My name is Leigh Ann Cooper, I'm a native of Birmingham, Alabama, and a divorced mother of two teenagers, ages 13 and 15, as well as a 20 year old college sophomore!! Yikes!! I have a BS in Nuclear Medicine Technology with a minor in American Literature from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, from where I graduated in 2013.
My illustrious writing career began, truly, in elementary school, when each year I was invited to attend a regionally based Young Author's Conference.
From those humble beginnings, I went on to become an editorial writer for my high school newspaper. Upon graduation from high school, I even managed to land a job, albeit briefly, as the receptionist for Birmingham Magazine...although it entailed a lot of phone answering and practically no writing...I still enjoyed the experience of being able to see the inner workings of of a true print media magazine based out of my hometown!
I then encountered a good 15 year writing break, due to getting married and having 3 babies ...the very same ones who are almost grown up now...sniff, sniff. While there is certainly a lot to write about when it comes to raising babies and toddlers, or kids of any age, really, in my experience, I was generally too tired to even write my name, much less write anything fit for public consumption.
So, now fast forward several years to my re-entry into academia at UAB, where my passion for writing was reignited right away with the first American Literature class I took, my first semester back in college...as a 30 something year old, soon to be divorced, mom of three.
Prior to walking into that classroom and receiving my first assignent in the form of a reading response to a short story, I had all but forgotten that, not only did I love to write, but I was also damn good at it.
Throughout my 4 years at UAB, I wrote essays, research papers, research proposals, lab reports, more research papers, more reading responses, philosophy papers, psychology papers, history papers...basically all the required collegiate writing, plus some additional writing for a professional academic journal, The Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology.
Upon graduation, I had gained far more writing experience than I ever would have anticipated, and it was then that the little spark began to form down in the depths of my soul, telling me that maybe I could be a 'real writer' one day...
Well, as I previously mentioned, during my return to college, my marriage ended in divorce, and, for lack of a better way to describe it, life has been a roller coaster of chaos since then. I again found myself in a situation where I was usually too tired to write my own name, much less remember that spark buried down deep in my aspiring writer's soul.
Evenrually, however, as I settled into the reality of divorce and my kids going back and forth between myself and their dad every other week...the weeks I didn't have the kids I was consistently verging on the edge of a deep, dark pit of despair. I didn't know what to do with myself without kids in my home 24/7.
I had also entered into the weird and scary world of post-divorce dating and relationships, despite the fact...and unbeknownst to myself at the time...that was not anything I was anywhere near prepared for. I had no idea what the hell I was doing, and that seemed true for nearly every area and facet of my life. Something had to give.
That's when I remembered the spark. I kept buried the part of that spark that hoped for an actual career as a 'real writer', but I did begin writing primarily as therapy. Life became a huge and vast set of social experiments, learning experiences, complete and utter failures, struggles with confidence and self esteem, and an overall feeling of being out of control. I still haven't quite managed to shake that out of control feeling completely just yet..but damnit, it's a work in progress, what can I say??
As the years have gone by, and my kids have gotten older, and I found myself regularly alone and completely lost as to what to do with myself...I began writing more and more. Mostly scribbled in whatever random notebooks or paper I could find in the kids' empty rooms when they were with their dad.
Over this past year of 2018, I began being much more frequently and fervently inspired to write about the heinous plight and despair of humanity, of which I was rapidly becoming more and more aware. I began writing so much, the spark burst through out of where I'd buried and forgotten it way down in those soul depths.
I suddenly needed to know if what I was writing was as good as I thought it was, because I was as of yet unconvinced that my own admiration of my written words weren't just the result of heavily self-denied arrogance.
In an effort to find out once and for all if the spark was back and brighter than ever because I actually had the chops, even after all this time, to be a real grown up writer, I dug up one of my college English professor's email addresses, and sent him a message after not speaking to him or being in his class for nearly a decade. I asked him to read, and give me some honest feedback, about my furiously written scribblings from the last several months.
Despite my fear that he either wouldn't remember me, or if he did, he might very reasonably not have time to read my random and rambling writing compilations...And even if he did remember me...after reading them, he might tell me I need to be committed instead of telling me that I should listen to the spark.
Well, luckily, he did remember me. Even more luckily, he immediately obliged my request for him to read and critique my current writing. To tell me the truth. To let me know if I really could be a writer, or, if maybe I was just clinically insane.
Now, while I'm still not certain that clinical insanity isn't one of many issues I face these days in reality, it didn't seem to be an issue when it came to his repsonses to the pieces I sent for his review. He told me that not only could I be a writer, 'for real', but that I already was one.
He said I was already a 'real writer'!!! I was relieved, to say the least, to hear those words, and be able to put to rest the worry that I might just be self absorbed and conceited. And I still might be...but at least now I had some sort of confirmation and validation that I was an arrogant, self-absorbed damn good writer.
So, throughout this year, I've continued to write when compelled. Sometimes I seem to be compelled often. Other times, I can't find motivation to get out of bed, much less pick up a pen. But as the months have flown by, that spark has continually gotten much brighter and much sparkier...finally so much so that I finally took the plunge and delved into online research about how to actually write and get paid for it.
And that's where I am now. I'm in the process, albeit slow due to my continued life chaos and life long procrastinating ways, of finally creating a blog site. It is, as far as I have considered it so far, going to be my own personal soapbox website, from which I hope to use as a platform to also start a podcast.
My blogging and podcasting persona will soon be known, hopefully far and wide, as The Essential Existential. That persona might ruffle some societal feathers, and I hope will serve to get people to think...something that seems to be turning into a lost art in America these days.
So, that brings us to this very moment right now, as I sit here writing this way too wordy biography section in what is soon to be my personal writing portfolio website, so that I can finally begin to satisfy that spark, and maybe actually start getting paid for some freelance writing! Like a 'real writer'!
Maybe I'll even be able to pay some bills through writing, with the ultimate hope that I will then have the time, and maybe at least a dollar or two, to hopefully afford me the opportunity to build The Essential Existential...so that maybe someday soon, any and all of you currenly reading this enthralling brief autobiography, can say you knew me when....you're welcome. : )
So, there it is. My ridiculously way too long freelance writing website biography. Oh, and that arrogant self-absorption seems still to be alive and well, because I felt the need to name the freelance persona, as well.
So, without further adieu, I'd like you to meet the freelance writer born of that tiny spark, who's going to make some cold hard cash as a 'real writer', or die trying! I may have forgotten to mention that I do tend to have a flair for dramatic exaggeration at times...but what better profession to dive into as a dramatic exaggerator than a wide open stage for the beginning of a freelance writing career...a career beginning right now, in real time, before your very eyes...and brought to you most arrogantly by my newest writing persona, created especially for this very portfolio, and known as none other than Enhancing Freelancing.
I might still have very little of a clue what the hell I'm doing with my life most of the time. I might still have yet to figure out how to live without rampant chaos even 6 years after divorce. But, there's one thing I know for sure. Well, two, actually.
One is that the spark was not going to go unnoticed any longer, no matter what I did, and it is sparking around my soul, giddy with excitement that it's finally being totally paid the attention it has been long overdue. Two, I obviously like to create self-promoting rhyming names for myself, way more than anyone should probably enjoy such a thing. But hey, I have made it abundantly clear that even throughout my frequent bouts of fighting my way out of various chaos storms and pits of despair...I seem to always manage to remember how awesome I think I am...and that way more people should have the chance to also think I'm awesome. Who am I to deprive humanity of such a grand gift, selflessly shared with the world by my ever present arrogant self-absorption....You'll all thank me one day, I'm sure of it.
Until then, I welcome you to join Enhancing Freelancing on this new and clueless journey. It should be fun...and if you stick around long enough, you may even be lucky enough to get to know the real brains of the whole operation...the genius, the myth, and the legend in her own mind...The Essential Existential.
I don't know what you and I may be in for as I set foot on the very beginning of the path my little spark created...but, something tells me it is going to be one hell of an entertaining ride...one that I hope a lot of you decide to get on with me...just buckle up and hold on for dear life...because here we go...it's hopefully going to be the ride of my life...
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