Circa ’60, is when I began to look inward to create a description of myself; what I observed, who I might be or was at that time, and where I might go once I grew up.
I was eight years young, going on one and twenty years of old.
I thought I was ten but looking back, we were visiting for my grandfather’s funeral, I realized I had not yet become nine, which means I was only eight years old. Amazing. I could have sworn I was ten already. But what did it matter: I was soul-old.
It was then that I began to write. First, I wrote scripts of tv movies I watched. I would watch the movie and watch it again, as many times as it took for me to memorize the entire dialogue and scenes.
The movie had to be one I really liked and eventually I would memorize the entire thing, then perform it before my relatives. During this time I wrote instinctively.
“He walks over to the machine laughing hysterically: ‘It’s alive! Alive!’ He then collapses. The monster raises itself from the table. His assistant is awe-stricken. The doctor continues to laugh hysterically and finally collapses fully onto the ground.”
Then, I wrote lyrics and songs, and poetry. I listened and memorized so many songs that I liked. For poetry, I read Frost, Tennyson, Keats, Arnold, and many other poets. I began mimicking some artist/songwriters such as Joni Mitchell, Paul Williams, Paul McCartney, Lenny Welch, Carmen MacRae, Nancy Wilson and others. Finally, I tried my hand at writing short stories after reading a few from Mary McCarthy, Flannery O’Conner, Raymond Carter, James Baldwin, Shirley Jackson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and on and on.
I started reading long narratives, too, like D.H. Lawrence, Harper Lee, Kurt Vonnegut, Joan Didion, Truman Capote, and others.
I wrote about things that happened to me from day to day–like memoir or journal. I stretched my stories into novellas. Finally I wrote long prose. The funny thing was, I never showed anyone what I wrote, I tried to show the people who never validated me in the first place: my family. So naturally I thought nothing of my own writing pretty much as they did.
It wasn’t unusual that I kept hidden anything I wrote until I was about twenty-five, divorced, and wanting to be a singer. The first attempt at self-exposure was when I began karaoke and auditioning my songs for shows. I joined a group of people who promoted (I thought) our lyrics and songs, comedic routines, or whatever we had that we wanted to perform. Curiously, two of my songs, though registered with this organization (I still have the receipt), were very similar to two other songs by famous singers. Honestly, I think they took mine, gleaned from them a bit, then created their own and hitting the number one Bulletin Chart listing best songs.
AS that did not go too well, and realizing there were probably more people wanting to be in Hollywood than crabs in the ocean, more than ants on an anthill, I decided to give it up, tend to my children, and get married again. That was a mistake.
Later, I got married again after my SECOND divorce, and that too might have been a mistake. However, the thing good about that was I had one more child–a son–my gift and final child. I also went to college at a very late age, grew up emotionally (well, somewhat) and finally was able to aspire to a better me. No one told me that would be a long time a’coming.
Now that I am in the winter of my life I am finally spouting off much fodder and publicly!
Albeit, I am without much shuffle and interest in the outside world–but I am fine with the little bit of writing I’ve done, yes I hope someone might say to me that it is worth something, but if not I will go quietly and comfortably to my grave without much regret.
At least, and throughout this journey, I managed to acquire a real estate broker’s license to gain an occasional check now and then. Don’t ever let anyone tell you real estate is the golden egg. It can be, but mostly real estate has very few success stories except for psychotic liars, stealers, backbiters and backstabbers. But it’s okay anyway; it was fun and my reward was seeing happy faces when they moved in or out of their home.
Looking back I am still pretty proud of my life. I am a mother of three fine human beings. To boot, I am a grandmother of four wonderful young people, and I remained married to the man who distracted me from my life’s tough tow for at least thirty-five years now. Why? Because, in the famous words by the actress, Debra Winger–from the movie, Terms of Endearment– I muse, as she did, that my husband is “so cute,” and that’s why I stayed (ahem).
I hope you get something from my writing and take it with you to a better tomorrow.
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