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By Fritzy Dean

Every Tuesday I get up and hurriedly get dressed and go to my writing class. No body makes me go. No body cares if I go. Still. I go. Winter and summer, spring and Fall I go every Tuesday to writing class.

On a Tuesday when I must miss class, the whole day feels “off kilter.” in fact, it affects the whole week. It has become integral to my life, to my routine.

Why do it? Well, I really like my class members and I really respect our instructor. He spends a good deal of energy prepping for this class. He gives of his time. He also gives us funny prompts and unusual subject matter. He makes me think and I like that. Well, mostly I like it.

There are several poets in our class and while they are not able to be there every time, when they are there I never fail to be amazed by the words that show up on their papers.

Sometimes I am even amazed at what shows up on my paper. I never thought I had what it takes to pull characters out of the air and transfer them to the page. This class has shown me I can. Not always prize-winning prose, but still I’m doing it and I like the challenge. Well, mostly I like it.

After our first writing exercise, we discuss the work. We tell the class member what we liked about the piece. Sometimes we offer gentle suggestions for how the piece could be better.

I do like that. I want to be a GOOD writer - not an okay writer, not a passable writer. I want to be Good. It is the single thing I strive for in my life. Don’t care about finding a husband, have no interest in traveling the world, will never appear on a best dressed list and don’t want to.

Have no interest in a new car or meeting a celebrity. BUT, I desperately want to be good at writing.

Why? Why this and not yoga? Or cooking classes? Or flower arranging? Why do I write?

Because I have to; something inside me compels it. Because I gain clarity; I learn how I really feel about things when I get the words down. Because I don’t want to forget. I think every life matters and I want mine to be documented.

Because writing changes my perspective. My childhood looks very different through the lens of a narrator than through he lens of a victim.

I write because I have something to say. I want others to hear it. I want someone to benefit by my experiences. I have learned much in my decades here on planet Earth and I want to leave a record. I was here and this is what happened to me.

I write because I must.

* * *

[EDITORIAL NOTE: This feature, TGB Readers' Stories, appears every Tuesday. Anyone age 50 and older is welcome to submit a story. You can do that by clicking the “Contact” link at the top of every TGB page or at the Guidelines/Submissions page.

Please be sure to read and follow the guidelines before submitting a story. It will save me a lot of time.


Strong work, Fritzy.
Makes me wish I was a better writer, but you're doing the work to get there.

"My childhood looks very different through the lens of a narrator than through he lens of a victim." Great story right there.

Ah, a woman following her own light, tapped on the shoulder by the muse and being willing
to walk that sometimes terrifying walk. Terrifying, awakening, enlarging, deepening. Yes!
A woman who is tapped on the shoulder by the muse, and doesn't respond with, "Oh, okay, just wait 'til the dishes are done, and I find my husband's left shoe, and..........." You are to be praised. Thank you.

Your enthusiasm and commitment for the challenge of good writing, of which you capably and movingly reveal, is well-documented here and offers up a personal question whether I also would benefit.

You present scenarios for personal growth beyond a basic memoir and I instantly am drawn to this new-to-me venture. And that reaction is a marker to follow without knowing whether it suits me. Thank you.

Now, where to begin.

Clarity and passion without hyperbole. What a winning combination.

There are others like us though they might be writing at home alone. Not all of us have the choice about going to a class and sharing with friends. But we still write everyday. We still get the feedback and satisfaction from putting it down on paper or typing the thoughts into a computer.

"To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom." This famous quote is often attributed to Socrates... and many others paraphrasing it throughout history.

Perhaps, that is why, ( even before the second, very necessary, cup of coffee) reading your engaging narrative about your clear-eyed, honest, personal journey held me until the last line, Fritzi.

Thank you for this inspiration today.

Ah Ronni! I love your writing. It’s not just GOOD. It’s excellent. You help us to laugh, cry, chuckle, get emotional, get involved, generally to live better.

Hmmm. I like this, also : "My childhood looks very different through the lens of a narrator than through he lens of a victim." I see my parents differently now. They did the best they could, considering my arrival was a surprise as my mother approached 50.
Fritzy, I will venture a guess that you brain work-outs are doing wonders, building an ever-sharp brain. You've given me food for thought this morning. Good job, thank you.

Fritzy, I love what you wrote and started a writing group here at my retirement community for the same reasons. But, having had six concussions, I also write to challenge my brain and keep my vocabulary more or less intact.


To be clear, as the byline above shows, this story is written not by me but by Fritzy Dean and included today in the weekly Tuesday section of readers' stories.

You are an inspiration to me. Keep writing.

"I write because I must" says it all.

Fritzy, I enjoyed reading your post. Why write? Well, you said it: "...something inside me compels it. Because I gain clarity; I learn how I really feel about things when I get the words down. Because I don’t want to forget. I think every life matters and I want mine to be documented."

In the comments above, Charlene reminded us of Socrates saying that "To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom." That quote goes along with his suggestion that "the unexamined life is not worth living."

Most writers never get rich, but the craft itself brings a wealth of understanding. Thanks for reminding us of that!

I am 81 years old, which is young these days, and today I went to work for 3 hours, which I do Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, sometimes more than 3 hours. I am a drawing checker at an aerospace company in Toronto which modifies aircraft for special missions. Because of my experience in this field I am able to advise the younger generation on design and processes which will help them in the future. The other two days, Wednesday and Friday, I volunteer at my local hospital, in the Oncology Clinic, helping patients and staff cope with the continual worries of cancer. You know what I am talking about , my darling
Crabby Old Lady. I am most fortunate to be able to be able to continue this lifestyle and could not do without it.

You're a good writer. You know how I can tell? I read your piece all the way to the end, and a good end it was.

We've only hummed the tune.
It is now more clear, Fritzi.
You have supplied so many
Of the essential words
For the passion of
Our Writer's Unsung Anthem

For those of us that aren't quite the writers we'd like to be, there is one thing we are, that is another imperative. We read because we must! We rely on the good writers out there to hold our attention until the very end because they are so compelling with their lovely choice of words.

Thanks for that, all who contribute to this blog and keep me reading, with I might add, a smile on my face,



Thanks for the article.

I feel the same way about mathematics. I have always loved numbers -- they are immutable, they are firm and unmoving. They are always honest. Numbers never lie. They are eternal and they are always exactly just as they were supposed to be.


What a loving reference to Ronni. I don't know about her, but it hit the heart notes in me.

For me, it’s Thursday.

Frizzy, I love your writing style.

Whatever .... keep writing. You will be better, best, good - if that is what you want. The desire is there. Feed it by writing. Enjoy.

I so agree.

Always a pleasure to read your words and hear your voice in my head, Sweet Friend. I also write. Not daily...but whenever the muse alights. I write to ease the overpowering emotions I often feel. Anger, frustration, awe, passion. They all merit a few words so that I may find an outlet for strong feelings that don’t involve violence. I find I have less and less patience for stupidity in my world. Writing allows me to avoid incarceration. So far....

I find my inner life is far richer than my outer life ever is. Transferring this to the page is my sole purpose in life it appears.


Thank you to all who felt moved to comment. It warmed my heart. To those who thought I was Ronni....the highest Thank You! I cannot think of a higher compliment.

Fritzy.....I LOVE your style of writing and making it so personal. I know you well and I know you write because you must and you write from your heart! Much love, Mary

Fritzy....I write to show appreciation for the inspiration and clarity in your words. Thank you!

I have always admired your writing, as you well know. Equal to that admiration is what I feel toward your volunteering efforts to teach young children how to read at your local elementary school. You are literally changing lives and I am so thankful we are friends.

I also go to a writing class, or "club" as we call it in my country. There are hundreds of these writing clubs in my very small country, and you do not have to pay, or hardly anything. Many of these clubs belong to Academies for Seniors . For those who cannot or will not go out, they can also join and participate on line. There are also competitions on line. They are very competitive (!), and you can enjoy others' writings.
I loved the text. I will translate it into Portuguese and read it to my class. Thank you Fritzy!

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