On the Upbeat, Positively Carolan

What We Say and Save …

1st Book -- smSome time ago I decided I must part with a big grey metal filing cabinet. And although it contained many years’ worth of saved articles — both by me and of interest to me — it had become a bedroom eyesore. Ah but I could not dispose of it without conscientiously examining every single document in its bowels.

Of course I pitched a lot into the trash. But after that, the proverbial treasure trove of forgotten material! For openers, “The Writing Life,” a piece I wrote in 1990 for Portland’s Willamette Writers newsletter — an active writers’ organization I had previously had the privilege of presiding over.

I was surprised, as I often am, by some of it …
I started writing when I was 10. I wrote everything and everywhere I could. I loved it and they said I was good. I wrote book reports, letters, even my first ad. And I wrote my first requested piece – an 8th grade class history. Then on to writing for school papers and yearbooks.

Much later, as a divorcee in search of my “self,” it dawned on me that maybe – just maybe – I could earn money writing!

I have to admit it’s taken more than just that click of the proverbial lightbulb. Along the way I perfected the secretarial art, counseled in an employment agency, did promotion in an airline office, traveled, got out of marriages, promoted and marketed real estate, paid my dues in an advertising agency, developed a raft of interests and abilities.

An interest in jazz led me to freelancing, promotion and a bit of agenting in that way-out world. And voila! “The First Book of Oregon Jazz, Rock & All Sorts of Music” was published in 1982. I promptly went broke, but I learned a lot, got critical acclaim and gratitude from musicians.

I also lost the copyright on my book (due to lack of knowledge) and besides I needed to redefine my “self” so I joined Willamette Writers. And ta-da! At last I discovered that the one unbroken thread through my life was marketing and promotion. Not only could I write, but I seemed to innately know how to peddle someone’s skills, the way to promote a band, a musician, a book, a writer.

Well, the piece went on and obviously I’ve gone on. But the final lines of the piece still hold so true:

Remember to take time to live life, have fun, learn about everything. Write to live – but also LIVE in order to write.


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