About Rebecca Kojetin
“I am a writer.”
I first heard this statement in a workshop presented by Laurie Scheer in conjunction with UW Madison Writers’ Institute. Then, I heard it again from Jeff Goins in his blog, in his books, and at Tribe Conference 2017. Since then, I have heard it numerous times. It is a statement that has had such an impact on me that it stares at me from under the glass top of my writing desk.
What’s in a name?
I must start with this:
Rebecca Kojetin is Karna Tecla AND Karna Tecla is Rebecca Kojetin.
For several years, I was a split-personality writer. No, that doesn’t mean that I have a split personality. What it does mean is that I gave myself a pen name while I was still teaching high school in the public school system.
When it came to writing fiction (a short story or a novel) or poetry, I wrote as Karna Tecla. Why? I was working to develop a career (an encore career, if you will) in writing while I was completing my last few years of teaching. I found I had a number of reasons to adopt a pen name.
- One day, a student came to my class one day and asked if I had Googled myself. (I had not. – He had Googled me and told me I should go home and Google myself.)
- The teacher me and the writer me were often in conflict for my time. (Mentally separating the two me’s and the two careers helped me focus.)
- The school district had a clause in the contract regarding the income of a teacher/writer. (Since I taught writing and creative writing, the union advised to use a pen name. During my last years teaching, however, that never became an issue. Even though I was getting published in some anthologies, I never got paid for my work.)
I retired from teaching high school in 2014 and dropped the pen name by 2018; however, I do have a handful of published short stories and poems under the pen name Karna Tecla.
So, who is Rebecca Kojetin, the writer?
- I am a writer, teacher, and speaker, but I am so much more. (Then again, aren’t we all?)
- I am a multi-faceted creative who is driven to explore the wide variety of opportunities, experiences, and adventures that come my way.
- I am a life-long learner in search of ways to encourage others to become life-long learners.
- In my fiction and my poetry, I write to challenge, question, and motivate people to rise and be who they were meant to be.
- In my non-fiction, I write to present the facts, explore my position and opinion, and motivate and educate others.
My love affair with writing
I began a love affair with writing in kindergarten. How do I know? Because of this picture.
The dress is a dead giveaway that this picture was taken in 1964 because it was the dress I work for the kindergarten spring festival Maypole dance and program. As usual, I could be found sitting on my grandparents’ couch with a pencil in my hand and notebook on my lap writing something.
Like most people, I learned about writing during elementary school, junior high (middle) school, and high school. I composed numerous short stories, poems, and plays as well as those dreaded research papers and essays during those years. During high school and college, I also took creative writing courses, helped with the creative writing anthologies, and learned how to write for the school newspaper.
In 1980, I graduated from college and accepted my first teaching position. During those 34 years of teaching, I developed the philosophy that I wouldn’t expect my students to write anything that I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, write.
I wrote the assignments and creative writing prompts that I assigned or that the department or district assigned. I allowed me to recognize the difficulty of what was being asked and the stumbling blocks the students might encounter. It also gave me a wide variety of pieces in my writing portfolio.
I retired from teaching in June 2014, freeing me from writing lesson plans, teaching units, and other required formulaic pieces; and from reading student essays, research papers, and creative pieces.
Where can you find my work?
Non-fiction & Blogs
I publish articles and such on Medium.com
I also maintain the blog Coffee on my Porch: Conversations on life and living with Becky.
Short Stories & Poetry
I have published several short stories and poems under the name Rebecca Kojetin in several different editions of The Rockford Review, an anthology published by the Rockford Writers’ Guild.
I also have pieces published in Rockford Writes and Forest City Stories under the name Karna Tecla. Both of these are anthologies of the work of writers in the Rockford, Illinois area.
I was also published in The Word of Art, a writer/artist collaboration conceived by Mary Lamphere of InPrint Professional Writer. The project had artists choosing from written submissions and creating a work of art inspired by the written word. One of my pieces, “The Immigrant” received the Judge’s Choice for the Written Word.