Ballard Writers Collective Blog
Angie McCullagh: Not Too Tall for Words
By Jan Dalrymple
Read Ballard Writers on other Ballard Writers every couple of weeks. If you join our group, you may enter your name on a slip of paper and put it in Bob Dalrymple’s hat. We’ll draw the name of someone for you to profile and someone else to profile you. Who will it be? The surprise is all part of the fun. Today, Jan Dalrymple profiles Angie McCullagh.
Angie McCullagh discovered her passion for writing fiction when she was in Middle School in a small rural community in Michigan. She had what appeared to be the misfortune of having the toughest teacher in school for 8th Grade English. Everyone was afraid of him. He demanded perfection to the extreme for everything from writing to posture. For unusually tall Angie slouching was the only way to blend in, but her teacher would have none of it. Then one day he called her aside. This time instead of reprimanding her, he gave her a totally unexpected glowing complement. He referred to one of her short stories as “top drawer”. That ignited her creativity and she has been going strong ever since.
It hasn’t been easy for Angie, however, even with her successes. The unusual tallness that was tough to deal with when she was an eighth grader and before is something she has to fight against even today. When Angie was in the 9th Grade and 5’10” tall her parents took her to the doctor to see if she had reached her maximum height. The women in her family were pretty normal in size. Her mother was 5’6” and it was looking as if her younger sister wouldn’t get past 5’3”. Everyone was hopeful that Angie had stopped growing. But to Angie’s dismay, she was told that she had more growing to do. Her height was projected to be 6’2”. Angie broke into tears. She was certain more than ever that she would never fit in.
As soon as she graduated from high school Angie moved out of her small town and went off to the big campus of Michigan State University. It was a chance to blend in to an environment where she wasn’t totally out of place. She majored in journalism, but upon graduation realized that even though she loved writing, reporting was not her passion. She found more gratification working in graphic design. She worked in Detroit until she was 24 then with a spirit of adventure joined her boyfriend as he moved to a job in the Pacific Northwest.
That change was only to last for two years. An uncomfortable split with her boyfriend made her seek the comfort of familiar Michigan. She got a job in graphic design at a Financial Services company, but really longed for what she had found in the Pacific Northwest. Three years later she moved back to Seattle and took on jobs as a graphic designer for a Newspaper Chain and then the Alaska Airlines In-Flight Magazine.
She found a great 6’4” guy in Seattle, got married, had her first child Max when she was 33 and her second child Claire two years later. Through it all Angie was writing. That passion she had found in the 8th Grade never went away. She had her first short story published in a literary journal “Phoebe” when she was pregnant with Max. At the same time she worked on a contemporary adult novel. She actively sought to get it published, but the exhausting ritual of submissions followed by interest then rejections made her decide to set that novel aside.
Among Angie’s many current projects, she has two very creative and engaging blogs. In her blog alladither.com, Angie describes herself as a “writer, mom and photography enthusiast”. It was because of a piece she did on her blog about the experience she had with rhinoplasty surgery (nose job) that Angie found her current 15 hour a week job at the start-up Realself.com. Actually they found her. The site allows viewers to “Find, Share and Discuss the Real Story about Cosmetic Treatment”. Her ability as a skillful communicator who had experience with plastic surgery attracted the attention of the developer of Real Self and Angie liked what she could do for them.
Angie also has another blog halfassedkitchen.com. The recipes and photography made my mouth water and I wasn’t even hungry at the time. I understand that you can rate the recipes at their level of “assed-ness”.
And if all of this isn’t enough, Angie has completed her self-published Young Adult novel “Spectacle”. The novel revolves around the life of a girl who is six feet tall and growing. It is a topic that Angie knows intimately and makes for a very accurate great read even for older adults. It is an e-book that is available through Amazon.
You can learn more about “Spectacle” and Angie on her blog alladither.com.