Laurie Samsel Olson
Bio: By trade, I'm a 26-year veteran of local and state government. By heart, I'm a writer. My relationship with pen and paper began at the age of 10 with a poem about trees. "Trees are very pretty I like the way they blow And as I watch them day by day I find they grow very slow ..." I proudly handed the three-verse masterpiece to my fifth grade teacher who returned it to me with several red-ink corrections and not a word about my obvious genius with meter and rhyme. That triggered a love/hate relationship with editing that I carry with me today, but it didn't stop me from letting the words flow whenever the spirit moved me. Over the years, I've been most proud of stories that helped readers understand one another. During nine years as a journalist in the 1980s, I wrote human interest pieces that talked frankly but compassionately about what it was like to live as a quadriplegic in an able-bodied world or as a "boat person" who survived an ocean crossing to escape from a war-torn country. In 1994, after my schizophrenic/bipolar father died, I wrote and self-published a book to help others cope with the serious mental illness of a close family member. In 2007, my second foray into self-publishing was a metaphysical novel with both a humanitarian and an environmental message. Today, I'm sharing my most personal thoughts through this blog. I believe that one of the secrets to understanding someone is knowing who they hold in high regard. To that end, my heroes are Mitch Albom, John Denver, Robert Kennedy, my mother-in-law, Joan Millard Olson, and my mother, Joyce Metzger Samsel. Only one is among the living. The others are all resting safely in my heart.