But, you know what, so what! I like it. It’s helped me grow as a writer, take first steps and chances for exposure, possible ridicule from which to learn and grow from, and has produced wondrous connections with readers and other bloggers/writers, starting with this one.
I started out with this blog, afraid to be a writer, like the post I’ve just included speaks about.
And here I am, three years into it, and I love having this space that is mine to say what I want to say.
I’ve been writing down several quotes of a particular kind lately. I’ve been using them for motivation to keep trying new things and striving for more for myself.
This is a big year for me, but I am trying really hard to hold onto the proper amount of perspective in my life.
I started the year 2017 on a high note, in several ways, but now I am marking three years here and I like to think on where I was, one year ago and then one year before that, when this blog felt like the huge step to be taking, as I left my twenties and entered my thirties.
Last year I rounded up all the posts from the previous twelve months of 1000 Voices Speak For Compassionlove/
that I’d written. I thought it would be a nice way to commemorate two years of having this blog.
So, now what? Where am I with Her Headache? Where am I headed?
I blog less here during the week these days. Monday through Friday I often use Facebook as a blog of sorts instead, one where I write shorter things, reflections and observations. I am writing a lot of other things now and it’s still sometimes tough to decide when to write a particular piece here or if I should save it for possible submission or publication elsewhere. It’s nice having this space to come and write and share my thoughts, but I’m learning that sometimes it’s best to hold onto an idea and to find a different home for it, one that may help me grow as a writer, somewhere else.
Of course, I still feel strongly about writing down the things I am thankful for. I use that as my weekly checkin point.
I can see how much I’ve achieved here, when I look back to a year ago, and I like having that perspective. I don’t know what 2017 will bring, though my plans are in the works. I do hope I will be able to look back at those, whatever they may turn out to be, from this position, in 2018 and beyond.
I am feeling a little like I am frozen, and I’m warm while I say that. I don’t need to be out in a snow bank to say it. It is January, a new year, and I am frozen by many fears. I am afraid I will accomplish nothing, that this year of 2016 will be empty and a blank void in my life. I feel frozen by indecision and by uncertainty, but I hope I can find a way to thaw from that feeling of being frozen by all of this, that I can find the courage to take risks and keep moving forward.
I am equal parts afraid and optimistic. I am a lot hesitant and somewhat hopeful. The fear that I could go a whole year and not get anywhere at all clings on tight. On the other hand, I see a wide open year ahead as full of unknown possibility and promise of something great.
You never know the experiences you might have, the events in life that you just can’t plan for, and the people you may meet, who may come into your life for all kinds of reasons, for the short term only or for longer.
Here I am, a year on from the fear and those remarks I made on my blog at the start of 2016, and a good year for me personally and creatively, trying new things, all by deciding to focus on myself is how 2016 actually turned out.
And now, I end 2016 and begin 2017 by looking back, at the year I’ve just had and ahead to the year to come.
Then, to kick things up a notch, I thought the best way to focus on my writing was to take a writing workshop with a Canadian writer I’ve admired since I began blogging and seriously writing. Carrie Snyder – Obscure CanLit Mama
Her style to creative work was just what I needed and it made me open up and here I am, one year later exactly, off to broaden my writing workshop horizons.
In reality, my brother had just come off a close medical call and was becoming himself again. I had lots to be thankful for.
I just needed a bit of a push, some creative inspiration,
and a path for a new direction in my life.
The year 2016 would, by many, be labeled “The Year All the Greats Died…the cursed year” even if you look at that with perspective from other years, past or future.
It began with David Bowie, but for me, it all started with Snape,
as Bowie hadn’t quite meant to me what he’d meant to many others who felt his loss.
A new year maybe, but a new month meant another #1000Speak,
focusing on the subject of forgiveness.
With the start of 2016 I decided to start a new Friday tradition.
This third month of 2016 would bring more music, as I would discover my theme song for the year and forevermore: Scars – Emmanuel Jal Feat. Nelly Furtado
and I would officially begin to learn how to play the violin, with lessons that would challenge and reward me, in both big and small ways.
Then, in honour of International Day of Happiness, I wrote a piece for March’s #1000Speak
about how music makes me happy.
By this point in the year, I decided to cut back on blogging and write more of the memoir I’ve always planned for.
The writing mentor was a big deal, for that, as great and knowledgeable as she is and as much guidance as she’s been so far, but it was a sign that I could make writing my future – only I could do that.
Weeks before, at the end of May, the lead singer of Canada’s own Tragically Hip announced his fight with brain cancer and all his fans of Canada were listening, especially all across the country, one night in August.
“Regarding the influence from his poet-balladeer father, Cohen has said, “He’s tremendously helpful. Forget that I am his son. I was tutored in lyric-writing by Leonard Cohen and I had his sensibilities to draw upon. And I’m not just talking genetically. I could literally talk to the cat and he could lean over my notebook and point to a couple of phrases and say, ‘These are strong, these are weak.’ How can I consider myself anything but incredibly fortunate.”
Canada loses a great artist and the world all feels it, a distraction, in the form of RIP Leonard Cohen,
just following the chaos in the United States.
I focused on my own personal growth for a greater part of 2016, but managed to fit in a little, last minute dating during the final days. Also, I made new and face-to-face connections with a few local women writers. So, a balance of personal and social, for good measure.
A few of the final famous deaths of 2016 would include daughter/mother pair Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, but for me, it was the loss of this guy that brought me back twenty or so years:
I watched Days of Our Lives multiple days a week, while I was sick at home from school or stuck on dialysis. It was my favourite soap opera of the late 90s, as ridiculous as the storylines always were.
And now, here I am, and another January is upon me.
It is a bit of a contemplative month, with the new year so new and fresh, but I value it for its melancholyish quality. It is a quiet time of reflection and so much possibility ahead.
As a new year begins I search for the motivation I see all around me, the kind that is going to get me to the places I strive to get to. I feel the blueness of January and hope I can find some momentum in the months to come.
My 2016 Resolutions were:
I want to make more connections with writers, creative and smart women, and I want to keep writing. I want to not be afraid to keep putting my words out there, even though the fear of more rejection is a lingering one.
Some make resolutions, others pick one word for their year, but I resist doing both. If I have to choose one word though, I suppose I will go with “Adventure”. I do want more of this, as I believe life is one giant adventure, all the years we get to live it.
Raised by a grandmother who believed the only available professional jobs for a Black American women in the 1960’s were nursing and teaching. Audrey Snyder grew up feeling restricted in her own home. Audrey, however, had inherited the grit and determination of her great Cherokee grandmother, who had accomplished the impossible by traveling, unescorted over 1300 miles in a covered wagon filled with orphaned Cherokee children.
Worth the Climb tells Audrey’s remarkable story of struggle and success in corporate America. Leaving home at a young age, Audrey moved from secretary to prominent business success in the face of racism and discrimination.
Throughout her 40- year struggle, Audrey pushed away anger, bitterness, and despair, clinging instead to excellence, perseverance, and the need to open doors for Black Americans who would follow. Worth the Climb is a must read for anyone looking to move forward in spite of pitfalls and disappointments.
K: Did you always think about or wish to write a book, or is this something more recent?
A: When I started writing this book, it was in the form of a Diary to my mother who died when I was four years old. I wanted her to know what I did with my life. I knew we would meet in the afterlife and I planned to give my diary to her. For years, I would write down my thoughts. One day I started reading my diary from start to finish and realized I was experiencing similar circumstances that many of my minority peers and friends had been talking about. Talking with my relatives and elders in the family, I learned about the struggles they had gone through. Realizing that things really hadn’t changed much for minorities. With the encouragement o family and friends, it was then that I decided I needed to tell my story. Others needed to know what was happening to minorities in the corporate environment.
K: What was the process of compiling all your memories for this book, physically writing it – what was that like for you?
A: When I first started writing, it was a pleasure to write because it was going to be a diary of my accomplishments. When I started the diary, I would come home each day and write what had happened that day. However, as I was writing, some of the obstacles I faced while trying to advance in the corporate world began to become daily struggles. What started out, as a happy daily occurrence was becoming a way to express my anger. At one point, I had to put the diary down because the anger was becoming overwhelming and I wasn’t sure at the time how to deal with it. When I started to have some small successes, I again picked up my diary and continued with the process of writing about my experiences. A friend recommended a book coach to help me get my diary into a manuscript format and ready for print. We worked for about a year meeting often to review and discuss situations making the book ready for publication.
K: You include inspirational quotes at the end of each of your chapters. I really enjoyed this part.
Which of these would you say is your favourite and why?
A: It is difficult to pick one but if I have to choose, it would be the quote by Les Brown. “Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality. This quote is important to me because it gave me the freedom to set my own rules for success. I didn’t have to worry about those that tried to stop me. I only needed
prove I was qualified and capable for the position or status I was seeking. My success was not about what others thought of me, but of what I thought of myself and what I could achieve.
K: Which qualities did you make use of, going from your marriage to your career, and what lessons do you believe you feel you most transferred to your children throughout all those years?
A: This is an easy one to answer. It would be determination and perseverance. I refused to accept no. I was determined to have what I was entitled to. I set goals and tackled them one step at a time. My children have also shown their success in their adult lives by utilizing these two characteristics along with hard work. My son is an educator and has been awarded “Teacher of the Year” and my daughter has worked at a job with a disability that no one said she could do for 16 years now. Forty-four years of marriage required perseverance and determination for success.
K: Where do you think women, and more specifically women of colour, but really all minorities stand in the corporate world and then in society as a whole?
A: Women of color are still behind white men and white women in the corporate world. Women of color are often offered positions in secondary management roles. There are a few women of color that have been allowed to have the title of “Vice President”, but they are far and few. Most women of color are allowed to obtain higher positions in the areas of Human Resource or Training. In society, women of color are playing a more relevant role if you look at Congress and the role that women are playing as Mayors. Women also are very relevant in our elections. More women of color are on national networks than ever before. Women of color are also organizing and networking to make sure they are being heard.
K: What do you think other minority groups, such as people with disabilities, must do to be proactive in striving for more acceptance and rights that so many other black women fought for?
A: There are two things one must do to be proactive.
They are Education and Networking. I mentioned earlier
that my daughter has a disability. I learned all I could
about her disability and then all I could about her rights
as a disabled citizen. I used the Internet to find out who
I needed to talk with. I also networked with many groups
and organizations to learn how others handled their
experiences. I continually asked questions and when I
get answers, I don’t always accept them at face value.
Often times I need to research and continue to learn.
I make use of many social networks because many things
today are still about “Who you Know”. I find these groups
to be creative and encouraging.
K: Do you consider yourself an inspiration? Why or why not?
A: Yes, I do consider myself an inspiration. My entire career has
been to always reach back and bring someone up the corporate
ladder with me. I have mentored many employees in the
various positions that I’ve held. I currently teach as an
Adjunct Professor and with each class, I make sure to
always give encouraging advice to my students.
Whether at home or out with the public, I always make
sure that I am setting an example that others can follow
through my mannerisms, my speech or my actions.
K: Do you think any minority has the obligation to become an inspiration or do you even think its an appropriate title? Why or why not?
A: I don’t think the title “Inspiration” is the right title. I think we all have an obligation to set an example for others to follow. It
should not be limited to minorities. I believe everyone should be a living example. However, I do believe that since opportunities for minorities are limited, I think that when we do get opportunities, it is our responsibility to make the most of that opportunity so that other minorities can also have that same chance. What I heard most often and still hear today is “The last time I hired a minority, it didn’t work out so I don’t want to take a chance again.” That’s judging the entire race instead of the individual. You don’t hear that same claim when white employees don’t do well.
K: “Each one, teach one.”
This is a line from the book. What did that concept mean to you throughout your journey?
A: This phrase was and is vital to our success. When I say our, I mean anyone in a struggle to succeed. It is not limited to minorities but it came from the days of slaves when they were teaching each other to survive and to read. I believe as they believed that it is our responsibility to teach others what we learn and pass that on to those that come after us. We must reach out or reach back and touch someone in need of guidance, knowledge, encouragement, etc. We must pass on our experiences through deeds, actions, writing, etc. We must not get to the top without reaching back or reaching out and teaching someone else.
K: What do you hope people will take away from reading “Worth the Climb”?
A: The purpose of my book is to help that person who has been blocked from reaching the next step to their success. My book talks about some strategies that I used when blocked from reaching the next level on my ladder of success. It details the obstacles that blocked me and why I chose to go after the success I deserved. I want others to know that you can achieve your goals if you develop a strategy. I hope that some of my strategies can serve as an example for a resolution to a problem others might encounter. I want others to not let anger deter them. I want others to continue to persevere and stay determined and encouraged that they can achieve if they believe they can.
Audrey Jane Snyder is retired after working in the corporate environment for 40+ years in the fields of human resource management and customer service.
She has also been an independent consultant specializing in on-line web based training of interpersonal skills for first line managers.
Audrey holds a BA in Business Communications and a Masters in Training and Development. Audrey is a member of Western Pennsylvania Initiative, Greater Pittsburgh Area Communications and National Black Public Relations Society, Inc. and PennWriters Inc., The Pittsburgh East Writer’s Group.
Audrey has also served on the board of Family Resources, Inc. Audrey has spoken as an expert at Budget Financial Seminars and recently was Keynote Speaker on Courageous Leadership- Owning your Own Success at the National Black MBA Gala. Audrey is currently an Adjunct Professor at DeVry University.
Audrey was born and raised in the Pittsburgh, PA area lives with her husband of 44 years. She has two adult children and two grandchildren.
This is her first book which one finalist position at the Pittsburgh Author Zone Awards.
Thanks for this interview, Audrey, and good luck with the book and the rest of the tour.