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A full-circle journey

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by AMANDA WINTERS
Sequim Gazette

Ruth Marcus knows dreams change. She also knows to follow them wherever they lead.

 

Her dreams led her from Wisconsin as a young woman in 1969, hitchhiking her way to San Francisco where she got a job as a typesetter, to taking it a step further and learning graphic design, then becoming a clothing designer, a teacher, a counselor and a writer. Now, bringing it all full circle, she is following her dream to be a writing coach, utilizing her expertise in counseling, writing and self-publishing.

 

“In my life, I’ve followed my heart,” she said. “I’ve done so many things. Each one is somehow connected to the one before.”

 

Marcus shares her life’s journey in the hope it will inspire others to follow their dreams, too.

Bold beginnings

In college, Marcus saw a sign that said, “Typesetter wanted.” She didn’t know what that was, but knew she could type fast.

 

The man who hired her said the trade he taught her would guarantee she’d never want for work in her life. Aside from the basics of typesetting, she also learned about layout and the entire print process.

“That man was right,” she said.

 

After hitchhiking her way to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco in 1969 Marcus began work almost immediately as a typesetter. One year later, she decided to start her own design business.

 

Her second job was at a print shop where she made $500 a month as a typesetter. But looking around, she saw she produced just as much work as the designers who made twice what she did. Afraid she was being taken advantage of, she asked for a raise and got it.

 

“I knew I was being gutsy, but I thought others were making $1,000, why shouldn’t I?” she said.

Business ventures

Her graphic design business, Jessies Graphics, operated for more than 10 years before she sold it to take five years off to be a stay-at-home mom and get her master’s degree in clinical psychology.

 

She then started a second design business, Metrotype, with a partner and successfully ran the business for 20 years. During that time, she also taught design for two years at the Academy of Art in San Francisco.

 

Other accomplishments included owning and operating a clothing design and manufacturing business, Scarlet Crane, and a creative arts teaching studio for adults, The Imagination Center. She earned her doctorate in religious studies and a certificate for professional coaching.

 

Upon moving to Sequim in 1999, she opened a private counseling practice, trained hospice volunteers and eventually began writing as a columnist for the Sequim Gazette.

Becoming a writer

While she enjoyed writing a column for the Gazette for seven years, Marcus felt an urge to do something different.

 

“In my life, when I have a creative urge I follow it,” she said.

 

So, at the age of 64, she changed her creative direction and attended a writing conference, where she resolved to begin writing fiction.

 

“It was a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to tap into stories that want to be told,” she said.

 

Soon, she started a once-a-month writing group that meets at her home. She helped a couple of locals self-publish books, using her experience self-publishing a book of 365 one-line inspirational thoughts.

 

And now, at age 66, she is starting two writing salons and beginning a new career chapter as a writing coach.

 

“Each story inspires us,” she said. “I hope my story can inspire somebody else.”

 

Marcus’ weekly writers group, which meets Wednesdays, is working with Rainshadow Coffee Bar, 147 W. Cedar St., to bring writers and readers together for a new Sequim venue called Fourth Friday Readings. It will premiere at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 24 at the coffee bar.

 

For information, e-mail rmarcus@olypen.com. For information on Marcus’ writing coach services, go to www.Ruthmarcus-writerscoach.com.

 

Reach Amanda Winters at awinters@sequimgazette.com.
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