Who Are You?

A shelf of books in my house.

How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as a writer, artist, worker, manager, 9 to 5-er, housewife? How you perceive yourself has a great influence in your daily success.

For the longest time I didn’t call myself an author or even a writer. I was just a wife and mom who liked to write and read a lot of books. My mother tells the story of me at less than two years old, snatching books off the Golden Book spinning display rack in that store that has the big letter in the name. I would ask for books not toys for birthdays. I also have a unique literary story about how I lost my first tooth. I have loved books longer than I have memory. When I was small I wanted my mom to read to me all the time. When I was a teen I spent my days in the library or on the beach with a book in hand. I devoured books. Still do. It was the feeling of the book in my hands and words that captivated me. Reading is like an out of body experience. You can experience things while reading books that are outside of your environment and out of possibility to you without books.

In my thirties got a bachelor’s degree in English and Writing from the University of West Florida. Then I earned a master’s degree from Florida State University in Library and Information Science. I eventually found my way to a career as a librarian. Not out of some desire for a noble profession though librarianship is a calling, but rather just to be in the presence of books. As if the shelves of books and stacks of books around my home were not enough, I needed more variety than the well-loved memorized shelves I own. My life had become books and words.

I began to write when I was eight years old. I would mimic my favorite stories writing my version of them. They call that fan fiction now. I didn’t know what I was doing. I just knew I needed to write and read words.

My life changed when I read a quote by Toni Morrison, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

With the encouragement of my husband and family, I have written and published four novels. There are more words to get out of my head. I still didn’t call myself an author until I published my third book.

Once I defined who I was and began to call myself the thing that I was, life shifted. It’s the power of words that can change your life.

When I began to call myself an author, a writer, even on the days when I felt more like a failure and a fraud, I was still an author. My feelings shifted when my perception stayed consistent. When I told other people, out loud, “I am an author” my internal thought process began to believe it as truth.

Know who you are. Give it a label. Say it, use it, make it a part of your daily life.

So, that’s my story, one of many. I see myself in different ways. I am a well traveled southern girl from Perdido Key, Florida who likes to write, likes bookstores, libraries and coffee. I am just a girl who devours books, loves the salt scented air in my lungs, the sugar white sand in between my toes and books in my heart. I love to talk books, so please feel free to contact me if you like talking books too.

~ Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here.

P.S. If you send me a letter I will write you one back.