Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Writer Support

I rarely ever miss a Lake Writers meeting. Because of my appointment with a podiatrist, I missed the July 6 meeting of Lake Writers. I figured I’d just be a bit late. Instead, I was sent to X-Ray, step one in my adventure of the foot from hell.

Two weeks later, I limped into the next Lake Writers meeting. I knew they missed me because Jack, one of our senior members, had this cane ready and waiting. The lights don’t work, but the bell does. Lake Writers have supported my writing for 8 years; now they’re supporting my weight when I lean on the cane.

Lake Writers is one of the most supportive groups I’ve ever been a member of. We’re all, ahem, of a “certain age,” i.e., retirement. Most of us have had long and successful careers; some have advanced degrees. We’re a creative bunch; several are artists as well as writers. None of us aspires to literary greatness, but we work to perfect our craft. And we help each other do it. Most live at the lake; a few (Marion and I) don’t. Most have lived in the area less than two decades. I’m the only member whose family history runs 200 years deep into Franklin County.

Lake Writers is a loosely organized group (members come and go as needed; occasionally someone dies) with Jim as our fearless and exceedingly diplomatic leader who keeps us on track. I function as the official club nagger—I pester others into doing what they’ve been putting off doing or think they can’t do.

Jack, the bearer of the cane, was—is—one my successful naggees. For years Jack wrote wonderful personal history, mainly about his adventures in WWII, his beginnings as a photographer, his childhood during the 1930s, and his adventures as a retiree at Smith Mountain Lake. He’d read one of his essays at almost every meeting. But he never took them farther. Some of us encouraged him to “do something” with them, but for a long time, he didn’t. After all, memoirs by other than celebrities, aren’t attractive to publishers.

Then I learned about blogging. A blog, I decided, would be perfect for Jack. His kids and grandkids are scattered about the country. A blog would let them know more about their immediate ancestor. I nagged; he resisted. I nagged more; he asked fellow members to help him brainstorm a name for his blog. Several of us nagged; his blog, Jack the SMLaker, finally debuted on May 26, 2006. He now has many devoted readers, some of whom aren’t even kin to him.

He still reads his essays to the group before he posts them. Before he reads, he automatically hands me a copy, and I whip out my official English teacher red grading pen. I used to do a lot of correcting; lately I haven’t found much to change—the paper doesn’t “bleed” nearly as much as it used to.

Looks like my nagging paid off. And I get to use this really cool cane to help me limp around.

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2 Comments:

Blogger House on the Glade Hill said...

Did you know that they don't want teachers to use the red pen in Florida? They felt it was too negative. I really was looking forward to nagging a few students throughout the year with a blood red pen. Nostalgia.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I'd love to meet him. Sounds like a special writer and a good friend! You are very good at nagging Becky - your nagging gets results! Sorry to hear about your foot - ugh.

3:03 PM  

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