This is a re-posting of an entry I wrote in 2013 which I posted here in November 2014.
I’ve been writing nearly all my life so this story goes way back. I was at a friend’s house and we were listening to his stereo. He had a stereo with speakers to the ceiling and just to date us, this was at the advent of FM radio. He also had a lock on the door of his room; I wasn’t even allowed to close the door to my room. I don’t remember the exact line anymore, but the start of a story, first line, popped into my head and in the midst of what we were doing, I told my friend I had to go home. I put my coat on and all the way home spoke that line like a mantra until I could safely store it on paper. I wrote it longhand first and then I typed it on my manual Underwood 5.
If I remember correctly, that line morphed into the idea for a series of stories I was going to name “The Dapper Duo”; of course my friend and I were the dapper duo. The stories never made it into existence, but that night I became a writer. I was fifteen and the idea of writing had never occurred to me until that moment. How or why the line popped into my head I don’t know nor did it matter then or still. I began writing, and no matter what else I’ve done in my life, I have always written. My friend became a recording engineer.
I believed back then that one didn’t become a writer–one was born a writer. I believed I was born a writer and at seventeen when I heard a college orientation presentation by Dr. Robert Day at Queens College, any inkling of ever doing anything but major in English and write disappeared.
After one semester at Queens College, I set off for OSU where I was given a scholarship and work/study stipend to attend the Honors Program in English. (I would meet up with Robert Day again some ten years later when I went to Queens College for my MA in English.) OSU’s was an intensive honors program that allowed students to do nearly two-thirds of their credits in their major.
Those years I wrote poetry; I wrote poetry until Sanny, a Comp. Lit. teacher and friend, told me my poetry was s–t and I should try fiction. Well that didn’t seem so bad. At least he didn’t tell me to quit writing.
The rest of my life story is a blah, blah, blah but for the fact that all along I wrote. For the early part of my writing career I believed that publishing didn’t mean anything. I was an artist and only the writing mattered, writing and the love of writing. My talent, I thought, was God-given and since it was divine intervention that brought me to it, that’s what I was.
About 1989 my Underwood was replaced by my first computer. Okay. For laughs, it was a Packard Bell, cost $2000.00 and the specs: 64K RAM and a whopping 2 mb, yes that is the correct first letter, hard drive. You needed to know DOS then and a whole lot of other stuff. You didn’t just sit down in front of a computer and go to work on it.
The most significant new thing about having a computer was that I had to learn to compose on it. From roughly 1966-1989 I wrote longhand and then typed the manuscript. Cut and paste back then was actually cut and paste. Along with a pen, I worked with rubber cement, a ruler (because I can’t cut straight with scissors) and scotch tape. Well thank you Lord for those newfangled devices: the PC. Then scanners made some things a lot easier.
This blog, I hope, will be about writing. I really don’t want to write much about myself or my life or the other things I do. I would like for anyone and everyone who views this to feel free about sharing comments, tips, ideas, expertise, feelings–you get the idea–about writing. Share some writing if you will, and I will put some up too as this moves along. Share some cool sites, or cool books you know. I would like this blog to be what it is named, Writer’s Play.
So let’s play and have some fun with words.
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Make sure to hug your kids today and make sure you tell them you love them and like them too.
Left turn. I should have turned right. Or maybe I shouldn’t have turned at all. In any case, the turns I made put me on vacation. Yes. Summer vacation.
Well, the summer has come and gone and as far as summers go, it’s been nothing more than so-so. Since being retired, almost every day is like what the summer vacation from school used to be like, and not too long ago, actually we were out buying a new bed, the salesman asked me if every day in retirement felt like Saturday. I told him that in a way that was kind of true, but really that’s not the case since most days during the school year I work at my desk while my child is in school. I’m not inclined to get a job and I’m thankful I don’t have to for financial reasons. My job, at least for now, is here at my desk and I’m quite content with that. Still in all, my child is a 24/7 child and so the whole summer was time with her. We did day trips and walked the Chihuahua, Nikki, in the park almost every day we were home. When the days with my child were done, I wasn’t too inclined to come to my desk since admittedly I work best creatively in the mornings.
And so it goes.
I did do some work and over the next weeks I’ll be publishing the posts I’ve written but not posted. Some of them deal with things going on out there and might be a little outdated, so I’m going to put a written-on date on them. As far as the things out there go, what I’ve written becomes part of the continuum and I wish the state of the union were a little more upbeat than what it is, but it is what it is. I know there are those who would say that all is well and the state of the union is fine. But when a policeman pumping gas into his cruiser is assassinated for no reason other than the politics that have been established by the president, all is not fine. When the schools there are put on lockdown and then closed the next day, all is not fine. When a Kentucky clerk is jailed for following her religious beliefs and a cake maker is fined 145,000 dollars for the same thing, all is not fine.
Yes, with me all is fine. My family and I are healthy and I am able to be retired without having to go to work. Going to work as an option rather than as a necessity is a blessing in and of itself, and overall I am truly blessed. Nevertheless, I feel I would be remiss if somehow, some way, I did not address the absolute absurdity of the times.
So I come back to a question that is a recurring question in my thoughts. My father said the same things about the craziness of the times as he perceived them in his sixties. I can’t say I actually struggle with the question, but it is a wondering. Are the times really as crazy as they feel to me or is it a perception that comes to people as they reach a certain age and perhaps a certain stage in their lives?
As my friend Richie says, he who dies owing the most wins.
September 4, 2015