Writing Thought for Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

...a writer writes...but a good writer writes a lot and reads even more...

     My dearly departed grandmother Pearl retired in 1970 after teaching over thirty years of high school english in a small midwestern town.  Even today, I try to imagine what it must have been like to be in her shoes when she stepped in to the classroom for the very first time in the late 1930's.  She had taught during WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the advent of the cold war.  She had even headed up the drama department in the mid 1960's, which was an unsettling notion considering how conservative my grandmother was.  Unfortunately, I never got to ask her if she had put on a production of "Hair".  She had understandably seen much during those tumultuous times and chose me to share her pearls of wisdom with.  No pun intended (pearl).  This was a blessing beyond measure.  She considered me her "literary one".  I will treasure those memories forever, those evenings sitting in her front parlor reading Shakespeare, discussing Frost at length with a woman who treated me as an equal, to the hours I spent thumbing through her shelves of dog-eared paperbacks.  In the years since, I have found myself on many paths, none of which lead me to a life as a fiction writer.  Oh, I would dabble here and there...sit in stoic silence over my laptop for a few nights while sipping green tea but I never really took it serious.  To take it serious meant I would BE a writer.  I would write.  Writing is not a part time mindset for a writer.  It's what running is to a runner.  What painting is to a painter.  What doctoring is to a doctor.  You get my point.  She always said that writing was like everything else you take on as a task or chore in this life.  You are what you do.  If you want to be a writer...then WRITE.  Just do it.  If you want to be a great writer...then you need to write A LOT and read just as much.  The more you write, the better you write.  The more you read, the better you write.  It all goes hand in hand.  Grandma Pearl was a no-nonsense woman and she didn't waste time on pretenses and needless froo-froo.  She told it the way it was and she loved literature.  Just write.  If you don't know what to write about...just write anyway.  It will come out.  Trust in it.  Trust in yourself.  Just do it.  A writer writes.  I love you, Grandma Pearl.



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