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I have always written, it’s what I do. As a person who struggles with saying what I mean (and then sometimes backtracking), I have discovered the power of the written word. It doesn’t falter or stammer when questioned. It makes its point and is final.

I began writing my thoughts and feelings down in journals as an angst-ridden teenager, jamming my pencil onto pages at the rage and injustice of the world. I would pour out my anxieties and scribble until I filled page after page, releasing my pent-up troubles.

I didn’t realize how powerful writing could be until I entered high school and essay after essay was lumped upon us. Although others cringed at the thought of another essay, I rejoiced at them. I enjoyed researching the subject, working on the outline and then putting it all together in my own words.

Debra Colby writes at her home in South Portland. She writes, she says, because she has to. Photo by Lauryn Hottinger

After graduating high school, I fell in love and married. I became obsessed with being a wife and then a mother, but I couldn’t stop writing. In my free moments, I jotted down my love and depth of feeling for my new family. I began to write poetry. I had always loved expressing my feelings through short verses that could capture a moment with a big impact. I soon had enough pieces to fill a book, which I self-published in 2007. I was naïve in how to generate sales and was at loss on how to market it. So, in the end, that book became a simple love story for my friends and family.

I write about the things I love—about the places I’ve been and things I’ve seen in this wonderful state. I’ve written columns for local newspapers and another book of short stories and poetry, and I’m always surprised and delighted to hear when my words touch other people. My words come from the heart, I bleed out my sorrows on paper and exclaim my joys and happiness through the clicking of the keyboard. I write because I have to, the need is too strong not to.

Debra Colby is the author of “This Ain’t Shakespeare,” “Mom’s Eye View” and “I Heard You.” She lives in South Portland with her family and is currently working on her fourth book. Visit her website at debracolby.com.

NOTE ABOUT THIS THING I LOVE
We want to know what makes you feel fantastic, powerful, on top of the world. And we’ll highlight you in these pages. Email MWM editor Shannon at sbryan@mainewomenmagazine.com.

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