Monday, September 10, 2012

My writing life.

I come from  modest upbringings, few things acquired, even fewer wished for. My dreams were finite and immediate: finish homework, do your chores, and if there is time and daylight you can read a library book until Father complains your eyes are being destroyed.

What worlds I met in books, they were all make-believe, imaginary, voluble, had nothing to do with real life. I needed to finish homework with accuracy, pass tests with high marks, impress teachers with my tenacity and good manners, and develop my  brain power.  My parents lived every moment with grace and dignity, doing their best every minute of every day.  Their values were the same as their parents', the same they wished for each of their three children.

I wrote to achieve  concrete purposes. I wrote to explain, to illustrate, to collect and present information to superiors, to arrange information for the classes I was teaching. I wrote not to escape or create alternate worlds, but to explain the present world; to understand the nuances of issues and conflicts.

Occasionally, I wrote journals, slowly developing my own voice and style.

When I found myself newly retired, with more time on my hands than I knew what to do, I began sharing some personal narratives. When a fellow writer shared her blog and showed me how to start one, I was hooked. (Thank you Martha!)

I fell into my groove.

I began blogging with sixtyfivewhatnow, a title my husband came up with, just five years ago, when I turned sixty five and was flabbergasted at how difficult it had been adjusting to retirement. I  followed that with my official Memoir blog, then an Italian language for beginners blog and a beginning cooking blog  to help my grandchild learn a few things about me.  I added a creative fiction blog to share short stories and poetry I had been producing. Lately, my last blog, is another memoir, this one focused on the sudden loss of my youngest son last July.  

All these blogs pull at my heartstrings in different ways. They are all parts of who I am at this time in my life.

Blogging has been  a way for my adult children and I to stay close. Now and then, as we speak on the phone, they mention something I said in my blogs, a way for us to communicate on many issues. Blogging has also been a way for me to express my deepest fears and my strongest hopes. Blogging has kept me sane and alive.

How about you, what prompted you to start writing?


L. D. Burgus said...

I had a need to write when I started blogging. I would write on and on endless words working through some troubles in life. I like to write and enjoy expressing myself through words but the lack of time has slowed that to a small paragraph or less. I really enjoy the writers who blog as they do such a professional job with each having their own style. I really have enjoyed making all of the new friends fro all around the world.

joeh said...

I always wanted to write, but was held back by fear. Fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of upsetting someone,fear of dissapointing someone. When I retired I suddenly didn't care if anyone liked what I wrote or if I dissapointed anyone...I decided I was too old to fear. So I wrote a book about all my opinions, some stories and just random thoughts. I enjoyed that endevor even though no one read it. THen I stumbled over blogging and I write every day (almost). I am self publishing my second book soon that no one will read, but my writing will outlive me. My grandchildren will know me through my writing. And I enjoy it and I enjoy the blogging community.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I just wanted to write about what I was doing in France for my family and friends, and put photos up for Nigel to see while he was stuck in the UK working. While we talked each night on Skype, we could discuss the photos and the work I had been doing on the house. Suddenly a lot more people became interested in Life in the Charante and the whole thing ballooned from there. I now have many more virtual friends that read my blog then than close friends!!!
Now of course I have started Life Before the Charente as well which was really just for myself, but I am enjoying the fact that others are reading it and finding it interesting as well.

Joani said...

I started looking at other blogs and I would say the photography is what got me hooked originally. I thought...I could take those kinds of photos in my on backyard. I am not a very good communicator and have always worked in the background. Blogging has let me share what I see in the great Arizona desert. And, I don't have to repeat myself as I can refer them to my blog and it is all there. Thanks for sharing. Hugs.

yaya said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on blogging. I love reading and learning from you. That's the part of blogging that surprised me..the wonderful, smart, creative, and fun people that I have "met" through blogging. I started a blog at the request of my Daughter-in-law as a way to swap pics, and day to day activities of our family. She has turned to facebook more than blogging and I turned away from facebook to only blogging! I don't write super deep or fabulous thoughts as many do, but my pics and stories of my daily life doings will help my kids and their kids get to know me better..perhaps more so after I die I guess! I have the blog put into book form at the end of each year and I've enjoyed reading and seeing the photos in this way. Perhaps, like you, I may go on to do more blogs that involve some things I've written and recipes that I want to share. But for now, I can only manage one until one day when I'm retired. Have a great week Rosaria!

The Odd Essay said...

I used to write what I called my "long letters" - e-mailed these to my family and closest friends several times a year. I had to limit how many photos I could include as not everyone had highspeed internet. With some encouragement from a couple of blogging friends, I started my own blog. I have stopped writing the "long letters" and have several times let those 30 or so family and friends know what my blog address is. But.. very few of those folks ever respond to my blog. I think some might read it... but ??? I don't know if they think my blog isn't personal enough or what, and I do try to protect my family and friends privacy. So now I don't know much what goes on in their lives. However, I have found a whole new circle of folks with common interests and ideas. I continue to write my blog as I started it... from my own point of view and as personal journal... but am kind of disappointed that I seldom get feedback from my "old" friends. But I love my new blogging friends and will continue to write my own blog and read as many others that I can.

Brian Miller said...

someone told me i should start i did....after they twisted my arm a is therapy for me and creative expression and something i hope one day my boys can look back on....and maybe glean a thing or two...

Kerry said...

I'm in awe of you Rosaria. What a diversity of writing you have taken on.

I am so sorry about the loss of your son. Writing about him must be a good thing.

I blogged my daughter's letters when she went into the Peace Corps in Niger, Africa, because it was the only way to share what was happening with her. When her 2 years were up someone urged me to try my own voice & use my own photos...that's when I started Ed & Reub.

MerCyn said...

I discovered the world of blogs when I investigated them for the company I worked for, the goal being a possible business marketing tool. Blogs intrigued me, and soon after, when I retired, decided to chronicle my new life. I also wanted to start a second career as a business/finance writer, and needed credentials. Blogging was a first step in that direction.

the walking man said...

Rosaria you have asked me the simplest and most difficult question, beyond my spirituality, that could be asked of me.

First I started because it seemed a way to escape from all of the turmoil I had been going through as a child. My grandmother had read poetry to me when I was 3-5 years old. I didn't understand it but she had been an English teacher at one time and being born in 1887 to an Irish catholic farm family of 13 kids, education was prized, even for the girls.

I just remember loving her voice and the way she hit the Iambic meter. In short she knew how to read poetry. That put the bug in my ear but no, I was no 5 year old poetic prodigy.

When I was 9-10 I became the target, 1 horrid teacher taught the class I grew up with since first grade that I was ok to be teased and shunned and that grew to being the one who got beat almost every day by either an old school nun or classmates or both. Being the short fat kid will do that for you especially when a teacher and one parent thought "hell it will make a man out of him"

I took to paper and pen when I was 13/14. Today I am 58. At the time I still was the fat kid and although growing I still could not defend myself against high school seniors and two or three so I let them do what they would.

I wrote, I never wrote that teen angst crap about love and death and hate but about whatever flowed from the pen, social issues,mom was a very involved social worker.

I wish I had those journals still but when I left for boot camp my father was sure I was a man and would never go back to poetry or story telling again, he burned them.

I returned and thought I would take them aboard my ship with me because like everyone else I used to go back and edit and see where I was and where I could go. By then I was twice as big as my father and four times as mean.

I said nothing to him about what he had done but passed maybe 100 words with him between then and the day he died.

I never stopped writing or telling stories though, I simply saw no value in keeping any of it either. I'd throw it over the side for Poseidon or later when I was on the road I'd leave it under a cairn of rocks or once or twice someone traded me a meal for what I had been scribbling on a napkin.

But I still never kept any of it and never called myself a poet, I was a sailor, a road dog, a husband, a father,a divorced man, a drunk, a Master Auto Mechanic, and everything but a poet, even though I had been writing for all of those years by then. I still never kept anything, no journals, always single bits of paper to hit the trash can with.

One day a person who like you, who got you started on blogging, saw me writing and then throwing away what I wrote. She happened to be the creative writing instructor at the CC I was attending after I broke my back. She retrieved it and read it, told me to submit to to White Pelican Journal.

I declined but without me knowing it she submitted it, hell maybe even threw her two cents in a note to the editor who was her friend (I dunno) but it was accepted. Then the threat of a severe mauling if I ever threw another piece away. Shoot she mourned over the first thirty years of writing far more than I ever did or will.

So now to answer the question I told you what prompted me to start now what keeps me going? It ain't to build up an archive I have well over a million words of prose and poetry SAVED. I write simply because I can. I was born with eyes wide open, I was learned to notice nuance, my poetry for the most part is primitive, but it is my own voice. It is how I communicate with a world, that right now anyway, I want to be isolated from.

I write because there are too many voiceless people and it is my duty as my mothers son to give them voice.

the walking man said...

I have begun to edit now as well for a publishing company the only reason was I was given complete creative control. and I devised a way where the experienced play on the same playing field as the inexperienced.

They promised me they will fix the page layout and get it back to the way I had it when I turned it over to them.

But I am inviting all of your readers and you as well, Rosaria, to submit. The guidelines are right now at about page 45.

I have enough publishing credits over the past 10 or 12 years that i am satisfied i can calmly and honestly call myself a poet now. The submitting and arguing with editors got boring so I took this on.

So here is something new for you to consider on your writing trek, submitting for publication.

erin said...

this is great backstory, rosaria. i get to learn more about you here. and if i do the math right...i can't believe it.

why do i write? it's always been a part of me, writing poetry and short stories as a child and then as a young adult. i left it for a time in my marriage, as i left myself. i found that as i returned to writing, i was returning to myself and leaving my marriage. it has been the basis of my journey, for whatever it's worth. perhaps one day it will become something else. i'm not sure what i am or am not capable of, but i find instruction through writing, a way of being.


Rob-bear said...

I guess I've always been a dreamer, thinker, enquirer.

I wrote for a living for much of my life. When I retired, and didn't have a lot to do, I turned to my old "habit" of writing. I'm not a great writer of blogs, mostly because I find I'm quite tired, but I do get some of my thoughts on paper (well, OK, on screen).

That said, I'm trying new things. Writing in French (not my first language). Writing poetry (really new to me). All a learning experience.

Thanks for sharing your story, Rosaria.

becky said...

I have a love-hate relationship with writing. I like doing it when I have something to write about but, generally, I have no use for it.
I became a writer out of necessity when I took a job as a crafts editor for Better Homes & Gardens in 1976. My job was to write instructions that accompanied the crafts pictured on the pages of books and magazines...and they had to be correct! How to make this, how to make that. Later, as I moved into interior design, words were necessary to explain to the reader what was going on in the rooms I'd created and what benefits were to be gained if the reader chose to adopt the ideas to her/his home. The same went for gardening stories I created and wrote.
From magazine writing, I learned to use words economically because the writing needed to fit the small spaces allotted by the graphic designer.
Later, I tried writing personal memoirs which opened things up a bit...blogging allows me a little magazine of my own...but I always still have the voice of the copy chief echoing in my head...

Mona said...

your post made me think!! I started blogging because I believed I had something to say and something worth sharing with others...I am afraid that has become lost as I struggle to blog lately.....I know I am good at homemaking and wanted to help other people that might not find it so easy to make a good home..and I write about inspiration I find in nature...oh, my....I hope my blogging self wakes up soon.....I enjoyed your post..

Rian said...

I have always written, but don't ask me why. It's just something I do. I wrote in a notebook as a child, journals later, stories and essays as an adult. But I never shared my writing with others... until online journaling and blogging came about. I guess I do it because it bring me joy.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

I have written my whole life -- starting at the age of six when I got bored with Dick and Jane and started writing my own stories in notebooks my Father gave me -- mostly stories about happy orphans and their great adventures. I started writing professionally when I was in college -- a journalism major -- and have written for most of the national women's magazines as well as some general ones like Readers Digest as well as 13 books. Sometimes when your income depends on your writing, the joy and spontaneity can go out of it to a certain extent.

So after I retired from everything but writing -- closed my private psychotherapy practice in L.A. and moved to Arizona -- I started thinking about blogging. Part of my reason for blogging was that my agent said it would be part of a good platform to promote my writing and some new book projects.

But my biggest reason for blogging was to find my voice again and to rediscover the joy of writing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. It has been great to break out of the formula that defined so much of my work over the years and just be myself.
I've found new confidence in my own voice and tremendous joy in discovering so many talented writer/bloggers like you! I'm so glad you're blogging, Rosaria, and am so impressed with the expansiveness of your efforts!

Journeyin' Lady... said...

I started doing a longhand daily journal 18 years ago when we embarked on our full time RVing lifestyle. (Inspired by my aunt who kept a diary her entire life) I had a laptop but E mail wasn't available during our first years on the road. Then came E mail, so I started writing regular updates about our travels and distributing them to friends and family. So, when blogging came along I was happy to find another method of sharing my journey. I particularly enjoy writing but also sharing my photos.
P.S. I think I will write my own Blog on this subject! Thanks Rosario!

mel u said...

Thanks so much, at 65 I think I am among the oldest book bloggers. I really liked your post

She Writes said...

The adoption of my daughter--and then I realized I had to write. I thought of my own mother--often. She began to emerge from my memory and I realized there was too much I've never mentioned. A new blog began. My first blog was a record of joy and anticipation--answered in Jane.

Vera said...

I am a writer too, self published though.

Why did I start a blog? To try and stop my family back in the UK from worrying about me when we came to France. Now the blog has become my journal. It also keeps me writing when I am in between books. I also have made some lovely friends. Whooppee for blogging!!!

Cindy said...

We are home now from our 4,000 mile journey on which I had the good fortune to meet and lunch with you. During the 35 days, I did one blog post for each day. A few tired evenings,it felt arduous - but most often it was pure fun as I watched the words fall into place and thoughts evolve. I am now a believer in the whole process of writing and sharing. Your blog will be fun to follow. Thank you for your encouragement on my journey.