I don’t know where the time has disappeared to, but I haven’t been on this site for several months. I hate for that to happen.
Despite not showing up here, I have been writing and photographing – lots but nothing real exciting. I’m spending a good bit of time freelancing for Furman University and I’m spending a lot of time with my mother, who is 98 years old. She is in good health but is gradually getting weaker. In fact, she’s considering moving from an independent apartment to assisted living. It’s a decision she must make, but I’ll help in any way I can.
Soon I’m planning to begin researching for a book I’d like to write on the history of the Reedy River. It’s a short river that begins at a spring in Travelers Rest, S.C., runs through downtown Greenville and ends in Lake Greenwood where it joins the Saluda River. The falls in Greenville are the impetus for the development of Greenville. They provided power for mills. The river saw a Revolutionary War battle, lots of engagements, the birth of the Upstate’s textile industry and more. It has now become the centerpiece of Greenville’s growth as a “cool” city.
My other book goal is to write a history of Brevard College, which I attended when it was a two-year school. It has now gone four years. Brevard began with the merger of Weaver College and Rutherford College, both North Carolina schools. It is sheltered in the Appalachian Mountains and has plenty of history, some of which has been almost hidden. We’ll see how that goes.
Now that I’m back, I’ll try to remain here.
Wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I wrote on this blog.
I have begun walking in the mornings, not far but for about 35 minutes or so. Right now that’s about 1.3 miles. I’m taking it easy because I managed to produce blisters almost immediately and am trying to heal them before I buy new, well-fitting walking shoes. But the walk starts my day off right.
When I get home, I feel ready to run errands, write or clean the house – whatever my task for the day is. Since I’ve retired, reading is always part of my day. Of course, it always was. But now I read in the daylight instead of late at night.
The other part of my upbeat outlook is that I have lost 32 pounds in the past 10.5 months. That’s slow, but that’s how I lose. I now have more energy and feel more able to do things that enhance my writing – such as hiking to a waterfall or just rambling through the countryside.
I am also a contributor to a blog – mooingaround.com – on WordPress. If you’re a writer – or even if you’re not – come check us out. We have five staff contributors and guest contributors. It’s open to any writing – poetry, memoirs, short stories, articles, writing tips, a blog on the blog- as well as photography. Nan Lundeen, a friend and colleague, is the chief editor (I guess you’d call her) and a wonderful poet.
I just helped my mother celebrate her 97th birthday. I cooked a taco salad for her, some family and some friends. She enjoyed it along with the other two birthday lunches she had last week.
The birthday made me think once again of the years she has lived. And I decided on Christmas presents for the family. Years ago, I wrote an autobiography with stories she had told me via email. It was interesting but long.
My new project is a story of her life told in short poems and prose poems. It will cover the beginning, the middle and toward the end. She has experienced a lot in 97 years. She’s taught; she’s worked for a newspaper; she raised a family; she traveled throughout the world. She married two men and buried them both. She is a survivor. I’ve written about 30 segments so far.
Besides that, a lunch today with a friend rekindled my desire to write a book. So I’ve started some of the research already. Once I get started, then I’ll try to figure out what else needs to be done. Nan suggested I apply for a state fellowship. Maybe I will. At least I’ve downloaded the application.
What would I do without the support that comes from friends, fellow writers and my family?
Strange, isn’t it. The skies are dreary. The rain is either dripping from the heavens slowly or pouring in a steady stream. It’s stay-in-the-house-and-read weather.
Despite the grayness of the day, I’m in an upbeat mood. And I think it’s solely because I began Weight Watchers last night. I’m doing something for me, something only I can do. WW is not new. I went through three years of it about eight years ago – and it worked then. This time I just can’t fall back into bad habits. I’m starting on the food this week. Next week I’ll start on the exercise component. I’m going to reach the weight I want to be.
This morning I spent some time working on a story about the future of the workforce. I need a few more interviews and some more writing. But I’m pleased with it so far.
Business is picking up – and I’m still not really looking.
Somewhere along the line, I told the folks at the Chamber I would be glad to freelance for them. So I now have three stories for their 2013 annual directory – one about a winery, one about the chairman and one about economic development.
Along with what I’m doing with the Greenville Journal, I’m bringing in a little more money.
All will be well – I get my first Social Security check next month (for January – the month I turned full retirement age). I am banking those funds as long as I’m receiving buyout funds – that will be through April.
My goal for the year is to really move forward with my book on the Reedy River, which runs through Greenville County. Reedy Falls is in the middle of downtown Greenville. A Revolutionary War battle was fought along the river. It has been the source of engagements. It has run yellow, blue and red with textile dyes. It’s still polluted but much cleaner than in the past. It is now the centerpiece of a downtown park.
I just finished a business story for a weekly newspaper I am now freelancing for – a couple of stories a week, generally. It was once again a jobs story. It seems that I’ve picked up where I left on at the Greenville News.
But it’s nice to know that I’ll be writing a couple of stories a week – most relatively short ones. Today I did the interviewing, wrote the story and got ready t o set up the photo assignment. I’ll confirm that tomorrow morning.
I must admit that after 26 years it seems a little strange to be writing for another newspaper – even thought this is a weekly rather than a daily. And it seems even stranger to identify myself with another newspaper. While I miss the people at the News and being part of major stories, I’m glad I took the early retirement. It has been wonderful for me and has made my status as my mother’s part-time caretaker easier by far.
When I picked up a photo-to-canvas project today, I ended up with a job. All I’m doing this time is writing a short story about a photographer who catches photos of guys popping the engagement question. He blends into the scenery and shoots away. A neat little trick – and a cute little story.
Betsy wants to send out the story in an e-mail blast so folks can hear about it.
While it’s a small project, it could lead to more work with her. I enjoy my commercial dealings – she puts some of my photos on canvas – and would like to work with her more.
Yesterday, I got a call about writing for a new business mag being started in town. It’s for a weekly paper that sort of competes with my former employer, the daily newspaper. But I’ve been gone for six months and it doesn’t feel like I’m being a traitor as it would have at first. It may mean that in the future, the newspaper won’t call me for free-lancing. But then, it might not anyway.
I haven’t decided on this. I’ve asked some questions and I guess the main issue is whether they pay enough to make it worthwhile. We’ll see.
I turned in the four stories I rewrote for a non-profit organization that I am freelancing with. It turns out that asking the questions myself is easier than writing – or rewriting -from someone else’s interview. But the stories are revised and, I think, sharper than they were.
The next agenda item is an interview with the executive director for a press release about a grant the organization received. And then I can go on to interviewing and writing short stories about successes for the online web site.
Good news on the job front.
With a recommendation from a friend, I seem to have found my way to a public service organization that needs writing help. I’m going to talk with them the second week in September about writing short stories about “successes” among their clients. It sounds like fun. We haven’t talked finances, but I said we could work it out. I’m not volunteering, but I won’t price my help out of their range.
I critiqued a chapter in a book on writing that a friend of mine is writing. She’s taught writing classes – relaxed writing – and she’s a beautiful writer. I enjoyed reading the chapter, found a few places I thought could be improved and regained the inspiration to do free writing – just put pen to paper and start writing (she said to do the exercise after meditating or exercise.
It’s been years since I’ve done that although I do lots of different kinds of writing now. But maybe this will rejuvenate and energize me. We’ll see.
Since I haven’t seen Nan in a while, I dropped the chapter off at her house. Ron is on vacation this week so I saw them both and we’re planning lunch on Monday – before he goes back to work on Tuesday. It was great to catch up a little bit.
Besides that, I made another run to Goodwill and worked on gathering everything off the floor of the rooms to be painted. I’m getting excited about that.