- Five Fun Facts
- Questions and Answers
- Contact Information
- 280 Characters
- 50 Word Biography
God, Betsy writes on topics close to her heart. 50
- 150 Word Biography
Quite the storyteller, Betsy's former passion, The Chronicles of Lady Ethereal, A Writer's Quarterly, was another of her beautifully inspired
creations, transporting one into another realm through its ethereal photography, beautiful artwork, and enriching prose. She spent two years nurturing this work of love. 110
Formerly founder and coordinator of Northwest Women Writers, it's been Betsy's privilege to work with numerous talented writers who inspired her. Currently penning a writing column, she enjoys mentoring new writers. Her articles and stories have appeared nationwide. 150
- 500 Word Biography
Back in the Northwest after two decades spent in California and Nevada, she moved with her family to the edge of civilization in the Cascade Mountains. Surrounded by snowy mountains, bear and wolf roamed their Christmas tree farm at night, while children ran freely during the day. Parcels of them: their own, her husbands, and for great lengths of time, her sister's. It was a flourishing time of giving, loving, and family, discovering the simple, but important things in life. 174
A move "down below," as the locals called it, to the Cascade foothills, changed the trajectory of her life. This new season turned to one of study as Betsy taught their young son at home for nine years, additionally burying her own nose once again, this time in religious tomes. Turning her life toward one of service, she was blessed to help meet the needs of those in the ministries in which she served and led. 250
Then one day a notice appeared in the paper about a Scandinavian group forming. Growing up enveloped in the aroma of her beloved Aunt's Swedish baking, she enthusiastically joined, becoming a charter member. This not only reinvigorated her fond Swedish memories while she explored their ancient crafts, it took her down an unexpected path. Asked to write their newsletter, then become scribe, she penned a column for their national newspaper, developing her creative writing skills, thrusting her into a new career. Now the books she studied were on the craft of writing as she explored her new profession. 349
Founding Northwest Women Writers in 2009, a hugely successful writer's organization spanning five counties, she ran the organization for the next four years. Orchestrating the production of their book, she additionally provided social, professional, and educational opportunities for their 115 members. Following this, Betsy went on to produce a beautiful literary writer's quarterly, The Chronicles of Lady Ethereal, full of faeries, fantastic photography, and fanciful stories. This truly was her work of love. 422
Currently, she writes a weekly column, The Nitty Gritty of Writing. But what really excites her is her creative non-fiction short story and poetry book, blending tales of love, laughter, and life. Appearing in subsequent stories, the real-life characters within help the book read like fiction. Seamlessly bound together with poetry, some humorous, some spiritually deep, it completely transcends an anthology. This fun project is due for completion during spring, 2019. For more information, please see Betsy's website: www.betsydiedrick.com. 500
FIVE FUN FACTS
- I adore watching jousting tournaments! I love the clashing of the sword fighting, the pounding of the horse’s hooves as they tear down the field, the sparkling armor and mail, the chivalry of the knights. It’s all spine tingling! And so much fun! We are fortunate to have a first class arena nearby and a group of Knights that come up from Seattle to joust.
- One December day I was sitting on the frozen ground sawing off a Christmas tree for a customer. The icicles on the tips of the branches began melting, dripping onto my nose. I started laughing, prompting our customer to ask, “What’s so funny?” Wet and frozen I replied, “I never envisioned this in my future when I was taking all those 400 level political science classes."
3. If I had the possibility of doing anything I wanted, I would train porpoises. We went to the Dolphin Research Institute and the Sea Turtle Rescue Hospital in the Florida Keys. I never wanted to leave. Thanks to Jacques Cousteau, when I was a teenager I wanted to become a marine biologist.
4. I have a passion for small purses, French lipstick, the smell of green apples, Kauai, and Rodrigo Santoro. In reverse order.
5. My mother was the Pacific Northwest sales manager for Columbia Records. We grew up listening to thousands of demo albums, so I have very eclectic taste in music. All the artists would stop at her office when they toured in Seattle, and she would bring home autographs and other memorabilia. But the crown jewel was when she scored front row Beatles' tickets. My claim to fame is that I’ve seen the Beatles twice!
QUESTIONS and ANSWERS
- On writing
1. Q. If writing is your passion, why did you wait so long to get started in the field you love?
A. When I was younger I was told I needed more life experience before I became a writer. Well, I have plenty of that now. But I had other passions I wanted to explore, the first one being dance. I trained for five hours daily: jazz, African, ballet, modern, folk. Boy, was I in great shape. It gave me that same exhilarating feeling, but even more so since my whole body was rhythmically involved. Two back injuries forced me to choose another path. I was still in college at that time, so explored other academic fields of study.
I also really wanted to have a family, and after marrying ended up raising scads of kids. It wasn’t until they were settled in life that I heard the call again to focus on becoming a writer. Recently reading that the purpose of one's vocation is to benefit everyone in society, I feel that at this
juncture, I am finally at the place where I can do so.
2. Q. You write across many genres. How do you decide what to write?
A. I write by inspiration. The more energized I am about an idea, the faster the writing goes, and those pieces turn out to be the most inspiring. It might be something spiritual, some incident I just witnessed, a fond memory, or an event that touches my soul.
I also enjoy writing humor, but I have to be in the right mood to pull that off effectively. Sometimes I burst out laughing when I reread a piece. Then I know I’ve hit just the right tone.
3. Q. How is your new book coming along?
A. Splendidly. I am really pleased with the progress I am making and how the book is coming together. It's a delightful mix of true stories and poetry about love, laughter, and life, the people who have enriched my existence. Each charming story was originally written to stand alone, but as these
people resurfaced over time, I would pen an additional piece or two, so most folks have several tales devoted to them. I then rewrote some of the stories so they would flow into each other. This makes the book read more like fiction, totally surpassing an anthology.
As these people's circumstances changed over time, I realized this was similar to character development in a novel. You can't help but root for
these folks when you read about their victories, and sigh when their actions tug at your heart.
There is additionally a spiritual sub-theme running throughout, about how God has affected many of these people and how that has impacted my
life. Some of this is very profound, striking a deep chord. This enables one to enjoy the book on multiple levels. In contrast, some of the stories and poems are just plain fun. Writing this book has ultimately been a catalyst for my spiritual growth. It's due to be finished this spring.
- On my ministry work
4. Q. You said the middle portion of your life was a time of study and growth, when your life turned toward service. Tell me about the volunteer
work and ministries in which you participated.
A. After I finished my Political Science major at UNR, I was inspired to take a quarter of training to work on the Crisis Line as a Suicide Prevention
Counselor. Volunteering weekly on the Crisis Line was pretty intense, but incredibly fulfilling. After that, we moved to Washington State where I
became a Crisis Pregnancy Counselor, working in their mobile van that toured around the county. Because of my experience, my church asked
me to lead Samaritan Ministries, a Board position. I coordinated hot meals, arrangements, and comfort for people experiencing times of crisis, or
those needing post-surgical support. I next joined Women's Ministry, a group tending to the spiritual needs of women at our church. While there,
I organized a Garden Club and taught a series of gardening classes. Discovering that I was good at organizing groups, I started my own ministry,
Lovely Lincoln Ladies, a gathering of high school peers who prayed for and met the needs of members from our very large high school class.
5. Q. What did you learn from these experiences?
A. Training for the crisis line was excellent preparation for all of my ministry work. It taught me how to be a great listener, to suss out people's feelings by sensing their emotions rather than listening to the words coming out of their mouths. It emphasized how to make people feel like they were really heard, which is critical. It also showed me the importance of truly caring about others, how that can literally make a life and death difference. But most importantly, it taught me the value of hope.
Becoming that aware helped me to discern how to follow my instincts, to listen to the little voices within that clued me in to where my attention needed to be focused, and to what was happening beyond the obvious.
- On our country life
6. Q. You mentioned you lived on a Christmas tree farm on the edge of civilization? What was that like?
A. It was really a treat for us to escape the city to live in the country. The air was so fresh and we loved the natural rhythms. There was one house
past our property, then just forested mountains. We had this incredible 360 degree mountain view, a creek running along the back of our property, a huge vegetable garden, my quarter acre dahlia garden, and five hundred beautiful noble and grand fir. The windows along the front of our house
overlooked North Mountain, which rose straight up about 200 yards away, while the rear windows and our bedroom slider viewed our Christmas trees, with a tremendous panorama beyond of White Horse Mountain and its waterfalls and avalanches. It was like living in Switzerland. Sitting on our bed
one day, my husband said ,"I'm never going camping again. I'm living it!" It truly was exceedingly beautiful.
It turned out we were really country at heart, so I didn't mind being away from so many people, or that the paper came a day late, or that sometimes the road was blocked when the river flooded, frequently cutting off my husband thirty miles on the other side where he was stuck at work. And even though we watched wolves and bears wander through our property, I felt safe.
Social activities were limited, as well as access to good education, and good restaurants. Anything "extra" was definitely not happening and required
a long drive or waiting until the following Tuesday when the hardware store received their shipment. But we got used to the local town rolling up at 6:00 p.m. And in our little valley we thrived as a tight knit family, enjoying our hillbilly neighbors, the nearby rivers, and the simplicity of country life.
7. Q. Hillbilly neighbors?
A. Most definitely! There were a few Scandinavian homesteaders in the surrounding area, but most of the men in town came from Tennessee and North Carolina during the Depression with the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corp, President Roosevelt's work program. Many married local town girls, but the majority brought their extended family out to join them. It was very much like living in 1930s Appalachia.
I learned a lot from them. Not formally educated, they had a different kind of knowledge, a great understanding about natural life, and survival, and living and thriving off the grid. Everyone was related, a half and half split between church folk and the mountain men. We were adopted by a couple of local families, otherwise it would have been tricky fitting in. But the people truly understood about working together as a community during times of
crisis, genuinely supporting each other during times of grief. These are the same people who dug through a mountain of mud to find their loved ones during the Oso landslide in 2014.
8. Q. Really? Were you there when the slide happened?
A. No, we had already moved past the slide area down to the next town, but that morning we happened to be tooling along next to the river. My brother called, asking if we had heard about the slide, telling us something had happened and the river was backing up. There was a spot further down the road that washed out every winter, so we assumed it was just another small event, but decided to move up to higher ground and went home. Little
pieces of information began filtering in. We knew it was serious because the rescue helicopters didn't stop flying over our house all day. Our son called later, filling my husband in about what had happened. Walking over, he gently told me that my good friend, Linda, had died in the slide. That shock, so intense, felt like I had been slapped across the face. Later, more folks we knew well were added to the long list of those killed. It was
We became a national disaster area with the press, Red Cross, and FEMA arriving. The locals finally persuaded the people in charge to let them dig with their heavy equipment. They slogged through that mountain of cold slime, sixty feet deep, until they found every last missing person. That was the character of these mountain people. The behind-the-scenes events were equally as heroic. I have never felt so proud, watching the selfless efforts of so many.
- On Becoming Who I Am?
9. Q. Who have been your inspirations?
A. When I was a kid I read a lot of biographies. I was particularly impressed with Eleanor Roosevelt, who inspired me to want to make a difference in the lives of others. I highly admired President Kennedy, Mother Theresa, and the Dali Lama. My wonderful Aunty June, who was like my second mother, taught me by example, about laughter, and fun, and love. And my husband, Mike, who has been at my side for nearly forty years, has helped refine me as we basically grew up and matured together, balancing out each other. He's been the steady positive force when the gales were blowing, my personal comedian when it has been smooth sailing. My rock. I so appreciate his calm, mellow, patient demeanor.
l0. Q. What other influences shaped you?
A. Attending college and living in California made a huge impact. I discovered the holistic health movement, taking several classes. This not only shaped my philosophy about health and life, but led to studying Eastern religions, the beginning of my spiritual quest. That was the stepping stone that really sent me down a different path, the pathway that led me to God. After that, it was a series of short jerks on the choke chain from above to refine my character, then decades spent in study in finding wisdom and understanding, molding me into the person I currently am.
11. Q. If you had any advice for people, what would it be?
A. To follow your heart, that is where happiness lies. And know that God is real, not just an abstract. If you have shut Him out for some reason, try to figure out what you are blaming Him for. It is an oxymoron, but He is the only one who can heal that pain.
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