Music, Writing and Textiles

Paula Simone White in strippy scarf


My family was into textile arts: knitting, quilting, crochet, and sewing clothes.  I have also taken a weaving class. The stories my family shared while they were creating textiles were invaluable.

I have other fond memories about my childhood that must be noted. I listened to the radio and dreamed of becoming a musician. My father loved photography and had the most expensive equipment on the market by Nikon. I took professional photography classes in college before there were digital cameras. I have developed my own pictures in a dark room.

Books were a source of comfort, solace and joy during my childhood as well. I read a lot of books. I also wrote a lot. I told myself when all this negative stuff was happening that I would get out and dedicate myself full time to my artistry.

As an ex-Vietnam veteran, my father was fascinating to me. But what was most fascinating about him was the fact that my dad felt I had a business sense when I was growing up. He bought books about business for me to read. He would also take me to local bookstores and say, “Whatever you want, put it on the counter.” Whatever I picked, he bought for me. He seemed to see and sense something within me as far as business is concerned that I could not see because I decided to become a nurse when I became an adult.

My parents and I moved to Glenwood from Chicago when I was 12 years old. I lived down the street from artist Annie Lee’s store.

Years later, I would meet with an editor from Simon and Schuster named Zhena Muzyka who said, “You can do a better job changing the world with business than being in politics.” I found this to be a profound statement. I had spent my entire life trying to change my world and everything within it by becoming a nurse and an artist, not necessarily a businesswoman. I remembered that Annie Lee changed the world I lived in by being a teacher, an artist and a businesswoman. “Was the same thing possible for me?” I wondered. All of these experiences would become significant later on when I decided I wanted to publish my own books.