I’ve spent my whole life chasing…and living…my dreams. There’s certainly no stopping me, now!
Pearl Kirkby’s family moved around a lot while she was growing up, enough, in fact, that people sometimes assumed she and her sister were ‘Army brats’. To the contrary, her father was an architect and his job required that he travel.
Because of this, Pearl was exposed to different cultures, not only within the United States, but also through ‘touristy’ trips through many of the countries in South America. As an adult, she discovered that somewhere along the road of life, a bit of wanderlust had taken root and short, spur-of-the-moment trips became the norm.
Her mother taught her children the love of books by reading to them from the likes of Dr. Seuss and Grimm’s Fairy Tales to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Robinson Crusoe and Little Women. Pearl herself learned to read and write about the age of four, penning “…little folded, paper books, complete with illustrations, to present to family and little friends!”
Pearl’s writing is not so much a study in demographic cultures as it is an expanded recitation of memories of her experiences with people and life. All of her stories are, as she says, “…based on real life, with a lot of poetic license taken!”
And life handed her an immense amount of subject matter on which to write. An early life of travel here and there, to chasing her dreams into adulthood, Pearl has been everything from Candy Striper (age 16), cashier, telemarketer, medical transcriptionist and lead singer for two bands, to car rental agent, US Postal worker and Ordained minister. And a writer.
An uncomfortable bout as a welfare recipient, during which time she received an infinite amount of help to escape, gave Pearl a heart for ‘giving back’. Unable to actually repay the kindnesses of those friends, she vowed to “Pay It Forward” in any way possible. She did so by helping others as she was helped, wherever she saw the need. Early on, her volunteer efforts were personal and private, but as time went on she discovered the many service organizations that could give her the opportunity to do more. The Boy Scouts of America, Hospice and supporting military veterans and enlisted and their families through the VA and Blue Star Mothers of America have been three of her favourite undertakings.
But underneath, around and through all of these hats she has worn, “Writer/Artist” has filled the empty spots.
As to writing, she began doing so for other than her family around 1996, when she designed her very first website, from scratch, at a time when one must have knowledge of how to code with html. Excited about the new experience (and even more so, once website templates became available), she has since created, maintained and administrated over a dozen. She currently maintains five, plus a number of social media pages.
Pearl gives credit for “going public” to her former (and final) employer, who gave her the opportunity to write for his company, and to his social media manager, who taught and mentored her. Their encouragement solidified the lifelong dream of becoming a published writer upon retirement which, happily for Pearl, came early when the company was sold. It was during this time of employment that “Mama Always Said…” was drafted. It has since grown to become a collection, which will, some day, include three to four short volumes.
When retirement commenced, along with a renewed effort to edit her book for publication, Pearl’s children suggested that she write a children’s book. They were very insistent, as grown children can be, and it was not too long before “Mama Always Said…”I Love You More” was born. This was supposed to become the first of her books to be published. Unfortunately, illustration has been at a standstill for some time, now, and that book sits, waiting patiently!
Fortunately, however, Ms. Kirkby decided to enroll in college at the tender age of 52! Although her major was in Accounting, her favourite class was…you guessed it…English Literature. It was during one of these classes that she penned, “Folded Dreams”, a class competition assignment. Her story won the prize with not only the entire class voting it so, but also because of the professor’s vote, who was her highest contender! A little more than a decade later, this little two page story became a book, and was published in 2015, under the title, “Folded Dreams – the Beginning”, and is the precursor to a follow-up novel, due to be published around December, 2016.
Pearl Kirkby lives with her husband, Guy (“…who has politely listened, distractedly acted like he was listening and actually listened with rapt attention, to drafts, edits, rants, edits, frustrated groans and sighs and…edits, edits, edits!”) and their thirteen year old cat, Rain, in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. She is the mother of twelve (“Blood or step, they’re ALL mine.”), some of whom live in New England, a few who live near to her, grandmother of 50 (“…at last count!”) and great-grandmother of 8 (“…give or take a few!”). She is 62 years old.
To date, Pearl has ‘discovered’ that there are at least eight books residing inside her, including a book of “Proetry, P’ose and Assorted Other Stuff”, the follow-up novel to “Folded Dreams – the Beginning”, another novel, “Waking Up Dead”, a (3-book) series, “Mama Always Said…” and, possibly, a collection of short stories.
“I do not anticipate losing my faculties until my life is finished and my last breath exhaled…I will write until I can no longer hold pen to paper…or type with one finger!”