I was told at a Genealogy conference that I was “authorized” to write the biography of anyone I descend from. Every generation needs to add their voice, he said. Well, that’s one hell of a lot of people I can write about!
Writing is My Drink: A writers story of Finding Her Voice (and a Guide to How You Can Too) by Theo Pauline Nestor
Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff
Liars’ Club by Mary Karr
Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin by Nicole Hardy
Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond
Falling into Place by Hattie Kauffman
I used to listen to Shortwave radio when I lived in West Germany. I didn’t know it was called Shortwave until much later. I got interested in Shortwave decades later, bought an analog receiver, didn’t like it, took it back and got a digital receiver and a book called Passport to World Band radio that was just like a giant TV guide, but for the entire world. I set up an aluminum foil antenna around the top of one of my rooms and began listening to 30 watt stations in Red China and some of those same programs I used to listen to like the BBC, German stations, and Russian stations. That was fun for a while, but I thought I would like to go deeper so I looked into Ham Radio. I bought some old test prep guides from Radio Shack, the question pool was still good, but the books were being surplused so I got a deal. I got into trouble at work so I had some time off. I picked up the Novice/Technician book and read it through. I then went back and marked all of the correct answers so that I would only ever read the questions and right answers again. I read the questions/right answers at least a dozen times and I asked my girlfriend to read me the answers and see if I could remember the questions. I found out where the Ham testing was done in North Everett, went there early one Saturday with a pocket full of cash and passed the Novice and Technician tests with no mistakes. I was a newly minted Ham Radio Operator! I rushed back to Radio Shack and purchased my first 2 meter handheld radio and eagerly waited for my license to be issued. Two months later I sat for a 5 word-per-minute Morse Code test and upgraded to Tech-Plus.
I really like watching Brat Pack movies. Movies like: The Outsiders, Class, Sixteen Candles, Oxford Blues, The Breakfast Club, St Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink, Blue City, About Last Night, Wisdom, Fresh Horses, and Betsy’s Wedding. There are many other movies with similar coming-of-age themes that starred only one core Brat Pack actor with one or more close contributors.
It will be timed writing practices from here on out because I will not be known for writing a memoir. Timed Writing Practice is the answer. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg is a great source for breaking out as a writer.
There are two kinds of writers, those that met Norman Mailer and those that never met Norman Mailer. I met Norman Mailer in 1991 at Elliot Bay Book Store in Seattle, Washington. He signed his book, Harlot’s Ghost, for me.
A thought has occurred to me. If goals are important then figuring out what you are aiming at might be a good early step. If one was to aim to win a short story contest then the writing would be of a certain effort and caliber. If one is wanting a much bigger prize, like the Nobel or Pulitzer prize, then a different level of skill and commitment would be in order. I have always recoiled against Genre writing maybe because I only want a big prize for my efforts. Not only learning to write well, but studying the masters of Literature as a life’s goal seems to be in order.
I was born in a college town, Lafayette, Indiana where Purdue University is; I was raised living next to one of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan, in both Glenview and Waukegan, Illinois; I lived in Europe in West Germany before the Berlin Wall came down; I now live on an island surrounded by salt water, Camano Island in Washington State. Starts and stops are easier to remember than the mundane existence of daily life.
Before you can conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful. If the ad nauseam of manic-depressive illness could be acutely and accurately summed up into words, these would be it; I was used to my mind being my best friend; of carrying on endless conversations within my head; of having a built-in source […]