MOTHER, DAUGHTER, AND THE LOVE OF WRITING: About Mary Shepherd and Marylin Warner
MARY ELIZABETH (HOOVER) SHEPHERD always carried a notebook and pen in her purse. In airports, doctor offices, waiting in hallways while her husband attended meetings in Topeka, Kansas City and numerous Kansas towns, and while she sat in her living room watching through her picture window. Mary was always prepared for ideas, phrases, colors and sounds that might become poems, essays and drawings. For many years she was an active member of Kansas Writers Club. Some of her poems and short pieces appeared in The Writers Block in THE FORT SCOTT TRIBUNE, while others placed in local and state contests. Although she and her daughter attended several writers conferences together and proofread each other’s writing–often laughing so hard that they disturbed others–Mary did not like submitting her poems, children’s stories and personal essays for publication. She preferred to share them with her children and grandchildren, and recently her daughter compiled an assortment in a keepsake book so that Mary’s great-grandchildren could enjoy them as well. Mary illustrated several of her stories, including her favorite, “Stubby, The Missouri Mule.” She was also a supportive, behind-the-scenes speech writer for her husband, Ray Shepherd. At ninety-four, Mary’s dementia has halted her own writing efforts, but she continues to be an appreciative listener of pieces that are read aloud to her, and even though some of the readings are her own work, she rarely recognizes them.
MARYLIN NAOMI (SHEPHERD) WARNER is a writing coach, teacher, editor, and freelance writer. She has had short stories, articles, personal essays, memoirs and creative nonfiction published in numerous magazines, anthologies and newspapers, and has earned several contest awards. Her mother often nudged Marylin in the direction of writing for children, but it was twenty years into her writing career before Marylin tried it. Her first children’s short story, “Two Families, Two Tables” (later retitled “Only The Dog Knew” for publication) won the HIGHLIGHTS writing contest. The story was Mary’s favorite and is linked in this blog at HIGHLIGHTS. Marylin has always admired the poetry-writing talents of her mother, and will be forever grateful that she had a supportive, encouraging mother who applauded all her writing efforts–even the stories Marylin sold to TRUE CONFESSIONS–but she admits that her mother was much more enthusiastic when she learned that all those stories sold to Sterling/MacFadden were printed anonymously, without a byline. Through the years, even after Mary quit writing, she continued to encourage and applaud all of Marylin’s published children and adult short stories, articles and plays, and anthology and newspaper essays and articles.