In search of story

January 8.23: Coping, but barely


When I write the first word of something, I have an idea what the last word will be. What a laugh. Writing has its own idea of where it’s going, and it’s rarely where I thought I was steering it.

Ten years ago, when I was 70, I promised myself I would do two things: learn how to bake biscotti, and start a blog. My writing mate Tamara graciously set up the blog for me, and I began, tentatively, intending to write mostly about caregiving, and hoping to learn how to tell a story. In August of 2015 Tamara prodded me to try photos as prompts. I was hooked.

So, as with all my writing, I did not go where I thought I would.

I’ve always been Oddment(s), but the themes have morphed from “Connections” to “Disconnections” to “Coping” to “Coping, but barely,” all reflective of my life and the life around me.

But the subtitled quest remained: In search of story. I can make biscotti, but I still can’t tell a story.

So I ask myself, “What at 80?”


24 thoughts on “January 8.23: Coping, but barely

  1. You just told us the wonderful story of how you started blogging! **checks that off list**
    Isn’t biscotti wonderful to make?! King Arthur Flour has a recipe for biscotti that requires cinnamon bits, so I am on the search for those.

    • King Arthur flour is mine too. Do report on the biscotti with cinnamon bits, please! I have been astounded at the variety in biscotti. Maybe you’re right: there’s story where I don’t see it. I’ll think about that.

  2. Au contraire my friend, you most assuredly can tell a story with your words and vivid descriptions and your photos.

    What at 80? Good stuff! More blogs from you that make me laugh out loud, think and tear up. You generate memories in me, like saddle shoes and sticky buns and my grandma’s bathroom that always smelled of Sweetheart Soap! You tell wonderful stories with your cleverly crafted poems.

    Hell girlfriend, keep on searching for those stories. They’re right there at your fingertips…
    well, wrinkled fingertips! 🥴 I’m 83 Maureen and I couldn’t write a blog if you put a gun to my head and paid me a million dollars. But I sure enjoy reading yours! BTW, I think I heard that 80 is the new 60!

    People like you amaze me….you don’t recognize your own worth.

    • Thank you, Ginger! It’s good to know that shared memories evoke a story. I’ve tried so many times to write an actual narrative and come up blank that it just makes me mad. So 80 is the new 60, eh? That’s a good one!!!

    • Like you disagreed with Oddment, I disagree with you in the best way I can. You write thoughtful, laughter infused comments that most people can’t come up with. I think you could write a blog any day of the week, but you’d suffer along with a lot of us when that muse decides to go on an extended vacation. 🙂

      • Awww, what a kind thing to say my friend. Me thinks my head is getting fat! Damn, I’m going to have to widen all my doorways now!

        I couldn’t deal with what I read from you and Dan and several others as to their/ your dealings with WP. What a nightmare. But I’m so glad you all bite the bullet and keep on blogging because reading all your blogs is the highlight of my days. Yeah, having your muse go on an extended vacation would be the pits. Why couldn’t my mother-in-law have gone on an extended vacation? Several of them?! 🥴

      • I’m thinking now about your comment about that disgruntled-looking statue from Susan that you said looked just like your mother-in-law. You see, Judy is right: you are a blog writer! Your comments are their own blog! A comment blog, by Ginger! (Kind of like “by cracky,” but different.)

      • Hahaha! Maureen you’ve been hitting the sticky buns again, haven’t you? All that sugar has gone straight to your brain and made you crazy! 🥴 With regard to that statue, if I showed you a picture, you would say, “Whoops. My mistake’! 🤪

        BTW, Happy Birthday! 🎉💥🎊🎂🍨☕️ And many more healthy, happy years to come.

  3. Happy birthday, Maureen! Along with your delicious baked goods, you excel at anything you put your hand to including art, gardening, caretaking, mentoring, teaching, writing, and yes, telling a good story. You have inspired me with your creativity and stories ever since I met you in writing class, and I have so valued that connection. Has it really been ten years? Wishing you many more years of storytelling.

    • Thank you, Tamara — for a lot! Yes, it’s been ten years. And what a decade it has been! May the next one be healthier and saner! I thought of you especially the other day: if you can even imagine, I met up with two former students at Porter. We figured it had been about 45 years since we’d seen each other, and it was a joy. Of course Porter and the Fort brought back good memories of meetings of other great minds!

  4. You are a very good storyteller, Maureen. I enjoy the story you told today, and I’d probably enjoy your biscotti. I also enjoy the witty and serious ways you put out the things life piles in front of us along the way. Happy birthday.

    • Thanks, Dan. I don’t see myself as a storyteller, but I’d certainly like to be. It seems to come easy to you. The biscotti has been an education unto itself; I had no idea they were so much fun.

  5. Happy birthday wishes are winging their way to you across the seas. I imagine I may have shared this quote with you before, but the oldies are the besties: ‘A good writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than for other people.’

  6. Happy Birthday, and I’m hoping Ginger is right – 80 is the new 60. 🙂 Each blogger has a style and a point of view. You have your poetry and your photo stories. I enjoy them both and look forward to them arriving in my mailbox. It’s a treat when I see your name, and I know I’ll either learn something like Tamar’s blog, have a good laugh, or maybe even shed a tear. You may not think you tell a good story, but you do. I’m also impressed you can make biscotti because I can’t. Happy Sunday!

    • Thanks, Judy, and happy Sunday to you too! I’m still chuckling over how 80 is the new 60. There was a time when 60 seemed OLD. But what did we know then? As for biscotti, it’s hard to believe that you can’t make them — you are a dessert person through and through. MY kind of person!

  7. On the contrary, you write extremely well! We need tastogram for your biscotti 🙂

    • Thank you! I do wish I could figure out how to tell a story. There’s a special art to that, I’m sure. A tastogram! What a brilliant idea! There are a few of us here who wouldn’t mind such a thing!

  8. Poetry tells a story, so to my mind you are a story teller. You write a story each time you post on your blog.
    Congratulations on a 10 year commitment, Happy Birthday, and here’s to 10 more.
    Now, how about a recipe for your biscotti?

    • Thanks. I’ll have to think about that. I suppose that in a way there’s a story in a poem, and maybe one emerges from several poems, but it isn’t the same as writing a narrative. Perhaps I’ll just have to look more for the narrative in poetry. As for a biscotti recipe, I’ll look for a good one to post! Meanwhile, we’ll wait to hear how Lois’s turned out.

  9. I hope you’re being facetious. You write wonderful stories within your poems.
    Happy Birthday Maureen. May you live until 100 with the intelligence and energy that most people have at 20. (But who would ever want to be 20 again?)

    • I don’t know; I wouldn’t mind having the
      energy I had at 20! As for being facetious, no, not a bit. I cannot write a story! I’ve tried many times, and I get all twisted up. I used to think that perhaps I could manage a short story, but again I’d never seem to get off the ground — I’d just taxi to take-off and be stuck there. So to speak. But thanks, Shirah. I think I don’t feel as though I’m telling a story in my poems, but if a reader senses it that would be wonderful.

      • Readers definitely sense that. I remember what you wrote about your parents and, I believe, your aunt, years ago. I still remember your father’s sundowning and your parents’ idiosyncrasies. Those were stories in themselves, but I understand that you were so intimately involved with them – and the end of their lives – it was probably impossible for you to appreciate their potential. I continue to wish there were a way to collect all of your blog posts in small volumes. I don’t comment often, but I have found so much pleasure and enjoyment – and pause – in following nearly each one.

      • That means a lot, Shirah — thank you. You are very right about how a writer can be too close to what she’s writing. Readers bring a different perspective, of course., and the reader’s sense is often missed by the writer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.