Longtime Magoffin County educator Diana Lykins Howard can cross one more thing off her bucket list as her newly published book is now available for sale.
Howard taught in Magoffin County schools for 33 years and four more years as an adjunct professor at Big Sandy Community and Technical College, focusing on teaching others reading and writing skills, while privately tucking away writings of her own.
“I write from inspiration,” Howard explained. “Growing up, Dad was my biggest influence, and a lot of my writings were about family. I wrote poetry when I first went to college, throughout my teaching career, and when I retired and worked at Big Sandy. This is a culmination of my writings through my years of teaching.”
While she had always wanted to write a book, Howard said last year she finally buckled down and started going through her works, sorting by themes and timeline, in order to tell the story of her life.
“All my life I wanted to write a book, but I just couldn’t ever find the time, but last year the title came as an inspiration from the Holy Spirit. It came into my mind and into focus, so I started putting together my works.”
The year-long process was tedious, but Howard said she is quite proud of her final work, titled “Reflection in Poetry and Prose.”
“I enjoyed teaching and the many students that crossed my path and enriched my life,” Howard said. “I had good students and I enjoyed having every one of them. I had an excellent career and all of that is reflected in the book.”
Howard explained that more than the book being a “bucket list” task, she saw this book as a part of her legacy.
“You get to a certain point in life where you start considering what you’re going to leave behind and I wanted to leave this for my family,” Howard said. “These are my words from all points of life when I was inspired to write, and they’ll have that even when I’m gone.”
As far as the advice she has for young writers, Howard said, “Follow your dream. It can become reality with hard work and dedication.”
Howard taught reading for three years at Millard Hensley and 30 years at the high school, teaching reading and English I, 2, 3 and AP. She retired from Magoffin County Schools in 2007, then taught developmental reading at Big Sandy Community and Technical College from 2009 to 2013. Howard now belongs to the Christians Care group, the local Women’s Club, and a prayer group in Johnson County.
The cover of her book was illustrated by Saralee Howard and the forward was written by Vera Stamper, both Magoffin County educators.
“Reflection in Poetry and Prose” is available for purchase from Amazon (link below) or from Howard.
“I dedicated this book to my family, friends, students and colleagues whose influence integrally impacted the pages and to all those who have crossed my path and enriched my life,” Howard said. “This is my gift of words to them.”
The forward reads:
“This short volume of poetry portrays the life and poetry of a teacher in a small town in eastern Kentucky. She went from a small girl in a rural poverty area to a teacher in the local high school and writing poetry. Each section introduces her poetry and prose. It is her reflection as she looks back at her life and the legacy she is leaving for former students and family.
“She has risen from being a small student in a one room school to an accomplished teacher and writer. Her inner drive and fierce determination instilled in her by her father has been her driving force for success. She is now retired and has settled into a comfortable pattern of life.”