Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Writing Life


Oh yes. The writing life. It’s a strange addiction, this compulsion to put words on a page. Sometimes it’s really fun! Sometimes I wished I didn’t have it. Other times, it’s a real mixed bag. Like last week when I got that email from the local newspaper for which I’ve been writing a monthly column for more than three years explaining that my services were no longer needed. Time to move on. It's kind of nice not to have the pressure every month but not as nice as getting to come up with something to share.

I’m not a fiction writer, but these days I’m spending some torture time trying to be one. There’s a story I want to tell that grew out of the months I spent in Mozambique more than 10 years ago. I’ve written the story once as non-fiction but it didn’t work. I’m “doing it over” as fiction which I find difficult, in fact perhaps impossible, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. It seems harder than starting from scratch. I keep trying to cheat and use some of the stuff I’ve already written and end up with a jumbled up mess.

I have a part-time job for a small rural newspaper that allows me to peek into the lives of people I would never know otherwise. It’s a kick and a privilege and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Last Friday night I got to see a group of kids who belong to the Wellington Boys and Girls Club receive awards for all-around good citizenship. They danced, they sang, they displayed their art work and made moving acceptance speeches in front of their parents, friends, the mayor and the president of the Chamber of Commerce. Small town America at its best.

I was fortunate to be there.

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