I must have read a dozen or so, Barbara Taylor Bradford’s novels. A Woman of Substance, the first of her 27 novels, I read the year I graduated high school and fell in love with the fictional world of Emma Harte, who overcame her poor circumstances and rose to the top of the corporate world. Continuing on to college, like Bradford, I wanted to go into journalism but when my parents did not support my dreams of going away to study journalism, I settled for studying fashion marketing looking into pursuing a career in retail like her heroine, Emma Harte.
As the world of retail was entirely different in 1979, the year of my high school graduation than, the opening of the department stores in US history and the world of Emma Harte, without connections on Fashion Avenue, I thought better than try to insert myself into the character of Emma, wake up, and pursue a life that was more tangible, following a quick stint as a clerk on Wall Street in finance I became a bookkeeper, a respectable pursuit in the eyes of my father.
Then, there I was working with numbers instead of fabric or words but unlike my mother I was a woman in the corporate world. Without a passion for what I was doing, letting go was easy and choosing what I did know: having children and raising a family was not only respectable but it was easy. Although, having been influenced by Barbara Taylor Bradford and the rising feminists of the time, I did want more. I wanted an education, a career, and a family.
It was in wanting it all that brought me back to college when I was 25 years old, beginning with a liberal arts education while raising a four-year old child, that my studies would then focus on English and Sociology, sporadically as my family continued to grow and I would raise four children. A part of Emma stayed with me: the act of becoming. But more than that was Barbara Taylor Bradford’s ability to write which is what drew me to this lecture this evening, with my daughter, Sarah, my avid blog reader, as I couldn’t possible explain it all, as well as I can write it.
Sarah, thank you for sharing my life, my world, and my dreams. I love you.
*The most important thing I learned from Barbara Taylor Bradford this evening: She works on each chapter until she is completely satisfied with it before moving on to the next. (A style very much like my own) I feel reassured.
Other adventure in NYC and Photos to follow over the next few days.
What message from writer’s have you heard that offers you inspiration?