• 79°

Kristy Woodson Harvey: Writing is a good way to make a life

Kristy Woodson Harvey

Kristy Woodson Harvey, author of "Dear Carolina," a novel being released in May

Kristy Woodson Harvey, author of “Dear Carolina,” a novel being released in May

It’s February. The month of love. So maybe that’s why, in the recent interviews I’ve done about my upcoming novel, “Dear Carolina,” I’ve been asked so much about falling in love. With writing, that is.

Everyone wants to know about the moment I knew. And I feel very lucky that I have an answer.

And I owe that to The Salisbury Post.

I interned at this paper in high school, and that year marked a lot of firsts for me: the first time I ever wrote a column, the first time I ever got to see my byline in a real publication, the first time I got to copyedit a piece that someone else had written. Those early mornings at The Post certainly gave me the writing bug. And that internship no doubt influenced my decision to go to journalism school at UNC.

But I don’t think it was until the summer after my freshman year in college, when I was interning at The Salisbury Post yet again, that I actually fell.

If you’ve ever been an intern, you know that you aren’t exactly at the top of the food chain. You’re there to learn, of course. But you’re also there to do the things that no one else wants to do. That summer, the thing that no one else wanted to do was write about big vegetables.

I can’t remember exactly what they called these pieces, but they were about interesting things that Rowan County citizens grew in their gardens: 10-foot-tall sunflowers, the biggest zucchini on record, a squash that looked exactly like a heart.

Looking back, I can see why the other reporters didn’t exactly think this was their opportunity for a Pulitzer. But I was thrilled. This was a chance for me to see my name in print over and over and over again. This was my shot at going back to UNC with a file of clips that would impress my professors who were always referring to our hometown newspaper as one of the best small dailies in America. Well, if I could make a heart-shaped squash worth reading about, of course.

I remember standing out behind a house in a big lot, swatting away the summer gnats, and realizing as I talked to the couple that had grown said squash that I wasn’t here to write about plants. I was here to write about people. Interesting people. People with lives and hopes and dreams and families. People, as my journalism professors would say, with a story.

Something clicked for me that summer because I realized that that’s the kind of writer I wanted to be. I wanted to write about people. And the more I grow up and the more I write the more I realize that that’s what we’re always writing about anyway. People. When I write about design, it’s about people. And when I write novels, they’re about people too.

And every, single last one of us, from top to bottom, has a wonderful, interesting story. And it’s ours to tell, whether that telling allows our names to end up in print or not.

When I was finished telling my story about falling in love with writing, the interviewer asked me about the process of getting a book published. After I detailed the steps, the highs and lows, the rejections and the triumphs, she said, “That sounds awful. Aren’t there easier ways to make money?”

I just laughed. Because a lot of things in life are about making money. But, for me, writing isn’t one of them. It’s about having a story in your heart and getting to share that with the world. It’s about sticking with something until you round out the edges and make them soft, about passion and commitment, taking the good with the bad, giving away your whole heart. In short, writing is a lot like falling in love.

Kristy Woodson Harvey, a Salisbury native, lives in Kinston. Her debut novel, “Dear Carolina” (Berkley/Penguin), is available for preorder from The Literary Book Post and Amazon.

Comments

Nation/World

Ex-FBI lawyer to plead guilty in Trump-Russia probe review

Nation/World

Tropical Storm Josephine closer to land in busy Atlantic hurricane season

Elections

Post Office warns states about mail voting

Coronavirus

UNC-Chapel Hill sees two COVID outbreaks in reopened dorms

Education

All three school board seats contested as filing closes

Coronavirus

Spencer nursing home has COVID-19 outbreak

Crime

Blotter: Arrest made in connection with Kannapolis shooting incident

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Man faces weapons charge after fleeing traffic stop

News

Forest abandons lawsuit challenging Cooper executive orders

Crime

Update: Funeral held for boy, 5, who was fatally shot in Wilson

Education

Salisbury-Rowan NAACP hosts virtual town hall with superintendent

Nation/World

Crews try to tame California wildfire as heat wave arrives

Coronavirus

Nursing home outbreak first reported last week sees first COVID-19 death

Coronavirus

1,400 face masks given out at county’s drive-thru giveaway

Crime

Blotter: August 14

Business

With more than 1,500 patrons in two weeks, High Rock Lake restaurant gets off to hot start

Business

State awards $584,100 grant to Three Rivers Land Trust for farmland preservation in Cabarrus County

Crime

Teen faces laundry list of charges after string of larcenies

Crime

Salisbury man faces charges after trying to retrieve phone from police

Crime

Police: Father hospitalized after being shot in argument with son

Education

RSS teachers adapting classrooms to the pandemic

Education

Shoutouts

Coronavirus

County launches paramedic program for those recovering COVID-19

Education

Cooper directs $95.6 million for students affected by COVID-19