A Reintroduction – by Ambassador Rebecca

A Reintroduction – by Ambassador Rebecca

Ambassador Rebecca wearing the Hummingbird Garden Pendant from Beth Millner Jewelry

Even professional writers get writer’s block. You’d think it would be easy: write a blog post introducing yourself! Except didn’t I already do one of those back in 2019?

Okay maybe nobody’s the same person now that they were in 2019.

Who am I today? It’s July, so I’m on summer vacation after my first year of teaching high school English at L’Anse Area Schools. When I was a kid, I used to say I wanted to be a teacher, but as I got older, I never thought I’d actually be doing it at this grade level. It’s one of those serendipitous things that somehow worked out perfectly. Last August I responded to a call for part-time tutors and, after an interview, got offered three hours of teaching instead: two hours of English III for the juniors and a section of English for college-bound seniors. I’ve got a PhD in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture from Michigan Technological University, and, as an affiliate of Northern Michigan University, I teach college composition to the seniors and they earn college credit for it through concurrent enrollment.

Teaching itself isn’t actually new to me. I’ve been teaching college students since starting my master’s in 2008, but that’s not teaching high school. There’s such a huge difference, so, even with the class I’ve taught before, there was an adjustment. The first time you teach any class, it takes a lot of work, but now that I’ve got one year down, I can make some changes for next year. (Yes, we’re still reading The Great Gatsby. There’s no escape from the green light.)

Ambassador Rebecca typing on a laptop wearing a stone ring and a custom quill ring from Beth Millner Jewelry

The part-time aspect of my teaching job fits in perfectly with my writing. My first book was published in 2018, and my seventh book – and second novel – comes out this August. One of my fellow teachers told me I did it backward: you’re supposed to start as a high school English teacher and then become an author, but that’s okay. Part of navigating life is figuring out your own path.

Brand Ambassador Rebecca wearing the Lily of the Valley Pendant and Chickadee Ring from Beth Millner Jewelry

I’ve got a sign in my home office that says “Ask me about serial killers, true crime, and Stephen King,” because that’s what I write about. So far I’ve published two books about Jack the Ripper (with one more in progress), one about “America’s first serial killer” H. H. Holmes, two about Stephen King’s works, and one novel that starts out in the UP. (The one coming out in August takes place entirely in the Houghton/Hancock area and opens at my writer group’s favorite table at Cyberia.) The comment I most often get is that you wouldn’t know it to look at me, and one of my friends has dubbed me “the happy murder pumpkin.”

Ambassador Rebecca knitting and wearing a Pride Ring from Beth Millner Jewelry

When I’m not writing, I’m knitting. I learned how from my grandmother when I was eight years old, so I’ve been practicing for a few decades at this point. I like making shawls and have gotten more into knitting sweaters, although I don’t like knitting socks. When I choose yarn for my project, I’m frequently swayed by the name the dyer gives the colors. Currently I’m working on two different projects and one is in the color “Blood Runs Cold” and the other is called “World in a Book.”

Ambassador Rebecca wearing a glove she knit and a Superior Sunset Silhouette Ring from Beth Millner Jewelry

One of the things that keeps bringing me back to Beth’s work is the appreciation of one crafter for another and the joy I see her taking in her creations. I know how much time and effort I’ve put into both my writing and my knitting, and how many aspects of both acts of creation just come with continued practice. I love seeing Beth’s new collections and how she might go and take a class on a new metalwork technique and then come back to use it on Pictured Rocks designs, or how we’ve been having beautiful northern lights lately and she uses labradorites and agates to depict the sky. Plus Beth uses recycled metal, locally-sourced copper, and conflict-free stones in her work, so it’s not just local and nature-inspired but ethical … which just makes it even easier to love the joy present in every piece.

The Heritage Trail Reversible Fox Pendant from Beth Millner Jewelry atop a knit piece made by Ambassador Rebecca

You can tell when a creator’s honestly having fun, the way students can tell if you actually care about what you’re teaching, and with Beth Millner Jewelry, it shows in every detail. I’m happy to once again be one of BMJ’s Summer Brand Ambassadors and keep exploring all these new facets of creation and life.