Hello and Welcome,
My name is Teresa Thomas Bohannon, I am an author, and this is my story.
Young, slender, long and limber, I perched cross-legged on the foot of my bed. These days, I couldn’t pretzel up like that if I tried, and even if I could I would probably be fancier about it and call it a lotus position. Back then I could do it easily enough, but it was just plain old sittin’ cross-legged, and I was damned lucky I could do it, because if I hadn’t been able to, I would have never written my first novel.
There was no place for my feet on the floor. The room was barely larger than the bed itself. A voracious reader, words were the love of my life. I desperately wanted nothing more than to read, write and be read. So there I sat for scraped out bits of days and nights, weeks and months, hunched over an electric typewriter placed on an impossibly low, makeshift desk made from a chair borrowed ‘tween meals from the kitchen and crammed into a narrow gap meant for the closet door to fold open. The walls were thin and the television in the next room blared most hours of the day and half the night, so peace, privacy and the romance of my beloved Regency England were hard to come by; but somehow I managed to follow my heart and journey there in my head and get the story told.
That was thirty-five years ago. With thousands of eagerly devoured books behind me, and nothing but a high school diploma to recommend me, I dared to send out that first query letter to an address I got from the library’s copy of Writer’s Digest. I couldn’t believe it when the editor, impressed by my obvious love for the genre, replied immediately to say that she looked forward to reading my book. Unfortunately, it was just fate’s cruel joke on either me or her; because by the time my carefully–and expensively–packed manuscript arrived in New York City a few weeks later, she had left the agency and my book was returned unread with a cursory note.
I never queried again. I convinced myself that it was for the best, and meant to be. We were poor and sending off that carefully packed-up manuscript was expensive. So instead of writing, I began editing and revising, and editing and revising. Until finally I convinced myself that I just wasn’t good enough. Eventually, I moved onto writing other things, looking for the confidence that I had lost somewhere along the way. Fantasy, science fiction, horror novels, screenplays and short stories followed, and along came kids and computers and writer’s workshops and a special room just for writing and then credentials both BA and MA.
Still I never queried again. I wrote for the love of writing with an idea that someday, maybe I would officially publish something. Oh, a few things were published along the way, but more by accident than contrivance–a master’s thesis, a couple of short stories in a international journal for storytellers, a lot of grants that were far too wordy for their intended audience, promotional writing for businesses and websites and a few other special projects that were dear to my heart–and oddly enough, ended up letting someone break that same heart.
So what happened along the way? Well to begin with, I was thirty thousand dollars in debt for student loans and I had to pay for my fancy new education. That was fifteen years ago….
With diploma in hand, I was a divorced mother of two who had managed to support herself and her two young sons by working at a home shopping cable TV station, selling gemstones and jewelry. In those days I was known as the Queen of the Gemstone Dungeon because when I wasn’t on the air, I spent my time locked up in the Vault room which was full of huge bank style safes which were filled with gemstones, rare coins and jewelry. It was my off air job to made sure that our customers received the exact item they purchased and also to make sure that any returns were not lesser quality substitutes. Then one day I (along with everyone else who worked there and made over minimum wage) suddenly lost my job.
I had been a dedicated computer nerd since 1985 when my mom presented me with the birthday gift of a Tandy 1000 computer to replace the old electric typewriter I used for writing my stories. So, when the Internet came along making the transition from the old computer bulletin boards to the new-fangled web was pretty-much a snap for me, and therefore when I lost my job I knew exactly what to do. The very next day, I started my online business (November of 1995) with a little help from an HTML for Dummies book as an out of work, divorced mom with two young sons and no child support.
I named my company Spun Silk Web Design and explained the name by paraphrasing Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz…
“Lions, and Tigers, and Bears…Oh My…
Spiders, and Webs and Silks…Oh My”
After all, the Internet was–especially in those days–in many ways not unlike the mythical Land of Oz, a strange and wondrous place filled with strange and wondrous sights…a place of beauty and adventure where good and evil abode. A place where chaos occasionally reigned supreme, and hopefully a place from which we would all return safely and somewhat wiser for the experience. But all paraphrasing aside the Land of Oz was not really what I had in mind when I decided upon Spun Silk Web Design as the name for my company.
So, if not because spiders, webs and silks all seem to fit together, or because of any nebulous parallels between Oz and the Internet, then why Spun Silk? The answer was and is really quite simple. Silk, (and spider silk in particular) despite it’s beautiful, delicate, often artistic appearance is the strongest natural fiber known….and like silk, Spun Silk Web Design has endured throughout the years since–although to be perfectly honest, not as my primary source of income.
So, what does that have to do with why am I here today? Because ironically enough a few years ago I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and my workaholic, super-spider strength eventually–although not without a struggle–fell by the wayside and I had to give up spending my nights and weekends working online and trying to meet other people’s deadlines. All of which brought me full circle. Once again, I spend all of my spare time reading and writing–the only difference now is that the bedroom is a lot bigger and lot nicer and there is a laptop computer for curling up comfortably and an Internet for instant research…all of which make the process a thousand times easier.
Smiles & Good Fortune,
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent.
– W. Somerset Maugham (1874 – 1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915