PLEASANTON -- For Sandra Harrison Kay, writing isn't a job. It's something she has always done just for the love of it, sometimes involuntarily.
Kay's prolific writing has earned her a number of local fans, including the City of Pleasanton, which last month named her the city's poet laureate.
"If it shows up (in my thoughts), then I write it down," said Kay, 47. "It's an instinct for me. No matter what form the story takes, it tells me. I don't tell it."
Kay, the mother of a 16-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son, has penned poetry for as long as she can remember. But it wasn't until she started blogging in 2006 that she found the medium that's best for her.
"The less rules and regulations I have to follow, the more it just flows out of me," she said, laughing. "They haven't been able to shut me up since."
Visitors to those sites will find Kay's musings in nearly every literary form: poems, short stories, essays, book and film reviews and observations about daily life. All are written in Kay's engaging style, with a tone that can range quickly from whimsical and breezy to dark and frank.
A former Hayward resident and graduate of San Lorenzo High, Kay said she has tried every style of writing except for a novel. "Maybe one day, huh?" she said.
She has self-published a collection of poems titled "Beautiful Fish." Kay handcrafted each of its 100 copies and sold every one. She also has had work published in anthology books such as "Livermore Wine Country Literary Harvest," and "4th Street Studio's Saturday Salon Literary Harvest."
Charlotte Severin, a Pleasanton visual artist and longtime art teacher, nominated Kay for the poet laureate position. She said Kay's warm personality, along with her strong writing, makes her a great fit for the job.
"It entails bringing art to the public, and to the schools, showing children the value of being creative with your thoughts," she said. "And Sandra's blog is hilarious. She has a wonderful sense of humor."
Kay said her first goal is to unite the city's disparate groups of poets and writers. She plans to introduce herself to those organizations and create a database of authors and artists.
She then envisions inviting the community to events offering a variety of art forms -- music, dance, poetry and other spoken word, using Pleasanton's Firehouse Arts Center as a home base. The different arts groups "are pretty splintered in that they all meet around town on various nights, instead of having one big community, which is what I tend to love," Kay said.
She added: "I want to find out all I can about Pleasanton's poets. Where are they? What are they doing? And how can we go shake up the world?"
Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.