By Sel Yakley


I write because I find it easier than talking.  I can organize my thoughts and get to the point quickly.

I write because I can do it anytime, anywhere in this digital age.

I write because it is relaxing and makes me feel creative.

I write because it is in my DNA:  My great great grand uncle was a literary giant in the Ottoman empire during the 1850s and 1860s; my mother was a reporter in the 1920s, in the early years of the Turkish Republic. My uncle authored best-selling novels, again in Turkey.  AND….my daughter is a freelance writer/reporter in Istanbul (even though she was born and reared in Illinois).

English is my second language. I have lived in the US since the 1960s. I make an effort to correspond with my Turkish friends and relatives in my native tongue (thanks for the availability of various alphabets and the spell check on our electronic devices). I wrote poems when I was a little girl in Turkey, as did so many of us. I wrote letters to my parents and friends who lived far away, before phone calls became cheap or free.

I write because I was trained to write.  I earned my bachelor’s degree from Arizona State and my master’s degree from Northwestern in journalism and worked at United Press International and the Chicago Tribune.

My writing blossomed when I won several national awards while at the Tribune, which led me to accept invitations to give lectures. As my confidence grew I latched onto many opportunities.

Once my husband (who also was a writer) became the State’s Attorney of LaSalle County, based in Ottawa Illinois, I re-invented myself and started teaching journalism and advertising at a community college; opened up a public relations agency; became the first female president of the YMCA; first female chairman of the United Way; first public relations director of the Community Hospital of Ottawa; and was honored by Jaycees as one of top 10 Outstanding Young Persons in Illinois in 1979.

My biggest writing accomplishment happened when my memoir: Never Regret the Pain: Loving and Losing a Biipolar Spouse was published in 2006, and I received the Mate Palmer Award from Illinois Women Press Association the next year.  Writing this book was cathartic. The second edition has letters from dozens of readers who say the book saved their lives. As a result, I got involved in helping those suffering with mental illness volunteering with DBSA, NAMI and other mental health organizations.



I write whenever I can, five, six hours a day—I am on the boards of several organizations and need to keep in touch with members and friends.



It has given me a full life.  It has made me a multi-dimensional person. It has helped me raise three children (all adults now) who speak several languages and are accomplished communicators.