Today I’m guest posting at Belinda Nicoll’s blog, My Rite of Passage, where Belinda has been sharing what change means. Each Friday someone has told a personal story on change, rite of passage as it were, and what it meant in their lives. Here’s where change started for me:
When I married my second husband in 1981, I envisioned living out our lives in Tennessee. It was MY home state, where I was born and raised. Other than two years living outside Nashville while in college, I’d never thought of living elsewhere.
I had been well-versed by my mother in the belief that one never “left home” — your immediate family implied here. Her temperamental nature had also been engrained in mine. It was understood that she was the matriarch and hers was the last word.
Fast forward to 1983. A friend of my husband’s called from Oregon and offered him a lucrative opportunity in Portland. We had struggled financially in the intervening two years, and the offer would improve our circumstances. The choice to make a physical move was easy for the two of us. However, there were contingencies to be faced.
I have added a page entitled “Life Writing Resources” under the tab “Resources.” Here you will find a list of books and web sites containing abundant advice and information about memoir and life story writing. These are materials and sites I have found helpful in my writing journey.
Please don’t hesitate to ask questions or let me know if there’s an error. After all, we’re all in this together.
In my last two posts, I have answered this question by explaining in the first post my love of words and using them to construct sentences and paragraphs, together with the impact my father’s occupation had on my life. In the second post on writing, I shared that I write because I have to write. Blunt statement, and I confessed that. I also pointed out that, for me, a day without writing is a day without joy. Those statements are both true, and now I want to expand on the necessity of my writing.
As I said in my last post, I have a story to tell and I need to write it. Because it is my story. Mine to tell.
Will it be the truth for everyone who knows me or is family? Likely not. I’ll try to decide the facts as best I can from those who may know them, but it doesn’t mean that we’ll each one agree. Still it’s my story.
Because it is my story, the onus is on me to tell it if I want it told. No one else is going to write my story, unless I hire a ghost writer, and I’m not inclined to go that direction. So, it’s up to me to write it down.
Whether it is ever published or not, or shared with family, or perhaps friends, is not important to me now. Getting it down as a record is — I want my children and grandchildren to have the benefit of my story as the threads of our family weave together to create our family story.
I have so many questions about my father’s life. An orphan at age four, he had few and vague memories of his life. As we, his children, grew older, questions weren’t easily answered by him of his later years. Talking wasn’t something he enjoyed. His pursuits were more cerebral in nature, and so I didn’t press. Now I wish I had. I don’t want to leave my children or grandchildren with unanswered questions.
I have given you the reasons behind my attempts at chronicling the facts of my life. And I have answered the question, “why do you write?”
If you have a story to tell, I urge you to consider starting a journal to capture your memories, thoughts and facts so that at some point they will be available to younger members of your family. Add photographs as appropriate to your journal. And if the bug bites, start writing!
My responses to this question are many and varied. In this post, I’ll touch on just a couple in addition to what I shared earlier in Part 1.
As blunt as it may sound, I write because I have to write. A day without writing is a day void of joy and pleasure. I never realized this until after retirement, at which time I thought, “I never want to sit in front of a computer again!”
How wrong I was in making that statement. The sitting in front of a computer that I’d been doing for decades was to type pleadings in a case for an attorney, or to draft up legal documents. It wasn’t writing for the pure joy of it.
Now, I write because I want to, I enjoy it, and yes, I have to write. And now you’re next question likely is why do “I have to write.”
And the answer to that is that I have a story (perhaps more than one) that either needs or deserves telling. No one can tell that story but me because it is personal to my life. Others created through my imagination will also be mine to tell.
If I don’t write, will they ever be told? Likely not. So, I write. I write something every day, either on my work in progress, a short essay or story for a competition or in answer to a call for submission, or for one of my blogs.
Do you have a story or perhaps stories to tell? Are you writing them down? It doesn’t mean that you’re striving for publication, but perhaps just leaving stories for your children and grandchildren to enjoy in the future and pass along to others in the family.
Think about it . . . try it . . . you too may find joy in writing.