A Fateful Decision

I have a pack of papers my mother gave me of things I wrote and drew in elementary school. It’s nice. Not only does reading them make me laugh, but reconnecting with little Betsy has helped me understand things I didn’t know before.

For example, I thought I remembered when I decided to be a writer. I was in my early twenties, driving in to work, thinking about Bruce Springsteen. I often thought about Bruce Springsteen in my early twenties (don’t judge me). I was thinking about how he decided he wanted to be a rock star and how, having made that decision, he just went for it. I remember thinking, “well, I can’t play the guitar, but I like to write. I think I’ll be a writer.” And I started trying in earnest to write books and stories.

Later, when I was no longer in my early twenties and Bruce and I had gone our separate ways, I thought youthful infatuation had been a pretty stupid reason to make a life-altering decision. Doubt grew. Maybe I wasn’t a writer after all? Then I realized I really did like writing anyway, so what the hell. And I kept at it.

But I always thought my decision to be a writer had been because of Bruce Springsteen.

Now, looking through my elementary school papers, I can see that my love of writing came long before my infatuation with Bruce.

There are so many stories in that pack of papers – way more than I remembered. Little Betsy was creating many different worlds with her number 2 pencil. Yes, the stories were probably the result of homework assignments, but she – I – was happy to write them. You can see that. You can also see the freedom there. I didn’t care if they were good or bad. Of course I was going to write stories. Of course I was going to draw pictures. Of course I could do that and I wanted to do that.

Now I can see that Little Betsy was always a writer. She just forgot for a while. And the decision that I made on the way to work that day was a decision that had always been there and was just waiting for me to find it again.

If only I could explain the saxophone lessons….



  1. Valerie Watts Eichlin says

    Reading your blog of May 1, 2012: “A Fateful Decision”, You cannot have forgotten the creative writing class we had in high school?! Remember when we traded writing journals? Do you still have yours – I don’t. You are lucky your mother kept your writings. I have done the same for my kids. At the end of the school year I would sift through my elementary-aged child’s papers and keep the ones I think they will be happy to revisit. I especially like to keep the ones that reflect their thoughts on themselves, the “This is who I am” statements, in case they forget the child they were.

    Keep up the “Little Besty” series!

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Valerie Watts Eichlin: You know, I DO remember that creative writing class. Was that you I traded journals with? I think I have still have it – I have a denim covered journal and I wrote my vowels in a very fancy script – that has to be from high school. I have to admit that I haven’t been able to make myself read anything in it. LOL I’m very lucky that Mom kept my papers – and your kids will LOVE that you did the same for them when they’re older. Looking at them makes me smile. 😀


  1. […] think that I’ve already mentioned my young-adult infatuation with Bruce Springsteen. I don’t listen to him much anymore, […]

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