Lois J. Funk is an internationally published poet and children’s author since 1981 and a songwriter since 1994. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including Pieces of Her Mind – Women Find Their Voice in Centuries-Old Forms, a humorous book of Japanese English-Language senryu, kyoka, and haiga, written entirely by women; and in her own book, Snaps, Scraps & Snippets of the Past and Present (How to Retrieve the Lost Pictures of Your Past).
Travel, genealogy, and family have supplied an endless well of inspiration for this author.
TEACHERS MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
Unlike authors who claim they were born with pen in hand, I only became aware of my writing abilities when the autographed message of my seventh-grade teacher began to sink in: “You show an aptitude in journalism. I shall expect to see your name in a magazine someday as a writer.” It was in her English classes that I always broke into a cold sweat when she asked us to write a complete essay within the forty-minute time period and hand it in when the bell rang. I still have those handwritten essays, marked with As and A+s, along with her encouraging remarks. When my first children’s stories were published, in 1981, I sent her several magazines with my byline and a note reading, “You probably don’t remember me…” Her immediate reply was, “Oh, yes, I do remember you…”
What I didn’t tell her was that things changed drastically when I reached my sophomore year of high school: traveling much of the world with my parents; living in Germany for three months and in Australia for over two years. While my Australian English teacher showed a slight interest in my writing, it was only when my father died unexpectedly, and I had to leave there abruptly, that she expressed her real thoughts – that she had expected me to be her “one bright star” the following year. With the loss of my father, I lost my incentive for going on to college and decided to wing it on my own, despite warnings that one needs a college degree to become a successful writer and that the traditional, rhymed poetry that comes to me so easily is looked down on by publishers. Only one successful writer offered a glimmer of hope: “If you can do it well, try it.”
Years later, among other awards and publications, I can claim publication of over eighty rhyming stories and poems in Turtle, Children’s Playmate, Child Life, Jack ‘n’ Jill, and Humpty Dumpty’s magazines (The Benjamin Franklin Literary Society, Children’s Better Health Institute). My inspirational stories for children appear in church curriculum magazines. Three’s a charm, they say, and it was on a writers’ website that I studied short forms of poetry taught by the late Alvin T. Ethington, teacher, professional reviewer, and editor of Pieces of Her Mind. As well as accepting twenty-two of my poems for that book, his encouragement and pride in my work were priceless, as is his endorsement of Snaps, Scraps & Snippets.
- Published extensively in Turtle Magazine, Children’s Playmate, Humpty Dumpty’s Magazine, Jack and Jill, Child Life (all CBHI); and in children’s religious curriculum magazines: Our Little Friend (Pacific Press) and The Friend (LDS)
- Internationally: Miscellany (England); and for children, Explore (Australia) and The Friend (LDS)—one story printed in 15 languages
- Ideals Magazine, Purpose, The Lutheran Message, as well as several poetry magazines, anthologies, and newspaper columns
- Five chapbooks: Mother’s Hands, Father’s Hands, Sisters, Mother’s Hands II and Grandma’s Hands, all of which have been placed in the Bradley University Library, Peoria, Illinois
- Pieces of Her Mind – Women Find Their Voice in Centuries-Old Forms, 2012: Japanese English-Language senryu, kyoka, and haikga written entirely by women
- Snaps, Scraps & Snippets of the Past and Present (How to Retrieve the Lost Pictures of Your Past), 2014