Retired College Professor and Writer
By Chris Dunmire | Posted 10/5/16 | Updated 1/18/24
What’s your name?
Where are you from?
Who are you today?
Retired college professor, writer.
What do you do?
I was a social worker in hospitals, gerontology, social policy, published in academic journals, researcher in intellectual disabilities. Now I write short stories and am working on… yes… a novel I'm also a grandmother who spends much time with her grandchildren.
What’s your story?
From Texas, I went to Barnard College, travelled in the US and abroad, had several careers in social work (research, teaching, supervising, administration, grant writing), married twice, had three children and five grandchildren, had cancer for five years and took writing courses with Gotham in Manhattan. I've always loved to write and have kept a journal for years, written short stories.
Why is creativity important to you?
Writing is my connection with a life force that keeps me alive. It centers me, inspires me, energizes me. I would not be able to live without it: that's important! Creativity can also be shared with other people and gives me a sense of fulfillment.
When did you realize you had a creative calling to fulfill?
At about age six, I told my mother that I wanted to be a writer. She encouraged me and even typed some of my first stories.
How did you embrace it?
I embraced reading by taking home as many books as I could from the library and reading them all. I made a practice of observing people and life in general and making up stories about what I observed.
How did that feel?
Whenever I wrote, I felt at home, a place where I belonged. I also had a sense of being the person I was created to be.
Where has your journey taken you?
To more and more education, until now I have a Ph.D. in Social Welfare, which has given me many opportunities to be with other people in many settings and many situations, all first for the story-telling mill. It's taken me into hospitals nursing homes, mental institutions, older people's homes, residences for children and institutions for people with intellectual disabilities. I've written professional articles about some of my work, but I also have written (not yet published) stories about these experiences.
What challenges have you faced?
Marriage, having children, having jobs, life-threatening illness, and life in general.
What worked for you?
Being able to retire.
What didn’t work for you?
Having marriage, children and full-time job simultaneously.
What three tips can you share to help others starting on a similar path?
What are you working on now?
Revising, re-writing a novel and writing short stories, which I've started to submit for publication.
What’s coming up for you in the next year?
More writing, more reading, more writing classes for support from other writers and to learn from them.
What else do you want to do?
Enjoy having time to be with my children and to be part of their lives, as well as my grandchildren's lives. Continue to dance through life with my husband.
How might you make that happen?
Take care of myself and family and good luck.
Who has been important to you in encouraging your writing?
My mother, my grandmother, my eighth grade English teacher, many instructors of many writing classes in colleges and independent writing schools, such as Gotham.