Kaye Erickson came into Whidbey Chat yesterday to share the history of the Whidbey Writers Group, and her own thoughts about being a writer and a member of a writers group benefits her writing and her life.

Kaye spent her professional career as a nurse and writer of nursing practices for text books, periodicals, and other medical publications.  To this day she’s a devotee of science, biology and the medical field with medical triumphs, tribulations and mystery weaving through her work.  

Presently Kaye is writing a book called Body.  The book begins with a long bickering married couple walking along the beach.  The wife comments that a particular log on the beach was not there yesterday.  The husband sharply asks if she thinks she knows every log on the beach, she concurs she does. But with a closer look, they both see, the newly beached log is not a log at all – it’s a body!  A dead body.  In the small coastal town, where the couple live and the story takes place, everyone knows everyone else but no one knows who the young man, laying dead, on their beach, is.  And so starts Body, another story by Whidbey Island writer Kaye Erickson.  

Kaye was born in Colorado in 1927.  She recalled, when explaining how she arrived on Whidbey, her father saying, after a visit, that Seattle was the most beautiful city he had ever seen.  She choose Seattle, as a young woman, with that comment in mind.  Bringing two younger sisters she was raising after their parents died, she moved from Colorado and began life in this area.  She eventually married and raised a son.  Now a widow living on Whidbey, Kaye misses her husband deeply but has found much joy in her life without him. She lives fulfilling days, has many loving friends and family, a busy schedule, her writing and a cat that has her wrapped around its paw.

Going from professional medical writing, a straight forward and scientific form of writing, during her years as a nurse, she now writes essays, fiction and poetry.  Her writing duties are usually performed at night when there’s a cloak of light around her and her cat is purring alongside.  Of late, besides writing fiction, Kaye has been spending a lot of time organizing her writing papers as a gift to her granddaughter who also wants to be a writer. 

Kaye’s work can be found in several Whidbey Writers Group publications.  Her mystery work is part of Whispers in the Mist (Tales of Mystery and Suspense), Published in 2004, Gull Rock Publishing. 

Gwen and Kaye discovered, during the interview, that they both admire Dr. Richard Selzer’s books.  A doctor of medicine turned writer, Richard Selzer’s work transcends high brow medical writing to a fascinating, lyrical trip through .   Selzer’s work has been an inspiration to Kaye since he first published, and she continues to follow his new work while rereading his old. Serendipitously Gwen picked up Selzer’s book Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery (1976) a few of years ago and was floored by how much she loved it.  Enjoyed it so much, she endlessly touted it and passed it around to several people before finally, a couple of years ago, presenting it to her niece, a newly graduated nurse who now works in the Univ of Washington Kidney and Liver Transplant Dept, as a gift.

Kaye expresses her love for writing, her devotion to the entity of fellow writers and friends who make up the Whidbey Writers Group, her take on the need for trusted and constructive criticism and how when presented without ill intention within a formal writers group setting can elevate a writer’s confidence and production.

Reading two poems from late writers of the WWG, Kaye shines as a reader.  In addition to the poems Kaye read the forward from one of the WWG published books of short stories, saying that it encompassed her own feelings about who, what and why the Whidbey Writers Group is.  To end her reading Kaye read from one of her shorts. 

Thanks Kaye for coming on Whidbey Chat with Gwen Sam!  We’ll be seeing you again soon.