Why Write?

A True Calling or Just More Dirty Laundry

 

I once wrote a story about a college kid “staring intently into a bottle of Point Beer.”

Another was a feature article about the local humane society and its efforts to protect unwanted pets. The woman who started the organization was passionately dedicated and interesting to talk to. It turned into a perfect story.

The shortage of towels in the men’s athletic department was another assignment of “breaking news” that needed my attention.

As you might expect, I bombed on the towel story. Couldn’t see how dirty towels could possibly lead to a Pulitzer.

The kid and his beer never amounted to anything either which is just as well.

For the most part, writing for the college paper was the one thing that provided a purpose for my being there at all. That and money from the GI Bill.

I soon found that writing for a living was easier said than done, when the demands of the “real” world interfered. There was rent to pay, mouths to feed and obligations to keep.

I got a job, actually many jobs from emptying bed pans to driving a truck, finally finding security as a firefighter and investigator.

Business ventures came and went, fortunes made and lost and, made and lost.

Through that din of life I completely forgot what it was like to put words on paper and create something.

It took forty years but I fell in love again, with stories.

My family always told stories. With so many relatives surviving both the Great Depression and World War II, there was no lack of background information.

Their colorful stories were told and re-told at every occasion as if they had happened yesterday.

The ending was always the same- enjoyment.

No one cared if the facts had changed over the years or if they were even true to begin with.

They were a way of sharing our history and humanity. They were a families’ legacy to be passed on without special effects or musical scores.

These were ordinary people doing extra ordinary things.

Now, kids text each other while sitting across the room.

“WOMBAT, MEGO, LOL.”

We all have a passion for something, a calling if you will and I found mine by listening.

I listen when an idea appears at 3 AM demanding my attention. It sometimes approaches in a whisper, gently nudging. At other times it storms in like a drill sergeant banging trash cans. Try as I might, sleep is no longer an option.

Ideas rush in after attending a writer’s group meeting and I can’t wait to get back to the keyboard.

When I miss one, I start to have withdrawals.

An article in the morning paper gets me buzzing to the point of complete disruption of other activities. The reports due for my day job are put on hold as I wonder what to do with yet another new idea.

Energy flows like morning coffee and the hours fly by.

When I have a story that just needs telling and I know I’m the one to tell it.

  • Missile batteries once formed a ring of defense around cities in the Midwest.
  • Native Americans pilgrimage to ancient granite formations in Minnesota and New Mexico.
  • Great grandmothers once flew B-29s as test pilots.
  • There are defense attorneys, kids who start fires, cemeteries, and skunks.
  • The ghost of Elvis might be seen riding a roller coaster in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

My list goes on.

When I become once again full of hopes and dreams and believe there is still time to make a difference.

When I’m ready to put my heart and soul out there for all to see-at ten cents a word-that’s a calling.

We each have one, that calling.  It can manifest itself in any of a thousand ways but without a doubt, it’s a God-given gift that propels and sustains me, frustrates me to no end and makes me feel truly alive.

 

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