Reading & Writing a Life

Carla Pineda's blog

This Thing Called Writing

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I was cleaning off one of the surfaces in my house covered with…guess what?  Yep, books and I came across one I had completely forgotten I had.  And, it was a book on writing…“Naked, Drunk, and Writing: Writing Essays and Memoirs for Love and for Money” by Adair Lara.  With such a catchy title I would think I would remember it.  Sometimes I think I buy books like this because I think I’ll find the magic formula for helping me write the perfect piece.  After all, these writers are in print…they must know something that I don’t, right?  Yet, when I start to flip through the pages and look things over I find there are, yes, some new things, but more often reminders of things I already know about this mysterious thing called writing…which isn’t really very mysterious at all.  It’s more about putting my fingers on the keyboard or picking up my pen and going for it.  Books I’ve read and writers I know just say, “do it”.  Practice, practice, practice!!  Revise, proof, edit, write some more, revise, proof, edit.  Funny, when I honor the practice I have so much more fun than when I get caught up in an end result or preconceived notion of what I should be writing or what it should end up being.  If it’s going to become something for publication or I decide I want to take it in that direction there will be a time for that.  (and it can still be fun!!).

My grandmother, Minnie, as she was known to us, was a writer.  I remember her sitting at her little metal typing table, the side wings extended to hold her onion skin papers (always with a carbon).  She typed on a manual typewriter, her long delicate fingers stroking keys with the same percision with which they played the violin.  Her typing eraser was neatly placed on one side with a sharpened red pencil for editing and correcting.  Her process was a meticulous one or so it seemed to me through 13 year old eyes.  I do not know if she ever had anything published but I do know she was faithful to a practice and discipline of writing that I admire; although she was such an intense and serious person that I can’t say if she had fun with it or not.  Maybe it brought her a joy none of  us could see.   All I know is I am thankful for her legacy; for the love of  words and writing passed on to me, her granddaughter.   Such a blessing!  Who in your life has passed the love of writing on to you?



Author: carladpineda

a woman whose life has been shaped by reading and writing

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