It might have been my 12th grade English teacher who said that “the difference between writers and non-writers is that writers write.”  The thing I admire most about really smart stuff is that, put brilliantly, it’s so often startlingly straightforward.  Simple or not, though, I haven’t always followed Mrs. Gifford’s advice.  After dropping out of the Ph.D program in English at the U of Chicago (MA thesis: “Republican Women’s Solidarity in Hannah Webster Foster’s The Coquette” – this is why parents ask, “what do you plan to do with a degree in English?”), two solid years went by before I would pick up anything more cerebral than People magazine, let alone a pencil.  Even now I tend more toward Harry Potter and the Twilight series than The New Yorker

But there’s an unfulfilled legacy of writing in my family, and, as Mrs. Gifford pointed out much more eloquently, doing nothing about that will result in nothing happening with it.

The Ph.D dropout was motivated in no small part by my love for horses.  As an MA student I found myself looking around at the advanced Ph.D candidates whose reward for spending 6 or so years completing rigorous dissertation requirements at a top program in the field was often a chance at a publish-or-perish tenure track position at a small college in a one area code state.  I started riding at the age of 7 and did not have the money to do it in graduate school.  Another however many years of exclusive devotion to career at the price of discretionary income was going to drive me nuts.

It was my college English advisor who told me, when I whined that the lab requirements were keeping me out of 300-level literature seminars, not to drop my other major in Biology.  I’m sure at the time I rolled my eyes and told him “whatever” (so certain was I of my future fame as a professor), but as he predicted, that particular piece of paper came in handy when I scrapped studying American novelists for a paying job and a shot at being around horses again.

My father always said I would never make a horsewoman because I hate to get my hands dirty.  He was right about the hands.  The rest I won’t presume to decide for you.  I’ll just invite you to read and hope you enjoy.

Thanks for visiting and please feel free to comment!



  1. This is too cool girl! He seems so sweet. I’m so jealous of your horse activities.. I love my basement apartment in NY far away from my horse (NOT).. I’m going to keep up with your blog.. it’s on my favorites now!

  2. I’m very excited about this and love the reference to “…an unfulfilled legacy…” This is going to be very enjoyable, I suspect!

  3. Shannon.. your writing is so fantastic.. I think you are finding your calling. I love the line about “years of exclusive devotion to career at the price of discretionary income” . I think really big things are going to happen for you!

  4. So wonderful reading your blog! I too am exploring what life will bring following a passion instead of a paycheck. You are fabulous!!! Smile

  5. LOVE your blog! Were were astounding at Molecular but your true talent resides with your writing. I put you in my favorites too, and although I miss you, I at least get to read about you!

  6. Thank you so much! I miss everyone I cared so much about from the corporate days too. I’m glad you’re enjoying this!

  7. You defiitely have writing in your blood and you have never lost the nack of expressing yourself in an eloquent way. That does not take writing over horses because I know you enjoy both and am sure some day soon the combination will be obvious. Patience, a very difficult one for all of us but I am sure you will persevere and who knows maybe we all will read about your accompolishments !!! Just remember, we all know your talents and are just waiting for them to manifest themselves !!!

  8. Hi, Shannon – this is wicked cool. You and your pony can join our North Shore BAP Club. You can guess the acronym. I just met you today. Booger

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