‘Highlights’ of a professional writer

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 16, 2001

Features Editor

Beverly Capozzoli could wallpaper a room with rejection notices.

However, she chose to frame the first one and be motivated by the others.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

"When I got my first rejection letter, I felt like I was finally a professional writer," Capozzoli said, with a smile. "I was not discouraged in the least. If you are ever going to be published you can’t put your work in a drawer and forget about it just because someone rejects you. You have to keep submitting your work and believing that one day you will hook up with the right publisher."

That’s the way it happened for Capozzoli.

She had confidence in what she was doing and she kept pushing her work until she "hooked up."

And, when she did hook up, it was in the world of kids.

Capozzoli’s first attempt at writing for the public was a novel which she started and stopped. Then, she attended a Highlights writer’s symposium in Chautauqua, N.Y., sponsored by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and found her niche.

"Writing for children is easier and there is a good market for children’s books and stories," she said. "In 1985, I had my first story published by Highlights. It was called "Bedside Fishing" and the idea came from a game that I played with my boys when they couldn’t go out and play."

The story of little kids sitting on the edge of the bed fishing with magnets for paper fish appealed to the editors of Highlights, a children’s magazine, and Capozzoli was published. She was a professional writer and she had a $70 check to prove it.

But, writing is not about the money, she said. It’s about expressing an idea so that it has meaning for others.

Capozzoli’s is no longer a wallflower writer. Her career is blossoming. Her publications include four other stories in Highlights and stories in U.S. Kids, Day Care & Early Childhood, Junior Trails and Guide.

Her most recently published story, "A Walk in the Popcorn Rain," is in the March 2001 edition of Highlights.

In the story, Jarrett and his mother use umbrellas so they can walk to the park during a rain shower, Jarrett notices that the rain sounds like popcorn popping. When they get home, they know just what to eat for a snack.

It’s a simple story, but it stirs the imagination.

"I don’t know how many times I’ve walked under an umbrella in the rain and never noticed that the sound of rain on an umbrella sounds like popcorn popping," Capozzoli said.

"But, on that day on that walk with my sons, the thought came to me and the idea for a story."

Today, Capozzoli is paid better for her stories, but not enough to make a living from it and she really doesn’t care about that. She just enjoys writing and she also enjoys the cat-and-mouse game writers must play in order to get their work published. Except the game is played more like mouse-and-cat.

Writers do have to be willing to keeping poking their work at publishers and keep hoping the mouse will catch the cat.

"Sometimes a publisher will buy a story and it will be years before it’s published and then it might never be published," said Capozzoli who has several stories "on ice."

Right now, she is hoping to get a picture book published. It is a wonderful story about a little boy who goes tracking in the woods.

"He goes by a pond and some publishers look at that and say, ‘Oh, no. A little boy can’t be around a pond by himself like that,’" Capozzoli said. "There are many things that a publisher considers before buying a story or a book. You just never know what might be a reason for rejection."

Because her picture book might not be "kid-correct" according to some publishers, Capozzoli said the pond is central to the story and she’s keeping it in – for now.

Capozzoli has also written poetry and has dabbled in science fiction and is a little fascinated by sci-fi.

The writer’s world is a wide open place and she plans to visit it often. However, she has other talents and interests that keep her busy.

Capozzoli earned a bachelor’s degree in French with a minor in English from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in foundations of education from Troy State University.

She has taught junior and senior high and college English and French.

Today, she is teaching the language of line dancing at the Colley Senior Complex and is exploring the world of art through her watercolors. She exhibited with the local art council’s presentation of 13 local artists at the Emporium.

She also enjoys traveling and is planning a third trip to Japan in the very near future.

Capozzoli’s husband, Ernie, is a professor at Troy State University. They have sons, one is serving his country with the Marines and the other is serving with the Army.