Great-grandma Mary Jane Imlay Patterson, 1973; one way to reach 100.

So many things come in groups of 100. Years build to centuries. Special attention is paid to the first 100 days of a new administration. And, at last, this is my 100th blog. This is where I started with blog #1:

My name is Susan Matley and I’m a writer.

If there’s a twelve-step program to cure this condition, I don’t want to hear about it. Why? Because I love being a writer. Sure, sometimes writing makes me antisocial. Sometimes I even wake up with a headache after a long, unbroken session at the desk, but these mild pathologies are not sufficient to stop me, or even slow me down. It’s a job that’s taken me a lifetime to acquire, a job that stands out from decades of accounting, music and assorted other work I’ve performed because I look forward to doing it every single day.

99 weeks later, I feel exactly the same way. Much has happened in the interim. The blog has evolved from a simple Google application to a weekly feature at my website . The first two books in my contemporary fantasy series (pen name S. D. Matley), Small-g City and Big-G City, are now available in book and e-reader form, with book three, Beyond Big-G City, pending submission. I’ve done book signings and readings, the latter with my husband, Bruce, pitching in with me to bring the characters to life. There have been radio and online interviews, reviews on Amazon, contests with books, CDs and chocolates for prizes. Like many writers, I find marketing more difficult than writing, but these days it’s all part of the game.

My initial plan was to write blogs about, well, writing. Soon topics of family, friends, pets and daily life came into the mix. The last quarter of 2016 spun a new thread of civic and political engagement, starting with “Three Things I Must Say” in October, to date my most-read post. The genesis of this change: I could no longer tolerate a certain candidate’s high-handed, misogynistic dismissal of sexual assault, something I experienced personally at age 13. I believe that now, more than ever, it’s critical to stand up and share the stories from our own lives.

My name is Susan Matley and I’m a writer.

I still derive the most joy from writing fiction, but changes in the world have shaped my perspective as to the importance of writing about facts, as well.  Facts. Don’t let the word fall out of your vocabulary. Truth is another word on the endangered species list. Opinions are fair game to give and dispute, but lies are and will always be lies. There is no need to come up with a different term.

Good fiction has truth at its core. Characters, actions, settings and the rest must be of believable, whole cloth. Writing is an act of continual evaluation. Perhaps that’s true of the rest of life, as well.

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