My grandmother wanted me to be a writer. More accurately, she wanted me to just write, because she thought I had “gift” for it (her words, not mine. I’m not trying to boast). This is all fine as I actually do like writing. I tend not to because I always feel like I don’t have anything to say, nothing worth saying or am hyper-critical of anything I do manage to get down on paper. My grandmother passed away three weeks ago. This is why I’m writing.
In reality, the writer of the family was my grandmother. She published three novels and three children’s books on Amazon Kindle and had another three or four novels that were in various stages of editing/preparation for publishing. I’ve only read bits and pieces of these books. Occasionally, I would help her with syntax and phrasing of things but our writing styles were/are very different. My words tend to come out like my thought processes; sometimes more flowery and philosophical than others, and more often than not, a stream of fragmented phrases and thoughts at times only intelligible to myself. One thing we both have in common, run-on sentences. We both love run-on sentences!
I cannot express how terrible I feel never having read her books while she was alive. I’ve lost count of how many times she asked me to. I feel like I let her down. Logically, I know she understands. The subject matter didn’t interest me much. I’m not the voracious reader that she was and the books that I do read lean more towards thrillers, detective/mystery, and sci-fi/fantasy novels. The occasional book of poetry (here’s lookin’ at you Chuck Bukowski) smattered somewhere in-between. I have little to no affection for romance novels or books of the like, save for Jane Austen. (It’s here that I admit that I did read Fifty Shades of Gray, but only the first one, and only because I bent to peer pressure.)
It’s because of my grandmother’s writing that she’s so inspirational to me – one of the reasons. It was something she’d always wanted to do and she’d had this story in her head for who knows how long. At the age of 65 (give or take a few, my memory is not keen on those details) she started writing. She continued writing right up until she got sick. Seven novels that have become the Costly Secrets Saga and three children’s books make up her repertoire. Not to mention the other stories and ideas that floated around the landing deck never to reach paper.
Inspiration. She wanted to write for so long but for various reasons – life – never did. I don’t remember the catalyst or the day she started writing because writing encompasses most of my memories over the last six or seven years, but I remember the writing. I remember how excited and alive she would get talking about her characters. How every conversation was steered back to Jonathan and Arianna or Ms. Margaret and Racine.
I remember the research. Places in Italy, Sicily, and Kentucky. I remember the incessant computer questions because she’d never used a laptop before. I remember the three to four hours every day that she would carve out of her schedule and dedicate to writing; ensconced in her bedroom and later, her little alcove of an office, typing away. I remember wishing that I felt such dedication and purpose for something. Such persistence and affection for something that I didn’t quit and let it consume me.
I’m only writing this because she wanted me to write. I’m writing this because I owe it to my grandmother – who I love more than the air in my lungs or the stars in the sky – to try and for once, let something consume me.
For more information about my grandmother’s books, click here.