I had a personal note from nephew, Andrew, this morning thanking me for my ancient memories of his grandfather.
The blog series that began a week ago can be traced back to a light that went on shortly before January 14, 2007 when Harry Levenson, were he alive, would have had his 100th birthday. Pop’s youngest grandchildren and oldest great grandchildren only knew him as an old man.
Motivated to write down anecdotes of my parents and their time, I felt compelled to step up my writing skills. And my nephew’s note is the payoff for stumbling my way from noodling writer to serious hobbyist and lately, apprenticing to She Who Must Be Served, the Writing Sorceress herself.
In the Fall of ’07, still in the beginning stage of story writing, I had yet to write a single story that I judged to have three basic elements: a satisfactory beginning, middle, and end.
It occurred to me that I had memories that could be stories and that writing them might be a path. I attended a workshop presented at the Orinda Book Store, by Thomas Larson, on the subject of memoir. It was the kick I needed, beginning with short stories, then creative nonfiction, and currently a travel/reminiscing blog, I have finally begun to record the early days of my roots, and Tom’s little book, Memoir and the Memoirist, is still an important volume in my writing library.
I have come to realize that most people write for the exact reason that I do, i.e. the reporting and recording of the memories for the benefit of the generation coming along. Most of us do not aspire to a bestseller list. We’d like to be read and know the circle of readers may be as small as the extended family of friends and relatives. We take classes and workshops, join writer’s clubs and serious critique groups, we experience the lonely thrill of writing.
Today, I am better at story beginnings, still learning how to end them, and have much to learn about how to connect the beginning to the end. In terms of craft, every one of my writing friends is more skilled than I am. In terms of how much effort it takes to make the tiniest gain, every one of my writing friends seems to have an easier time than I do. In terms of how much pleasure I take from finishing a 500-word squib for my blog, no one enjoys it more.
If you have yet to let your stories out, go for it.
Your parent’s great grand children will thank you.