Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thoughts From A Retired Freelance Writer

Does someone who has handled words most of her adult life retire to her easy chair and never think of taking up pen and pencil--or easier yet--lean back with a laptop and only play games? What about all the words penned up in my mind? Have they now nowhere to go? Do my observations on life or nature or any of the other things that have been part of my vocation simply disappear? Does my wonderment at the sheer beauty of a Harvest Moon go unrequited when my mind starts fashioning words so that the one who didn't see it might glimpse the beauty of it in his or her mind?

What do I do with the thoughts that rush into my brain when I'm in the deepest dark of the mountains, looking at a night sky filled with stars too many to count and know that God says He gave each one of them a name? I look at all the twinkling lights and wonder how many names does God have in His "What To Name The Stars" book and why don't we know all of them? Hey, I do good just to find the Big and Little Dippers. And anyway, even if I did know all of their names, would I even remember them?  I have a hard enough time with the Duggar family. I can't remember all of their names either, and they are far less than the heavenly stars. Albeit not by much.

I've finally come to the conclusion that writers retire in word only. It's true I take on no more assignments, meet no more deadlines, send out no manuscripts to be fact checked by the ones who have important initials after their names and from whom I've already picked their brains till they cried "mercy." Yet my thoughts still accumulate, unabated, even though I wish them not to. Without any help from me, my mind begins forming thoughts, sentences, and a voice. Sometimes, I scribble the thoughts that come; most of the time I ignore them. What use are they? I'm retired. I no longer work for a living. I've paid my dues, published enough for two lifetimes, and am ready to forget I ever knew a typewriter or computer with its annoying, blinking cursor that waits impatiently for me to type another character.

I do my best to drown out all thoughts of going back to work, even part time. I'm old now, old enough to have pain where I used to be strong, eyes that tire easily, even though I wear super powerful glasses--which happen to be bullet proof plastic because the optomitrist said if they were cast of glass my nose wouldn't be strong enough to hold them up. I figure if I ever get caught in a gun fight, I can whip off the glasses, look to see where on my body the gun is pointed, and hold the glasses over that part of me. I don't know. It could work.

 And whereas I used to have a deliberate writing schedule, now I have no schedule at all--except to feed the cats when I get up because if I don't the four of them follow me all around the house, mewing at my feet. That can be annoying, especially if I've had no coffee yet. The furry critters that are so adorable the rest of the day look (to my non-functioning mind) like those scary cats from Pet Sematary. They stay like that until fed and I'm full of fresh coffee from Kenya. That's when we all become friends again. I admit that we are a strange lot.

Because I no longer want the stress of deadlines and have no wish to travel without my husband (who is now with the Lord) or spend long hours on the telephone interviewing the initialed experts who are familiar with the subject I've been assigned, I've done nothing which I would term "writing" to any degree. Even so, there has been this niggling thought that comes and goes, enticing me to become a blogger. I resisted the whole scenario untill two FaceBook friends encouraged me to give it a try. One even gave me his phone number so I could call him for help in setting it up.

So here I am. I have no axes to grind, no special talents, nothing really important to say. Yet now and again, I have opinions or thoughts or memories that come upon me nearly full-blown and almost demand to be recorded. I can't explain why. I'm honestly no one of importance on this earth. I'm just a short old lady who misses her husband more than can be said, who has two children and seven grandchildren whom I love dearly, and who uses a walker to get around, courtesy of four spinal surgeries that never made my original problem better, but worse. My hair has grayed to nearly a blonde, my teeth are all still my originals, though when I asked my dentist if we could do anything to brighten up my smile, he remarked that I'd brushed off all the enamel, which couldn't be replaced. Then he went on the remind me that my teeth were old and had been used a long time so what else could I expect? I smiled. He is a great dentist and knows I have no dental insurance so he charges me way less and lets me pay it off as I can--without interest. For that, he can say anything he wants.

 Time has taken its toll on what is visible. Yet the invisible continues, sometimes  nearly into overdrive. That gray matter I call a brain doesn't like being retired and I appear to have no control over it because I've told it to shut-up and be quiet over and over again. So now I'm here. I don't have any theme. I'll just write whatever comes to mind that I feel may be interesting to friends or family.  If I flop, I flop. It won't be the first time and I'm pretty sure it won't be the last.

That's all folks!

Copyright by Sandra L Keith 2011


  1. Glad you decided to blog! I think you'll enjoy it. And I know you'll maker some great new friends! Welcome to the blogosphere! Love, Michelle

  2. Nice post, Sandy! I look forward to reading more of your thoughts and ramblings!


  3. welcome sandy:) you definitely are NOT a woman of no talents. writing IS a talent...and you do it well:) it is a great way to keep your mind active. with your experience in parenting and grandparenting, i'm sure you have plenty to say that could encourage the many mommies here in the blogosphere. that was what motivated me to blog...i've never been a writer b/f this! i've met a lot of great people, encouraged a few and learned a LOT about blogging and working on the internet. some of your observations re widowhood would be helpful to the younger set too. helps put present problems in perspective:(
    i'll stop rambling and pass on the one piece of advice my daughter keeps passing on to me: DON'T SELL YOURSELF SHORT. what you have to say is worth hearing. God didn't take you through all your life experiences for you not to pass what you learned on in a meaningful way. thanks for starting your blog:)

  4. Welcome to the blogosphere, Sandy! Although I am not a writer by trade (or talent maybe!), I recognized much of myself in your words. The floating thoughts that just have to be written before they disappear...

    I look forward to reading more from you. :)

  5. well gram, it's pretty obvious where i got my ability with words from :)

    and you are awesome :)

    and i miss you.

  6. So good to "meet" you Sandy! Welcome to blogging! This will be a new adventure for you. I look forward to reading your words.

  7. Welcome Sandy! Writing can not be limited to just a job, or just a career writing just *IS*! :) It is who you are in the depths of your being, it is a gift God created in you. I am so glad God spoke to your heart and said..."Don't set aside the gift I gave you."

    You write and we will listen. You will never find a more supportive community. :)So again welcome Sandy, reach out if you need help navigating the blogging waters.

    Happy Sunday to you!

    co-author of At The Picket Fence

  8. "Some Girl" says I should follow you. I think she's right. :)

  9. I liked reading your blog Sandy and I'm very thankful for the socks that you were so kind to send to me while I was in Iraq. You are an incredible person with a heart full of kindness. I'm so glad that I was afforded the opportunity to meet you and Jim in person last December. I look forward to more of your thoughts and ramblings.