How many authors do you know who began their career writing love letters for people? Well, that’s exactly how poet and novelist Heather Mitchell broke into the business. Heather’s inspiration for writing comes when “the zone” finds her and it first started finding her in middle school.
“Poetry has always come natural,” Heather explains, “it’s a way of expressing my deepest emotions.” And, as it turned out, she helped others express their emotions as well when she began writing love letters as a pre-teen for classmates to give to their crushes—for a small author’s fee. “[I] made pretty good cheddar for a while,” Heather said of her young entrepreneurial self, “until a teacher caught me.” While her teacher reprimanded her, it may not be for the reason you think. She told Heather that she was a good writer and to be sure not to sell herself short.
Heather graduated valedictorian of her high school class, then went on to earn a degree in child development with highest honors. She currently works in the preprimary education division of Davison Community Schools and has been with the division for over 17 years. She has always loved kids and her favorite part of her work is watching them grow up, “it’s an amazing thing to watch.”
When it comes to the topic of her disability, Heather is very open about it. She is visually impaired and invites others to ask questions and have conversations. “People often ask if I would fix my eyesight and are surprised when I say ‘no.’ I was put here for a purpose and meant to be an advocate. I am proud of who I am.”
Her determination shows through her journey to becoming a published author. Heather has been writing for over 30 years and it took her 15 years of that time to get her first book, an anthology of chronologically arranged autobiographical poems entitled Heart Mind and Soul, published. She followed that up with her novel, a modern romantic tragedy entitled Eastern Flame.
When asked if she has any support to offer other people with disabilities navigating employment, she advises “be proud of who you are and make the best of it. Use your disability to educate others.”
You can find Heart, Mind and Soul here and updates on the rerelease of Eastern Flame can be found on here social media here. As a special treat, Heather has given us permission to share a poem with our readers as a preview of what you can find in her book:
I sit down to write, clearing each jumbled thought.
May my labors be fruitful instead of for naught.
The blank page before me is an open dance floor.
It beckons two willing artists, and not any more.
This pen is my lover, as we sway growing near.
Its power to inspire I’ve come to revere.
My partner I hold tightly inside eager fingers,
With each line that appears, tingly excitement lingers.
Ink tracks on the page that we leave behind,
Are the creative musings of an unfettered mind.
A day without learning is one lost indeed.
I lay here before you my writer’s creed.