In the Beginning, They Were Writers – Ruth Hartman

Words and Pictures
by Ruth Hartman

In elementary school, my love of writing seemed to form right along with my love of drawing pictures. Usually, I drew cats. But one day, tired of the same old thing, I grabbed a magazine my dad had tossed on the floor beside his recliner. I drew the picture, freehand, while looking at the cover. It was of a man, slouched in a church pew, with his shoes off. His eyes were half-closed, trying to stay awake while he listened to the service.

The caption referred to the “apathetic and bored church member”. I wrote down the words just as I saw them on the page, and positioned them above the drawing of the man. I studied the words and knew all of them but one.

“Daddy,” I asked. “What does a…pa…the…tic mean?”

He looked away from his newspaper and frowned. “What?” He leaned over to where I sat on the floor with my pencil, paper and the magazine. “Did you draw that?”


“You traced it from the picture?”

“No. I just drew it. No tracing.”

“Hmmm. That’s really good.” He glanced down at the paper again. “Apathetic means you don’t really care. You’re not really interested.”

I studied the word and nodded. “Oh, okay.” But inside, my mind sprung to life. I’d just written a word I didn’t know, had found out its meaning, and now I knew that the next time I wrote it or read it, I’d remember what it meant! How exciting! I’d always loved to read, but writing that word and discovering something new brought that love to life.

After that, even though I was shy, I participated in our class’s spelling bees and did well. I loved to write stories for school and just for the fun of it. And I was that weird kid in high school who cheered when we had to do term papers.

Nothing has changed. The other day when my nephew, who’s in college, moaned because he had to take a literature class, I volunteered (jokingly) to write all of his papers for him.

My first experience with writing a book was in 2008. I’d gone through a very rough four years of living with debilitating OCD. I could hardly leave my house. When I started to feel better, I wrote down what I’d gone through. The finished product was the now re-released “Life in Mental Chains”. It wasn’t necessarily my plan to keep writing books, but one day while cleaning a patient’s teeth at the dental office where I work, I wondered what would happen if a hygienist fell in love with her patient. “Flossophy of Grace” was the result.

Ten books later, I’m still writing and loving it! My newest venture is Regency Romances. “Time for a Duke” was released in November 2012.

Guess I should thank that apathetic man in the church pew. He might have been bored, but his picture prepared my mind for a lifetime of the joy of writing.


Thank you for stopping by, Ruth! Readers may find Ruth on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!


6 thoughts on “In the Beginning, They Were Writers – Ruth Hartman

  1. jeff7salter says:

    I love learning about the young lives of authors I know. I don’t believe I’ve told anyone in this context that I cut my reading teeth on biographies. Not ordinary biographies, but that popular Bobbs-Merrill series called ‘Childhood of Famous Americans’. I read everyone in my elem. school library and the small public library in downtown Covington LA.
    Why do I mention that here, now? Because this new series of Kay’s — the beginnings of writers — we’ll be doing that very thing: looking at how people started out, what influenced them, what decisions they made.
    Fascinating stuff.

  2. Shea Ford says:

    Very interesting! I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only oddball who enjoyed writing school papers. lol. I wish I could draw like that even now with a picture to guide me, let alone do such a good job as you did as a child! 😀

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