Storyteller or writer?

Cynder-tales was an adult fairy tale with sexual undertones, not to be confused with fairytales for children.  I was told my fiction story about a young gal named Cynder, could not be for young adults if I had sexual references in them.  Well, it was a coming-of-age story, sorta autobiographical and as a narrator, I made comments about future occurrences.  These included sexual comments because even though they happened in the future, I felt it was a part of the story I was attempting to write.

To be completely truthful, I had no idea who my audience would be or even what it was I was writing, other than it was supposedly a fiction piece. Was I writing an essay, a book, or just a semi-fictional biography? Putting memories down about my life could bring me some insights into my life, coming from a broken home, or maybe even closure on an absentee father. Unresolved feelings I had towards my mom dissipated long ago, a few years after her death actually. My dad still remains a mystery of sorts, one I haven’t figured out yet.

 

Any resentment towards my mom was certainly undeserved, having my own children put that to rest. How is it we have these aha moments raising our own kids, these end up turning our own parents into human beings we can relate to?  I know, and yes I do have a daughter and you were right mom. How much of our past relates to our future, I wonder?  Harboring firm beliefs about absentee fathers, I also have thoughts about not having a strong independent mother.  Needless to say, I laid many of those to rest through my writing.

Back to my ‘writing assignment’ and a writers forum that critiqued my submission. It was one of three that evening, under discussion.  This was totally out of my comfort zone.  I understood all of the comments that related to where was I going with ‘my story’ because I didn’t know either.  An attempt at fiction, relating it to my life growing up in two provinces, constantly changing schools, and having to make new friends.

I want to say it went well and what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.  Truth is I was wounded, a surface wound to be sure, but maybe not.  I actually did pick up a really good tip that could lead me in a direction I may explore before giving it up completely.  I don’t think anyone likes criticism, some take it well and others, like myself, tend to take it personally.  I listened intently, digesting everyone’s comments until one particular guy spoke up and likened my writing to not only grade school stuff but he tore apart my grammar as well.  He even said it was painful to read, but maybe I heard him wrong.

Now just to keep the record straight he also disparaged another gals piece.  His gender may have made it harder for him to understand a woman’s point of view.  His condescending attitude made me think he was sexually deprived (that is my own little condescending jab at him).  His remarks didn’t make me give up though, rejection only makes me stronger and drives me to try harder before calling it quits, this spills forth into my relationships as well.  I was married for 40 years before I cut my losses, so I have a lot of experience with rejection.

The deal here is to know when to fold em.. my foray into writing fiction will probably be a dead-end street. The truth is, it’s harder for me to make stuff up. I tend to write about the world around me, trying to keep up with current affairs, woman’s issues, and especially how my ‘older’ self feels in today’s environment. My perspective is different from say a twentysomething gal or even forties or fiftysomething gals. Women my age have a lot to share and we actually are older and wiser, well I hope I’m wiser, I’m older for sure. Running or jogging is no longer a part of my life nor in my vocabulary. I never ran or jogged anyway so I don’t miss it. Humour has always been a part of my life, the sarcastic kind usually, see above two sentences.

Writing about myself and my sex life or lack of one comes easily for me. We are here for such a short time. The older I get, this becomes alarmingly apparent. I love when my writing connects with someone that feels the same way I do, they don’t feel so alone, and neither do I.  Starting a blog called My-Third Life as a newly minted single in old age territory was a journey of love for me. I don’t have to make anything up because weird shit happens to me all the time.

I love my life and writing about it is now a part of this journey, if it is grade school grammar and all well so be it!  I’m also losing the ability to remember stuff, spelling is becoming an issue and what the heck is that about? Who would’ve thought that at my age I would be in a zoom meeting with a group of writers from Toronto?  It may not have gone all that well, but this Saskatchewan gal is not a quitter, and I like using exclamation marks!!!

copyright June 2020
June 2021
It has been a whole year since my first presentation at that writer’s group and I wrote that piece to soothe my bruised ego. I didn’t write another piece of fiction until last week. That prompted the same guy to call my writing trash. It didn’t discourage me though because another writer suggested I send that same piece to the New York Times, he thought it was a relevant story and worth publishing. I truly value my writer’s group and feel they have influenced my writing in a good way.
Here’s the thing I want everyone to understand; I have no illusions about being a writer although my letters to the editor always seem to get published. Henceforth I’ve decided to call myself a storyteller because it’s what I am. When I put my thoughts down here on paper (or computer) it is me speaking to you, bad grammar and all.  I wonder if it is a Saskatchewan thing, I never considered my grammar as being ‘grade school’?  No matter, if I get something published they will have editors I’m sure, but I like my own voice, sorry/not sorry.  I’m also putting this piece up in my blog because of the comment he made about me again this past week. Seems he has a problem, not me. Call it trash talk if you will, but one’s person’s trash is another person’s treasure, hmmm didn’t someone write that somewhere?

Each of us has stories inside of us, some like to share and others don’t, and that’s ok.  Many of my stories burst forth totally unexpectedly while some need to be dragged out and put to rest, maybe dig a hole and bury them?   I’m never quite sure what is going to show up on my page and crazy as this sounds, I have been looking back at previous blogs and marveled that I even wrote some of them.  If this is a sign of early-onset old age ‘something’ then I have it… end of this story.

June 2022
I’m reading all of this over again and here I am two years older and still writing.  The fiction stories bit the dust and an autobiography has taken its place.  That was the one good piece of advice I took from the first critiques of exposing my writing to that writer’s group in Toronto three years ago. I have since taken a writers course from the University of Toronto by Beth Kaplan, courtesy of six hundred dollars and Zoom technology. Living on a pension did not allow for a follow-up course but I enjoyed the camaraderie of being with like-minded writers.
My memoir was going along great and I even felt it was half finished when I hit a snag.  That snag was memories from the failed marriage that included, of course, my children.  When my family reads my writing it is with mixed reactions.  Some of it makes for hurtful feelings from my kids and that was never my intentions.  I have since decided to take a break and maybe I will get back to that book or maybe not.  My family is the most important part of my life, more important than my writing.

I’m still blogging and I have written a unique cookbook with a girlfriend. Seems I can’t keep myself from putting words on paper, maybe it is my way of coping with what’s happening all around me. It could be therapy for some long-forgotten trauma or maybe it’s my way of inserting a little joy into just being here.  A wise old man told me just this last year that I needed to get back to writing my book and said “write it in your own voice and don’t let anyone take that away” he was very adamant about that.  I have decided I will get back to my book when I feel I’m ready.

epilogue:
We are complex human beings, we live and then we die. We fuel ourselves on the stories and memories of our life so far. A roadmap in our brain makes way for future journeys and explorations yet to be experienced. These turn into our life lessons, learned or not, along the way; we alone are the authors, and seeing as how I’m a storyteller now, stay tuned for my next story…..