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Tullahoma resident Nells Wasilewski recently published her first book of poetry, “Haiku Seasons” featuring poems in the well-known Japanese style. Wasilewski also leads the Left to Write Poets and Writers group which meets monthly at the First United Methodist Church in Tullahoma.

For some, the ability to write comes as naturally as breathing. The spark to write can be ignited by almost anything the writer sees or does. Writing is done in many forms, but all forms have a purpose: to tell a story. For Tullahoma resident Nells Wasilewski, writing and rhyming has always been part of who she is.

Wasilewski said writing has been a part of her for as long as she can remember. Rhyming has always come as a “second nature.”

“I’ve been writing all my life,” she said. “My mother would always say that I was able to rhyme before I could read or write. I was just born to rhyme. I’ve just always been compelled to write about the things I see and things that are beautiful.”

Throughout her life, Wasilewski has always written in her free time. She has written short stories, devotionals and regular poetry, but she’s always had a passion for the Japanese form of poetry of haiku.

A haiku consists of three phases. In the first phase or line of a haiku, there are five syllables. In the second phase, there are 7 syllables, and in the third phase, the poem returns back to five syllables. Haikus are generally written about nature.

Wasilewski had spent many years working for a mortgage company. When it became time to retire, she told her husband that she wanted to pursue her writing in her free time.

“I didn’t know it at the time, but God was working in my life,” Wasilewski said. “My husband had asked me what I was going to do once I retired, and without even thinking about it, I just told him that I wanted to pursue my writing and try to become published. I never imagined it would actually happen.”

Wasilewski had been posting her poetry on Facebook from time to time. Her friend, Mary Sayler, who is an editor, writer and poet for Christian publications, suggested that Wasilewski send her work to be edited. Wasilewski was hesitant.

“I was just an amateur,” said Wasilewski. “I was apprehensive about sending my work off, but then I thought, ‘Why not?”

Wasilewski gathered her poems and sent them to Sayler to be edited. When the work returned in a big brown envelope, Wasilewski was so nervous to open it that she left it on her kitchen table for a few days without touching it.

“I was cleaning one day and then just decided to open it and see what she said,” said Wasilewski. “When I opened it, I was really surprised to find the nice notes Mary had left about my work. She suggested that I touch up my work according to her revisions and then send it to a publisher. So I did.”

It wasn’t long after Wasilewski sent her work in that her first poem became published in an international poetry journal called Horizon Poetry. Wasilewski decided to keep at it, with the goal of publishing a book of haikus.

Her book, “Haiku Seasons”, was published last year and is now available for purchase through Amazon. The book features haikus about the four seasons.

Wasilewski encourages all writers to never give up their dream of becoming published.

“I want to help others get published,” said Wasilewski. “Even though my opinion is just my opinion, I will always read work and make suggestions. If the work is so good, I’d love to help them get their work submitted. I always encourage them to keep writing.”

While Wasilewski is enjoying her retirement and her time to write, she also conducts a poets and writers group that meets twice a month at the First United Methodist Church in Tullahoma. The group is called Left to Write Poets and Writers.

“When new writers come to the group, they can expect a community of like minds listening to and sharing poetry,” Wasilewski said. “It’s a good place to hear opinions on pieces of work that aren’t from your family. The writers group gives that little push that everyone needs to continue writing and succeeding.”

In the future, Wasilewski plans to write a children’s book. The plans are mapped and the characters are named, but the story is still in progress. The book will aim to teach children about love, adoption and acceptance as two unlikely characters become best friends.

The Left to Write Poets and Writers group meets from 6:30-8 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at the First United Methodist Church located at 208 W Lauderdale St. in Tullahoma. New group members are always welcome and the group is free to attend. The side door is left unlocked for entrance to the group.

For more information on the Left to Write Poets and Writers group, email nelliwasilewski@yahoo.com.

Faith Few can be reached by email at ffew@tullahomanews.com.