SEARCY — Writing is something that has always interested Ann Robertson of Searcy, but while balancing the duties of a full-time job and motherhood, it wasn’t easy for her to find time to write. When she retired from teaching, she found herself writing down stories so she wouldn’t forget them.
“I’ve always enjoyed writing, but it’s hard work,” she said. “I had several ideas for [pieces] or books, but I never could sit down and write them.”
Her hard work is paying off, though. She has been published in four Chicken Soup for the Soul books in the past two years.
“You walk around thinking about [your piece] and writing it in your head,” she said. “All four [of the stories] were something I had already written and had on my computer.”
She spent her career as an art and writing teacher and found Chicken Soup for the Soul’s writing format easy to follow. The books then became an outlet for her writing.
In addition to being published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Robertson uses a blog to share her writing and art with others.
She and her husband moved to Searcy 15 years ago, along with his mother, who lived in a condominium. After experiencing a fall and what was likely a stroke, her mother-in-law moved in with the family, and Robertson became her caretaker.
“I did some writing to do with his mother and geriatric care,” Robertson said. “It was published in [Chicken Soup for the Caretaker’s Soul] last spring. I saw it as a way to honor [my husband’s] mom and encourage others.”
This was Robertson’s first piece to be published in the series of books.
She started writing to remember things, Robertson said, and some of the pieces she had penned fit the prompts she found for Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Robertson said that for each piece she publishes in the books, she receives $200 and 10 copies of the edition in which her byline appears.
Her stories not only involve her taking care of her husband’s mother; they are also about her children and how she and her husband met.
In Miraculous Messages From Heaven, an edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul, her story follows an afternoon when Robertson and her daughter were going to go hiking at The Gorge, a park in Hot Springs, something they did often.
Robertson said her daughter had a dream about a murderer in the park and protested against going hiking that day. The next morning, the newspaper reported that a dead man was found on the trails the women would have normally taken for their daily hike.
“I can’t explain it, just how grateful I am that this little girl insisted that we not have that dream come true,” Robertson wrote in her piece.
Robertson updates her blog monthly with stories from her daily life and pieces of art, which she paints when she has time.
“I plan to do [my blog] for a long time,” she said.
Her blog, called The Light and the Heavy, now has a section called Tattered Butterflies, inspired by a butterfly she found in her sunroom that could still fly even though its wings were almost destroyed.
“It made me realize how strong a lot of people are,” she said. “It’s amazing how we can recover from some things.”
More information about Robertson is available on her blog at www.annelizabethrobertson.com.
Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501)244-4307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.