Saturday, April 5, 2014

School's Out

My "Write Your Own Life Story" class is over. It was an interesting course, taught at a branch of our local community college. We had to write stories every week based loosely on a suggested topic and then read them aloud in our once a week class to our instructor and classmates. No grading other than the instructor correcting syntax and spelling. And there was no criticism from classmates allowed but if anybody had a story that sucked, the critique of silence was sometimes deafening. I wan't the youngest in the class, maybe the lower 25% in age but, duh, you wouldn't expect very young people to have an interest in writing a life story when their life is just beginning! That's what I figured, anyway. Ages ranged from high fifties to mid eighties. Some of the stories from the older ones were pretty interesting. We were limited to six pages maximum, double spaced Ariel, font twelve. With my motor-mouth typing and vast knowledge of Microsoft Word, it didn't take long to fill up six pages so it was not only a creative writing effort, it turned into an exercise in editing, too as I had to keep condensing to stay within the limits. 

Our teacher was 83 years old. She could talk your ear off and did so many times. Our two and a half hour weekly class almost always extended to three and a half, largely because she had a ton of comments to make. But she was good. I learned a lot. And wrote seven stories about my life which I can use as a start for my memoirs. One thing I'm going to miss about the class is the forced deadlines. I was pretty faithful about writing at the beginning of the week and finishing up editing by Wednesdays in preparation for the class on Fridays. Now that we have completed the course, I'm still writing but without that deadline schedule my writing production has slacked off. I'm weak and undisciplined, what can I say?

Our teacher also exposed us to writing groups in the area.  Some of us attended a reading by local authors who belong to a writer's group sponsored by our local library.  And a local church was auditioning local writers for a presentation of stories to be read later this month, called "In Their Own Write."  I saw the advertisement in the paper seeking writers to audition but didn't think my little six-page glimpses of my life were appropriate. My teacher persuaded me otherwise. So I auditioned and will be reading one of my stories along with about ten other local writers on April 25th. That should be interesting. 

So, as predicted last January when I announced I would probably not be posting much since I was going back to school, I have pretty much put genealogy research on the side for the last three months.  I've made a few stabs here and there on my files but, obviously no posting here in this blog.  One genealogy related event that took place in January is my cousin from Arizona sent me the two fifes that belonged to our great great grandfather, John Currier of Langdon, NH.  John enlisted in the Union Army in October, 1861 and was discharged in November the following year.  He enlisted as a musician and was promoted to "Full Principal Musician" after one month of service. He must have been pretty good playing the fife to serve a whole year with musician as his military occupational specialty. 

Anyway, I'm attaching photos of the fifes on display in my office. I have some "horseshoe nail" hooks on order from Amazon and plan to display the fifes on the wall of my office along with shelves to display the two daguerreotype images I have of John in his military uniform. 

Along with these items I also have about twenty of John Currier's diaries from 1865 through 1883. I feel so privileged to have these pieces of John's life. I'm hoping my memoirs will give one of my descendants the same pleasure. 

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