By Fritzy Dean
I can’t remember when I didn’t love words. I can remember when I thought they were little dead ants on the paper. That was before I learned about the alphabet. That alphabet breakthrough was the magic day I broke the code and started my real love affair with words.
My love only grew stronger and deeper the more I dove into books. I was (and am) a voracious reader - from cereal boxes and medicine bottles to Mark Twain and Charles Dickens to Jane Austin and beyond. Too many to name or number.
For many years my love of words was expressed solely through reading. I was never without a book or two at hand. At some point, I started paying attention to the craft of writing. I noticed how the writer had developed characters and plot. I watched how she hooked the reader into turning page after page.
Then, when I was past 70 years old, I joined a writer’s group. It was a memoir writing class and it was sponsored by Inprint. I was scared, but passionately wanted to learn.
I was encouraged by the other writers and, eventually, by the instructor. This class kept the same schedule as the academic calendar with two semesters and a long summer break. I was like a starving person when we broke for summer.
I searched for a summer replacement and found a creative writes group at a local community center. This class was totally different. It was called creative writing and we were usually given a writing prompt and on the spot had to make up a story! Talk about scared!
I had gotten accustomed, sort of, to writing personal essays but I was sure I could NOT just grab a story out of the air. Turns out, I could. I was a happy, engaged productive writer. It felt good.
So for a good number of years I went to Creative Writing on Tuesday and Memoir writing on Wednesday. In addition, I had added volunteering at my local elementary school, helping shaky little readers improve. I thought my love for words had found its fullest expression.
Then I learned about a Store Telling Group. It meets once month to exchange stories. I get to work on my memory and hear excellent story tellers and I get good encouragement from the others, including insightful feedback.
I have had the thrill of seeing my byline in The Leader, a neighborhood newspaper, in magazines and numerous times online. I also entered and won a contest to have a story included in a humorous book about aging. It can be purchased on Amazon.
So you have now heard the confessions of a wanton word lover. You could even say a word harlot, a word-hussy, a promiscuous, indiscriminate lover of words. I am guilty. I regret nothing.
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