In the July, 2012 issue of Accent West a magazine published in Amarillo, Diane Neal finished her article, Goodbye, Baby Dog with a heart-felt sentence. “Chumley was not born of my bone or flesh of my flesh, but in every other sense, he was my baby.”
You can learn a lot about a person by reading what they write. If you weren’t already acquainted with her, that article would tell you Diane is a person of intelligence, compassion and a woman you’d like to know.
I met Diane in 1997 at a Frontiers in Writing conference, the first for both of us. Diane had just returned from England, and was working on her thesis to complete her Masters of Arts degree. Since then, Diane has been an active member of Panhandle Professional Writers, and served as president.
The times may be tough for free-lance writers, but in addition to the moving story about her dog Chumley, Diane’s considerable publication credits include book reviews for magazines, her "Big Mother" series about growing up in Amarillo, and published in Accent West. She is also one of the contributors to Flash Tales: An Adventure in Words.
Visiting her critique group, I had the privilege of getting a sneak peek at some of her “Big Mother” stories. Full of humor and local color, I knew they would have a strong regional audience. But the writing of Diane’s I’ve enjoyed the most, has been her annual Christmas-time letters, complete with pictures of her husband; sons Herschel III, Terry, and Jarrod, and grandchildren.
“Writings not a big money maker.” Diane laughed as she said it.
But writers write. If the primary motive for writers to spend long hours alone pecking at computer keys, we would miss the stories Diane has to tell. “I’m a morning writer, but once started, I work into the afternoon,” Diane said.
She tickled my curiosity with a few comments about a book she has on the back burner. When she’s ready to publish it, she may post a heads up on Facebook. – Just one more reason to be among the hundreds of Diane Neal’s friends.