I wrote my autobiography in the seventh grade. It was titled “From Pillar to Post,” a title suggested to me by my mother to describe our family’s nomadic lifestyle. I wrote the autobiography out of a strong sense that I had already experienced a full life at the tender age of 13. I also discovered that writing was fun, “hard fun,” as someone tagged it, and for the next several decades I penned numerous essays and poems triggered by a strong emotional reaction to something I had seen or experienced. As much as I enjoyed writing, I never expected to write a novel. Instead, I had a long career in higher education, serving as a dean of students at a community college in Maine, and as an adjunct instructor at the college level.
Then one day I heard the story of Billy Laird, a Civil War soldier from Berwick, Maine. My emotions inspired me once again. A novel was in front of me, and I didn’t hesitate. Life is a circle, and here I am enjoying at last the passion that first consumed a young girl whose autobiography still sits on her desk.
Reenactors of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment
Marcia and Dick Cylik, reenactors, 3rd Maine Regiment