Suzy Colt headshot with Jim Mitchell hat

ABOUT ME

I started writing in diaries when I was ten years old, but my entries were merely a list of activities with no corresponding feelings or interesting anecdotes. My letters home from summer camp were the same boring tomes, much to the chagrin of my father and mother. My mother tried to help me by sending back my letters with spelling and punctuation corrections marked in red. That was so embarrassing that it succeeded in turning me off writing at a vulnerable time in my development.

Upon entering college, my freshman writing professor struggled to get me to break out of old habits. I was lucky to find a professor/advisor in college who tutored me in writing, which helped, but even then I failed because I was being told what to write about and much of it failed to interest me.

When I embarked on the study of law I discovered a love of writing. It really clicked for me because there was finally a reason to write and be persuasive. I was writing for real people and having an impact on their lives.

My unexpected early retirement from the work world in 2017 due to unforeseen circumstances left me with plenty of time on my hands. Shortly thereafter, in the summer of 2018, a gift was left at my doorstep in the form of a trunk full of my father’s scrapbooks and letters from the first half of his life, the part of his life in which I did not exist.  It lead me to want to learn more about the man I had only known for 26 years. I commenced an unexpected journey which lead me down many different paths.

During the hunt for information about my father, I unearthed a box of letters he had written during World War II. I discovered he fought at Okinawa. The 75th anniversary of the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa were fast approaching and I decided I wanted to share that part of my father’s story with a broader audience.

Over the years I had written letters to the editor that were published in The Concord Monitor. I had been a faithful reader of the paper for several years and noticed they seemed to accept contributions from non-journalists on a regular basis. So, on Jan. 14, 2020, I sent a query to see if they would be interested in publishing a three-part series based upon the letters. Shortly after I sent the email I received a phone call from Dana Wormald, the Opinions Editor, indicating that they would be interested in the project.

Choreographing the timing of the series was Dana’s job. He decided it should run after the completion of President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate, which ended on Feb. 5, 2020, and after the New Hampshire primary, which was on Feb. 11. There would be a lull in letters to the editor after that point so he decided to run the first part of the series on Sunday, Feb. 16. The second part ran on Thursday, Feb. 20 and the third ran on Sunday, February 23. Thus began an unexpected "writing career."

(The above bio is lifted from Chapter 1 of Pandemic Panacea - How Writing Became My Salvation.)