Posted by: guinness222 | November 29, 2017

Writing for giggles!

“Writing for giggles” is a term a frustrated writer, like me,  uses to indicate writing for no compensation, or to “further our expertise as a “quasi-professional writer” or “expanding my writing world as I am recognized!” That be me!

The earliest I can remember was shortly after being able to dream, as a child. And so I began, if something struck my fancy, I would pick up pen and take to writing. As I wrote, I learned how much more I had to learn to be a writer! But the long term result was still the same, practice, practice, and even more practice! As a Freshman in High School, in 1959, I agreed, actually requested to write, for a semi-scientific school science publication in the early 60’s. The name of the publication was “The Fermi Quarterly” supervised by Brother Bauer, the chemistry teacher at my school, Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. I passed on the school newspaper, the yearbook, etc. because I enjoyed writing “my way”, lots of research, flexible  deadlines, and very little revision.

My first “assignment” was to write an  article on the level of destruction within a 20-40 mile radius of detonation from a 5 mega-ton atomic Bomb, but I would not not be denied. With  the amount of time I spent in the Boston Public Library researching and documenting my research, it was truly Hurculean! (You have to remember this was a mere 17 years after we first knew there was such a thing as an “Atomic Bomb”,….my research was impeccable, and massive for what was available at the time to the general public. I was so proud of it I figured that even if I wrote it with one of the old “fat” crayons on a paper bag,….well, I had left a meaningful mark on the world for posterity. And it was published in o ver 3,000 copies for various science classes, etc.

My mother was very sickly in my younger days. She had contracted polio in 1946, spent time in an “iron lung”, and it occurred just after getting pregnant with my little sister Judy. Who was born in 1947 in January. The only side effect for my sister Judy was a complete, or minimal coating of enamel on her teeth, which put her in dentures and braces, etc. from 8-11 years old. To this day trying to find a picture of her with ANY smile was, and is like trying to score a trillion dollar lottery prize with one “quick pick” ticket. My dad did all the cooking, cleaning and housework. (In a lot of respects he was easy. My sister Judy, loved sandwiches of Miracle whip, and I loved plain buttered white bread with regular table sugar sprinkled liberally over it,….YUM!)

As I grew older I started keeping those memories in the dark recesses of my brain as I grew up. Even today I can conjure them up pretty accurately when I want, and sometimes out of the blue, to which my wife of 50 years, says “What are you talking about”, or “Where did that come from? (Thank you God for such a powerful computer between my ears from the 1945 period to now! (Sure wish you sent an instruction manual with it!!)

All went well, until I went to college, Bridgewater State College, 1962, it was a teacher’s College until a couple years before, then Massachusetts decided they didn’t need as many strictly “teacher’s” colleges. So they converted about five or six of them to full Colleges, with more majors, teachers, classrooms, etc. I was going to major in English and History,…..until I took my first English course! The very first assignment was to write a paper on the ( Similarities and Differences between Tragedy and Drama”),….Ooops! But I went home took the entire week, and wrote my heart out after researching and writing for what seemed like forty hours of my life,…in one five day week!

I eagerly awaited the return of the graded article and the joy it would bring me. The following week after I turned it in I got it back on Friday,…..in red, on the top of the page was “F”! I don’t think I have ever been so angry in my life,….it was bordering on “MAD!!

I wet to see the instructor, and she said it was a grammar exercise, in a creative writing format. I`!! She was obviously not a good teacher and did not care if the CONTENT was flawlessly accurate, and documented! So I dropped her course, and eventually dropped out of College in December 1962.

Here we are 55 years later, and I’m sure she has probably died, but to this day I still think Content is 85% of the “grade” of all writing, 15% the remainder!! Perhaps that has been my motivation to continue to write! Not only that, but currently “apps” like Grammarly and auto correcting apps, cover the English 101 courses MAJOR goals.

I’ve been published in several different Newspapers, without a single comma, period, or bit of grammar being changed by the editors! Granted they were monthlies, then weeklies, then finally dailies,…..but my words were out there for the whole world to read,….that was the objective, ….not Pulitzers, commissions, or bonuses! That is enough for a serious writer,…….or so I though for 72 years,……but as I grow up , at 72, I think I’d like to have some monetary recognition of my hard worked for talents! Particularly since I really can’t afford to “retire” as the money and the normal cost of living preclude it.

The bigger question is how do I make it pay, not a fortune, but enough to make life more than franks n’ beans! That is the long explanation of what “Writing for Giggles” is all about today.

And I must say my fifth grade Nun, Sister Alice, taught me well how to diagram a sentence and check for improvments. But the bigger problem, which I think began back in the 60’s were the lack of real teachers, but the marathon “ to put your time in and grab the retirement and pension” became the goal and not the VOCATION of teaching, and helping children aspire to learn more,……not just get “passed” to the next grade. (And now they don’t even worry about that, because you almost have to get arrested for indecent exposure or paying for someone to do your papers and paying cash!!

The good old days of belief and motivation and career choice are gone, now it’s “how much money can I make,and do I have to REALLY work a full week of 40 hours, and how many sick days and optional days do I get, ….and how many free stock options are involved?

Just sayin’ , It ain’t like it used to be!!

-30-

 


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