Tuesday, November 3, 2020

IWSG: Writing Therapy


It's time for another edition of the  Insecure Writer's Support GroupBe sure to visit Alex J. Cavanaugh  and the rest of the talented bloggers who are always willing to lend a helping hand.

November Optional Question: Albert Camus once said, "The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself." Flannery O'Connor said, "I write to discover what I know." Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

I finally gathered up the courage to start writing in 2011 when our boys were off at college and law school. What began as a blog to share humorous stories about my life as an empty nester, became a scrapbook of wonderful family memories, and opened doors to becoming a journalist.

Soon the focus of the empty nest changed when my beautiful rebellious mom reluctantly moved into an assisted living facility. Her home of 46 years had multi-levels, so it was too difficult for her to navigate the stairs in a walker. Though we toured several pretty places, my young, hip septuagenarian mom had the same complaint, "There are too many old people here." 

Mom became the star of so many of my stories that she told me, " You're lucky I'm your mother; otherwise, I'd sue you for stealing all my best lines."

Writing about my mom was also therapeutic for me. Instead of pulling my hair out from her many falls and hospitalizations which later led to her inevitable move into a nursing home, we managed to always find the humor in every situation. And she took great joy in reading the comments from her many dedicated fans. I couldn't possibly have asked for a better muse, and nearly two years later, I still miss my mom dearly.

In 2015, I began writing for a daily local news website which featured a weekend print edition. I always wanted to write professionally, and believe the experience I gained through blogging and the IWSG, led to helping me achieve this goal. 

Though I learned a great deal about local schools and city news, I especially enjoyed writing human interest stories. Whether interviewing individuals  from 12 to 100, I tried to treat each story as a personal gift. 

One of my favorite interviews was a darling couple about to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary. When asked the secret of a successful marriage, the charming husband replied in two words, "Yes, dear." 

His wife had a wonderful sense of humor too, and they couldn't have been more appreciative. When I dropped off extra print copies of their newspaper article, she told me about all the positive feedback they received from the beauty shop, grocery store and even the gas station.

 Because they were "instant celebrities," they were now being approached by neighbors who never spoke to them before. She even joked about moving, as the women were getting a little too friendly with her 97-year-old husband. 

Then she took me aside and expressed how much my interview meant to them, since most of their family lived out of state, and many of their friends had passed away. Their humorous love story made her feel young again. I couldn't help but tear up, as we hugged and said our goodbyes.

Some of my other news stories were about Holocaust survivors, shelters for  abused women and children, and many health issues from preventing injuries to overcoming debilitating illnesses. I'll always be grateful to my encouraging editor who patiently guided me along the way.

My goal was to write news stories that were both informative and entertaining when possible. Though my blog stories have often missed the mark on both counts, I hope to at least provide a distraction during these turbulent times.