What It's Like to be Dying: Take Two
Coronavirus Prevention - Crabby Old Lady is So Confused


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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[EDITORIAL NOTE: Reader's stories are welcome. If you have not published here or not recently, please read submission instructions. Only one story per email.]


This was a fun, impressive read... you grabbed my interest in that first paragraph, I have dim memories of those pre-reading 'ants on a page' days as well!

You ARE a good writer, Fritzy Dean. And congrats on your publication successes too.

wonderful story! Thanks, Fritzy!

What an inspiring memoir. It brought me back to first grade in a one-room country school with the smell of freshly-oiled wood floor, the sound of desk drawers opening and closing and the blackboards that were mostly out of reach for six year old fists. I must write about it.
I must also write around the typo. I know what you meant Fritzy, but I already have a couple of anecdotes in mind for a Store Telling Group.
Scribble, scribble, scribble.

That last paragraph did me in! I love it. And congratulations to you.

Passion should never have regrets. Wonderful essay.

Wonderful! Good for you.

I love this story! I could almost have written it myself. Great essay—a keeper.

When it comes to writing I’m as frustrated as I was trying to learn to play a musical instrument. It’s just not in my genes. But I love your story, and am delighted you have been able to keep feeding your passion. KUTGW.

Good on ya, Hussy Gal !

Wonderful Fritzy! You inspire me. All your stories are so descriptive.

Congrats on being published. It's a thrill, isn't it!

Fritzy, I love words so much I have been known to read pages in dictionaries. The list of ingredients on the back of a ketchup bottle. And so on. I admire your newly discovered talent and your energy is using it. Rock on!

You have done it again, dear friend. Thank you for brightening my day.

Wonderful essay, Fritzy! I am a word hussy right along with you, an old heifer pacing the pasture for my next bucket of words.

Engaging as always...you had me from the git-go. Never, ever stop being a word ‘ho!

I love them too. I write also. Poems and personal stories. Not fiction.
I once had a poem printed here.

Keep going. You are great.

Thank you to all who took the time to comment. Even though I claim to be a wordsmith , I can't express how touched I am by your feedback.

Goerdie, PLEASE write more about your school days, Please! And, now, I too, must write about the typo. How embarrassing ...I read that essay at least 100 times and never caught it.
Will you be my prof reader?

Cindy, you gave me a big laugh and a delightful "visual"..I LOVE the picture of an "old heifer pacing the pasture for a new bucket of words "

Mary Symmes, reading the dictionary is great fun, isn't it? And, honestly, reading is the only thing keeping me sane during this lockdown. Well, semi-sane.

Tom, I confess to a small thrill seeing my name as the by-line. At my age, thrills are few.

To EVERY single one of you, THANK YOU for your encouragement.

Thank you for posting this section of your autobiography, Fritzy. Except in school, I have never written for myself except for occasional journaling -- not as an everyday practice but just when I feel moved. In this time of isolation, it seems an appropriate time to put my toe in the water of a different kind of writing. It's time to start.

However, I don't know exactly where or how. What you said about how you did it inspired me, but I'd like to know specifically "where" that was. I would like to find a beginners' class of some kind with people who will be gentle with me.

Not sure how or if you could contact me through Ronni's blog but if you could, I'd appreciate that.

Oh Lord, Thank you Fritzy! I have a new descriptive term for myself - I am a word-hussy! I am in fits of badly needed laughter after several days of despondency.


Enjoyed reading this as I, too, ended up joining a writing group some time after RB asked me to write once, to which I laughed incredulously. Only my friends and family had seemed to appreciate my letters. I did take a stab at what I guess is called essay, subsequently did a little other writing trying to promote TGB and RB, started a blog unexpectedly, and regularly subject my words now to any who happen to read them, brave souls that they are.

I'm glad I finally got around to reading this Fritzy. I am also a logophile and enjoyed reading about your experience with it. I especially liked the ending and your announcement of having no regrets. I love hearing stories about people who took up something later in life that they always wanted to learn or do but didn't have or make the time or couldn't afford the materials or any of a myriad reasons for not jumping into something after retiring or finding themselves out of work before being ready, and with lots of energy and passion. Good for you for taking the leap, discovering your wings and honing your skills!

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