote a book. I managed to get it published. Don’t ask me how. But it happened.
Readers wrote to me. I felt like I´d done something of value. It felt good, so I wrote more books. All I wanted was to be a writer, a published writer. Yes, I could write in my journal, I could write for me … but I also wanted to do it for others.
My first book was non-fiction. My second book was too. My publisher didn’t want me to switch to fiction. It wouldn’t sell as well. I wrote more non-fiction. And I liked it.
I wrote novels too. Some were rejected. Thankfully. Eventually, two were published. Others were not. Thankfully too.
I continued writing … in my journal, in books, magazines. I even taught writing. Well, not really. I taught losing the fear of writing. Well, again, not really. I challenged people to lose the fear of writing. Some have gone on to publish books. They write e-mails letting me know of their accomplishments. I feel happy for them … and for me.
I had kids, and they have more books than toys. They see me write. They write too. I ended up publishing seventeen books. It sounds like a lot, but it feels like nothing. I need to write more. Like I need to drink water.
I became an editor … and yet I couldn’t stop writing. I couldn’t stop communicating. I wrote more books, I wrote blog posts, I wrote e mails.
I write. But I also run, draw, dance, speak, love and live. Because yes, I’m a writer, but most of all I’m a communicator.
And I’m OK with that.