A. After the death of my first husband, I started a journal as a way to cope. Not long after, in college, I wrote fiction and poetry. I was reluctant to share any of those early drafts. One instructor waved a hand dismissively and said to me, “If you’re going to bleed, you’re never going to write.” The words knocked the sidewalk out from under me. Self-protective shyness about my commitment to writing was no longer an option.