Mississippi Matters is thrilled to welcome Susan Marquez as a new weekly contributor. Susan is president of the Mississippi Writers Guild. She has written thousands of articles over her impressive career. We asked Susan to say "Hello" and give us a peek at what our readers can expect!
Having a deep curiosity about people, places and events is what fuels me on a daily basis. I get excited to learn someone’s story (we all have one!) and I get even more excited when sharing those stories with others. That’s where the writing comes in. Unless you all come to my home and sit around listening to me talk, which could be a lot of fun, the best way for me to communicate all the cool things I’ve learned is to write about them. And luckily, I have a platform right here to tell my stories.
I’ve been a freelance writer since 2001. What does that mean? Well, for me, it means I can work at home in my pajamas, which I do much of the time. But it also means that I have the opportunity to meet interesting people, learn about interesting places, and generally stick my nose in things I’m curious about and have a good reason for doing just that. I have written well over 2500 articles for magazines, newspapers, business journals, trade publications and online news sources. That’s a lot of interviews and traveling and learning and experiencing and writing. I’m grateful for the opportunity to indulge my endless curiosity and even more grateful that people read what I write.
I’ll be writing a weekly column for Mississippi Matters on a plethora of subjects. I’ve been given free rein to write about whatever subject I want, whatever angle I want. I’ve been told that I can be “wildly bohemian, political, spiritual, reactionary, proactive, yada yada yada.” You can expect all that and more!
Since I’ve been writing professionally, I see things with a different perspective. I rarely take things at face value. I want to know more. I ask questions. I want to know the back-story. It’s in asking those questions, then really listening that I learn so much more than I ever dreamed. And oh, how I love to learn. For someone who never really liked school, I feel that I’m an A+ student of life!
And what a life I have. It’s not a real glamorous life, but it’s one that I’m amazed by every day. I am a Jackson native who grew up in the turbulent ‘60s, yet had no clue they were turbulent. I lived just a few miles away from Tougaloo College, a hotbed of Civil Rights activity and Beth Israel Temple, which was bombed by the Ku Klux Klan in 1967, along with the home of Dr. Perry Nussbaum, Beth Israel’s rabbi at the time. As a student at McWillie Elementary School, I had a great start to my education, but I was kept blissfully unaware of the unrest in the world around me. I heard a talk in recent years by Ralph Eubanks, a Mississippi native, author and visiting professor of Southern Studies at Ole Miss.
Eubanks, who is about the same age as me, said that while growing up in Mount Olive, he, too, was blissfully unaware of the turmoil that was taking place during the years of civil unrest in 1960s Mississippi. His parents wanted their children to enjoy their childhood, which they did. I did, too. In the heart of northeast Jackson, my world was limited only by how far I could peddle my bicycle. I spent days at a time in the summers wearing only a bathing suit and flip flops -- in the water at Briarwood swimming pool more than I was out of it. I was on the swim team, and went to Girl Scout camp and family vacations. I probably sucked in enough poisonous bug spray while riding my bike behind “the fog machine” to kill a small army. I enjoyed lazy evenings catching fireflies and looking for shooting stars. My childhood was grand.
I graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in radio-TV-film and my career has meandered through television stations in Hattiesburg and Jackson, working in advertising for a department store in Hattiesburg, working at an advertising agency in Jackson and, my last “real” job, as marketing director for Northpark Mall for most of the 1990s.
I’m married to Larry Marquez, the nicest man in the world. We’ll celebrate 38 years of marriage in August. I have a smart and funny son, Joe, who graduated from Millsaps and works in corporate sales in Kansas City, Missouri. Our daughter, Nicole, has the most amazing story of anyone I know. If you don’t know it already, you can read about it here and/or here.
So, writing may not be my passion, but it’s my vehicle to learning new things, meeting interesting people, and experiencing the world in a different way. Writing has opened many doors for me, and as president of the Mississippi Writers Guild I’ve developed a “writing tribe” of people who write for many reasons. Some just love the joy of writing. Others write to express themselves or to share information. No matter why they write, it’s something they feel compelled to do.
I look forward to sharing my writing with you each week. If you like what I write, let me know, and feel free to share it with others in the World Wide Web. If I write something you don’t care about, you can share your displeasure with me as well. This is not about my ego. It is about my delight in sharing with readers on this wonderful website. I am truly honored to be writing for you.