Not Letting Go, Part 1 #MondayBlogs

Several months ago I went on a trip down memory lane, posting images of work I did during my college years. Click here if you want to read/reread that post.  I’ll wait.

Well, here I go again, and this time a little further back in time.  1976.  Spring semester at the community college I was attending.  I had joined a literary guild the year before, and every year we published one or two volumes of a journal.

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The guild was a very, very nice group of students with a faculty adviser.  They welcomed me immediately, were kind and tender with my highly sensitive nature, and were my first introduction to professional criticism.  Mrs. Hazel Swartz, the adviser, adopted each one of us.  We frequently had meetings at her house, and once she took me to dinner to explain to me why “peeping” wasn’t the best word to use when describing the sun coming up over a mountain.

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It was a very small world I lived in.  I quickly learned that my next-door neighbor had had the dubious pleasure of teaching Hazel to drive a stick-shift many decades before.  I remember he said something about fearing for his life as they sped up and down the hills of Queen Anne Road.  Few of the students were from my neck-of-the-woods, so to me they were savvy world travelers, even if they had only come from as far as Long Island.  They seemed so much older, wiser, and sophisticated than me.  I had a crush on one, a poet who seemed to genuinely like my writing.  But, of course, I  thought he was too good for me so I took up with someone else.  That was unfortunate.  My first lover could have been a poet.  Instead I wound up with a narcissistic, emotionally abusive loser.  Ah, the idiocies of youth!

Anyway, for the last almost 40 years, I’ve carried from my home in upstate New York to various apartments in California and finally to my house in Florida two volumes of our journal.  The second one is my favorite.

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With this one, I was starting to feel like a writer.  Recently I sat down and leafed through the contents, cringing at some of my feeble attempts at poetry and fiction writing.  But I paused at one bit of prose.  It’s not fiction because the people and the circumstance were real.  But, in this piece, more than any other, I recognize my voice.

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Those very early years, 1975-1976, I could imagine only being a writer.  I had no imagination for any other kind of employment.  I was naive, ignorant, but I was who I still am.

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34 thoughts on “Not Letting Go, Part 1 #MondayBlogs

  1. Wow, look how futuristic you were with the tense and all. Fabulous work, Marie. It’s so hard to believe this was the 70s!

  2. Thank you for sharing this Marie. I love this type of print material. And you’re right, your voice came through loud and clear in Tupperware Lady.

  3. Love Tupperware Lady, thanks for sharing it with us. Also brings me back to the days of those home parties. I have recently started working on a short story I wrote over 20 years ago. I had then the same style and voice I have now.

    • Thank you! I think it is so interesting that we can pick up something we started writing decades ago and still hear our voice. Like there’s a part of us that is always there regardless of changes on the outside.

  4. High five! I too married an emotionally abusive narcissistic… Not to be facetious though. It just always is amazing the things us bloggers can commiserate over. Your Tupperware Lady story makes me think back to the first and only story I had published in a legit literary journal. I need to aim for more of that in the future.

    • High five! I didn’t marry the lout but hung with him enough to do some serious damage to myself. They are so predatory too. Like they can smell your innocence and naivete. Do aim for publishing in a literary journal. No matter how small it may be, it’s also great to see your writing in print.

  5. I enjoyed the story. I could feel the desperation in reliving when she was eighteen. Three kids and a Tupperware job? yeek. I liked the narration and the husband as narrator.

    • Thanks, John! That’s interesting that you thought the husband was narrating the story. It was actually me. I was her babysitter. BUT I like the idea of the husband narrating … you’ve give me an idea … 😉

        • I don’t think you missed anything. You just had a different (and intriguing) interpretation of the narrator. Nobody else identified the narrator in their comments, so maybe everybody thought it was the husband 🙂

          • I thought it was interesting that he would be the one. Opens the story to a number of opportunities of personal interaction. (Thanks for not telling me to STFU)

  6. I’m glad you’ve hung on to the old stuff, Marie. It’s a little like meeting your young self on the street and smiling wisely at the journey that lies ahead for her…

    I have a bunch of things I can’t bear to part with too, but I also can’t bear to read it!

    • I was very selected about the piece I chose to share 😉 And probably also because it was one page. The short stories are still hard for me to get through 😉 I like that image of meeting my young self and actually feeling good about what lies ahead for her. Thank you for that.

  7. Great post! The Tupperware story has a distinctive voice. It might be the younger, more naive you, but it’s still memorable. Thanks for sharing.

  8. This is a fantastic bit of writing Marie, and it totally reads as a piece of fiction. If you don’t want it as part of a novel I would incorporate it in a short story. If you’re having trouble because it’s based on real life, just imagine it as a fictitious character and you might find it easier to run with. Great stuff, and thanks for sharing it with us:-)

    • Thank you so much, A.K.! I really appreciate the encourage. I hadn’t thought about turning it into a longer piece. You’re right that I could just imagine everyone as fictional characters … shouldn’t be hard to do since it’s been 40 years and I haven’t had any contact with them since I left. I need to run with this!

  9. Awesome post. I look back at some of my old writing and know, without a doubt, it’s been there all this time. It just needed to be cultivated.

    • Thanks, Susan! It is a validating experience to read something from so long ago and realize that “it” was there all the time.

  10. That is so awesome! I love, love, love . . . okay, ADORE old books and memories and journals. Just looking at those pictures makes me almost be able to smell it! And I actually like looking back on my life and remembering a time before authoring was a business. 🙂

    • Hi, Katie! I was happy I could scan the original journal and keep all the age-related stains and rough handling. Better than my own notebooks is to see the names of the other students and read their work. Talk about memories flooding back! I bet you do miss those times before your writing became a business. Marketing has a way of taking the joy out of things. By the way, I might have to resubscribe to your blog. According to WordPress, I’m subscribed for Instant posts, but I haven’t gotten notifications of your posts in a very long while. Even those I see you on Facebook, I miss those notices about your posts. Probably just a WP hiccup. Thanks for coming by!

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