Earlier in my life, it was very important to me to be taken seriously. After graduating college in 1982, I worked as a newspaper reporter when it was still very much a man's world, and, consequently, I was constantly proving myself. I did everything I could to avoid writing for the "Women's page" - weddings, social news, and stories about childrearing. I wanted all of the opportunities the men had, and I knew I would have to fight for them. As a result, I volunteered for more than my share of hard-hitting news stories. Ten years later I moved on to books - nonfiction books. I did this for about 17 years. I turned down projects that seemed too lightweight and tackled the tough topics. But then a funny thing happened. I did something completely different! I wrote fiction for the first time in my life. I had no idea if it was any good, and I didn't permit myself to worry about it. I wrote just for fun, and with no deadline or goal in mind. The result is my novel, "Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society." There are serious issues addressed in the novel but they are disguised by humorous situations. My little novel has opened up a new world to me. I have met many wonderful people because of it, and I am having new experiences. Last weekend, I went to Texas for the legendary Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend, which is sort of a retreat for writers and readers. It is a place to let your hair down. There are now pictures of me all over the Internet (some posted by me, others by my new friends) dressed like a Silent Movie star, as Edith Wharton, as a wealthy woman going to dinner on the Titanic, and as a present-day hat model. I can't begin to tell you how much fun it was to play dress-up, something I haven't done since I was about 7 years old and did not know I missed. This hard-hitting newspaper reporter who wanted to be taken so seriously is now a novelist who understands the importance - and joy - of being playful. Thank you, Kathy L. Patrick and all of Pulpwood Queens!