Growing Older Extra: Reader Essay by Ames Sheldon

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Winter 2017

W2017_GrowingOlderExtraAmesSheldon_Inline300 At 67, I’m finally starting to come into my own. It may have been the children’s classic, The Rabbit’s Umbrella, by my cousin George Ames Plimpton, that first inspired me to start writing at age 9.

Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling and many other women wrote their novels early in the morning before the daily demands of children, work, and husband intruded. That’s what I did. A single mother for 14 years, I had a full-time job, a dog, a house, a life. For decades I was employed writing for educational institutions and other nonprofit organizations. But I kept writing stories too. My great-aunt, who first published in her 70s, told me, “Dearie, you’ve got plenty of time. Keep at it.”

For 45 years I have slogged away, learning the craft. Writing and rewriting and rewriting again, reaching out and getting turned down over and over, but with enough encouragement to keep going—that, perseverance, and endurance drove me. Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was turned down 28 times.

Now, I have something I am proud to share. Happily, it seems that most people enjoy reading my first published novel, Eleanor’s Wars. I queried 90 agents. Finally, I landed with Beaver’s Pond Press in Edina. And recently Eleanor’s Wars received a national book award.

It’s a great treat to able to share my creation with others. At last.

- Ames Sheldon (M.A. ’80), Eden Prairie

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MINNESOTA ALUMNI MAGAZINE, Winter2017

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