- Books, Literature, and Writing
What Makes Me Think I Can Write?
This is a good question for me. I went to bed last night and lay there thinking and wondering "what makes me think that I can indeed write?" I have to confess that this was spurred on by a comment on one of my hubs, and like most things I worried it to death because as mentioned in another hub, I can be just a tad obsessive.
So lets look at this history of writing that I have. Actually, there is no history! I had reached my mid years - I don't want to say twilight years, because I am a little distance from that yet, but as I said I had reached my mid years with never ever writing "anything". In school I was never a grade "A" student. In fact I struggled to find my niche; never being any good at history, geography and/or science. And mathematics - well forget that! When I would look at the board at all the algebra equations, or geometry symbols that the teacher would put on there, it was a like a foreign language was going through my head. I was ashamed of this, but never spoke up, just plodding my way along and making things by the skin of my teeth. Eventually I found what I thought was my niche and went into a course that would give me what I needed to work in an office environment. I eventually made a pretty good career out of this being Executive Secretary to life insurance agents, and then eventually to the top dog Branch Manager, whom I will hasten to add that I eventually married.
It took me a few years, but what I began to realize was that I am a visual learner. You cannot tell me something and expect me to draw it in, get it, and remember it. This may be a slight exaggeration, but I am just trying to make a point here. The first time I traveled to Florida I got it that this was the Atlantic Ocean and the first time that I traveled to California I got it that this was the Pacific Ocean. And Oh My God what I learned when I eventually traveled to Europe. I had so many aha moments as things that I had read in school came back to me. I quite got to enjoy Geography very much!! : ) Science may still be another matter - and forget Mathematics. I do know my weak points after all and will not deviate from how I feel. My husband once said to me, he being an avid bridge player, "you should learn to play bridge". My reply: "Don't even go there".
The World of Genealogy Opens Me Up
About 10 years ago I started to get a huge interest in finding out who my ancestors were. This was really because I knew nothing about my father's family in Italy. Strangely enough it took me a while to open up that end of things, because he had been gone since 1967 when he passed away, and we had no connection with his sister's family in Toronto any longer, the end result of he and mom separating a few years before.
But I started getting some information on my mother's family - her mom and dad's who had come from italy, some of it coming from a family tree that one of my cousins had. I was off to a start. I started doing research. I will hasten to add too that just a few years before this my husband and I had finally come out of the dark ages and got a computer. Thus the world opened up in a very very huge way. He would do stock market stuff and play bridge on line with folks all over the world (leaving me out of it thank God) and I would research first my family and then eventually his.
So I plodded along for about a little over a year on this Genealogy stuff, eventually meeting a long lost cousin who led me to another fellow in the States who had created a website for the home town in Italy and a sister town in Pensylvannia- to discuss everything and anything about these two places that our ancestors had in common. Eventually he added another networking site that we all joined and this site gave each of us a space of our own to post photos and meet new people. Shortly after I joined he mentioned that there was a place to Blog.
Blog - another question mark. What the heck is that? I had never heard this before. Well maybe I had heard the word, but I had no idea what it was and what did I do with it? I kind of cast a sideways glance at it for a few weeks, entertaining myself by posting photos, making albumns and getting messages from other people on the site. Meanwhile, the owner and moderator of the site off and on would suggest I try it. So I ventured there one day and wrote my first little blog-story, and I was truly amazed when he came back on with a comment that he felt very much that I had a "knack" for this type of thing. He suggested that I keep going, and so I did. Little by little I added little things about my family. Then one day I decided to "blog" about my very first Italy trip that my aunt had taken my sister and I on. I did it in parts - as you do with a blog, and each one got a very nice comment from him and also from others on the site.
Then one day he said to me - you have drawn me in now, how about showing me some photos. It is great that you have painted such a nice picture of what you saw, but I'd like to see it too. Bingo!! And I was off - I was hooked so to speak on blogging!! This fellow had at one time been a writer for the Wahsington Star so I took everything he said seriously, and I believe he was the start of my "writing". Unfortunately he shut the site down because of some problems, but also because they were starting to charge fees and he didn't want to go there. But he wrote me first and told me to make sure that I had copied each and every blog from my space on his site over to files of my own. He didn't want me to lose any of them. Indeed I already had double copies so I was OK. He then opened a page on Facebook for our town in Italy, but it is not the same as the last space - so for a while my blogging and/or writing stopped.
What Have I Learned
As I have already said I believe that I have learned that I am "visual". I have to see things to be able to remember it. I have also learned that experiencing something is for me one of the best ways for me not only to remember, but to put down my thoughts about it. Through these last years my husband and I have gone on trips, and I have come home and written about our experiences - rather blogged about it.
And then a very huge thing happened in my life when I lost my husband. I was wallowing around in a sea of grief, when after one month of this I said to myself "you have blogged about relatives, why not do a nice blog about Craig". And that's exactly what I did. Then another morning I got up and decided to start writing letters to him to get my feelings and emotions out. I did this every day for months on end, "Dear Craigie"; then it became maybe every other day and then a couple of times a week.
One day someone on a spritual group suggested to me that I should write a book about all of the experiences that I'd had since Craig passed, telling me that he is still around. This could help other people, was the suggestion. Me, write a book?? Are you kidding? I thought about it off and on for about six months and then in March of this year I went in search of self-publishing companies, found one that looked good in Victoria, B.C. looked around for a bit on their site and then downloaded the Author's Guide, not really thinking that I would use it.
And then one night while I was sitting at the computer "writing" on my story the phone rang and it was a representative from the publishing company wanting to know if I had any questions. I told him that "no" at this point I had none. I also told him that as a matter of fact I was sitting at the computer right at that moment writing my story, but I hastened to add that I didn't know if I was going to publish it. My thought was that maybe I would just print it out and put it in my memory box for our grandkids to find some day, after I am gone. And I sincerely meant that. He suggested that if I got serious I should remember that the process from start to finish with them would take about six months. I thanked him and got off the phone, wondering!!
I carried on in the next days and weeks, and the more I wrote, the more excited I became. And then one day I decided "yes, I want to do this". The next hard part was parting with my money - : ). But here I am, and I have dared to wonder if I can write; and I have answered "why not"?