By Chris Maza
LONGMEADOW – “I never intended to be a writer or a journalist,” Christine White admitted.
As she says this a smile crosses her face and she looks down at the table at her recently published book of columns published over nearly two decades.
It wasn’t until she was 50 that White entered the world of newspapers. With a master’s degree in sociology, she worked for state government, raised a family as a stay-at-home mom and then in a law firm before she ever put her name in print. Her travels have brought the Springfield native to Storrow Drive in Boston to the North Shore in Salem and back to Western Massachusetts where she now lives in Longmeadow.
She joined The Reminder as an intern and then a freelance reporter covering Longmeadow and later was hired by The Republican and eventually was offered the opportunity to write an occasional column. Now, 20 years of columns have been compiled into a 168-page paperback entitled “Are We There Yet? Essays from My Life.”
“It’s just whenever something strikes me,” White said of her columns. “They’re just as the title says – essays from my life. They’re comments on things that happened or things that jog a memory. Always at the end, I try to have a little twist or a little bit of wisdom that I can impart. I don’t just tell the story to tell the story. There has to be a reason for it.”
When she was first approached by the local publishing company Bellastoria Press about publishing her works as a collection, she rejected the idea, but eventually, something changed.
“I got stopped all over town – the grocery stores, other places – by people telling me how much they enjoy my column. The publisher was also very persistent and finally, I said yes,” White said. “I really think it was the accumulation of people coming up to me and telling me they enjoy my column so much. It just made me realize that I had something to offer. Not being a formal journalist or a formal writer, I have always lacked confidence in my own abilities, but when people kept coming up to me, it really turned the tables.”
Because they are written from personal experience, the essays, which are divided into categories for easy reference, speak primarily to older women, White said, but another audience has been extremely receptive as well.
“I did it mostly for my family, really,” she said. “My family didn’t know anything about this and they’ve been thrilled with it and that’s making me happy too.”
“Are We There Yet?” is available through Amazon, barnesandnoble.com, and Bellastoria Press at http://bellastoriapress.com.