Writing 101 – Why I Write

Writing is my creative outlet. I write because I have stories to tell – life stories – my story. While I was waiting for this blogging U course to start, I had a crazy idea of capturing one year of my life for each day on my way to a significant birthday toward the end of October. I began that project on August 22nd and I ‘m only a few days off schedule. By the time I turn 60 on October 20th I will have captured my entire life story.

The exercise has prompted me to write every day. Not only to write – but to want to write. If I have something to do at night and I don’t get to write – I get grumpy and out of sorts and I can’t wait to get home the next day and start writing. I plan to continue writing my life story while taking Writing 101 so you will probably get to know more about me than you bargained for. I hope to weave the Writing 101 assignment into my remembrance of the year I am writing about some of the time but at other times, it will probably mean two separate posts.

One of the things I struggle with as a writer is the constant re-reading and rewriting to make sure that what I write is “good enough.” I hope to overcome some of the internal critic and JUST DO IT – JUST WRITE.

I also write to capture the stories that are revealed by the writings of my grandfather Joseph Bush Kingsbury. If you see a reference to JBK in my writing that’s my paternal grandfather – a very important person in my life. He was a political science professor at Indiana University and a lifetime writer. I have many of his writings, which span most of the 1900s, including his account of being stranded in Europe at the outbreak of WWI after going there for a summer trip before his senior year in college. JBK was born in 1890 and died in 1983. I write to share many of his observations of the world and his family. I write to share his stories with my cousins and our children, but his writings appeal to a wider audience. I write to share JBK with the world.

The Kingsbury family wrote a family letter that made the rounds among the five Kingsbury brothers who were born in Osage, Iowa in the late 1800s. it was their way of keeping in touch with one another when they spread out all over this country (and sometimes the world.) The first person wrote about what was going on in his life and with his family and sent it on to the next person who added his letter and sent it to the next. When the letter got back to the person who started it, he took out his earlier letter, inserted a new update and sent the letter on its way. Some years there may only be four entries from each person but usually the letter made its way around in about two months. I have all of JBK’s contributions to the family letter for most of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s and I use them to reconstruct what was going on in my life at certain times. And really – who doesn’t want to know what they were like at the various stages of their life from infancy through adulthood. Especially when it told from the perspective of a doting grandfather!

So that’s why I write. I want to share the stories of my life and those of my ancestors. I want to leave the kind of legacy for my descendants that JBK left for me. I write to connect with others and WordPress Blogging U courses have been a great way to do that.

I write so much that I initially started four blogs but I’ve trimmed that down to this one – All Things Kalen – Gathering Stories and the blog I write about my husband’s Italian immigrant ancestors – Trovando Famiglia. Through Trovando Famiglia (and a little help from his DNA test) we’ve connected with relatives my husband never knew about and we’ve learned about his grandfather and great grandparents. His great grandparents immigrated to western PA in the late 1800s from Abruzzo, Italy.

I write to practice what I hope will be my “retirement job.” I still work full-time but as I approach 60 I realize that I may want to stop working at some point in the next ten years. Until then, I have to balance my writing with the daily demands of work, but still I write.

I write so people will know who I am – I write so that I will know who I am – I write because I am.


7 thoughts on “Writing 101 – Why I Write

  1. Writing in retirement is marvelous. You have something great to look forward to. I was writing while working full time, and I managed to squeeze it in. Sometimes the time pressure made me focus more quickly. Keep writing, no matter what! You’ll always have an audience at WordPress.


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