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Not Letting Go, Part 1 #MondayBlogs

Several months ago I went on a trip down memory lane, posting images of work I did during my college years. Click here if you want to read/reread that post.  I’ll wait.

Well, here I go again, and this time a little further back in time.  1976.  Spring semester at the community college I was attending.  I had joined a literary guild the year before, and every year we published one or two volumes of a journal.


The guild was a very, very nice group of students with a faculty adviser.  They welcomed me immediately, were kind and tender with my highly sensitive nature, and were my first introduction to professional criticism.  Mrs. Hazel Swartz, the adviser, adopted each one of us.  We frequently had meetings at her house, and once she took me to dinner to explain to me why “peeping” wasn’t the best word to use when describing the sun coming up over a mountain.


It was a very small world I lived in.  I quickly learned that my next-door neighbor had had the dubious pleasure of teaching Hazel to drive a stick-shift many decades before.  I remember he said something about fearing for his life as they sped up and down the hills of Queen Anne Road.  Few of the students were from my neck-of-the-woods, so to me they were savvy world travelers, even if they had only come from as far as Long Island.  They seemed so much older, wiser, and sophisticated than me.  I had a crush on one, a poet who seemed to genuinely like my writing.  But, of course, I  thought he was too good for me so I took up with someone else.  That was unfortunate.  My first lover could have been a poet.  Instead I wound up with a narcissistic, emotionally abusive loser.  Ah, the idiocies of youth!

Anyway, for the last almost 40 years, I’ve carried from my home in upstate New York to various apartments in California and finally to my house in Florida two volumes of our journal.  The second one is my favorite.


With this one, I was starting to feel like a writer.  Recently I sat down and leafed through the contents, cringing at some of my feeble attempts at poetry and fiction writing.  But I paused at one bit of prose.  It’s not fiction because the people and the circumstance were real.  But, in this piece, more than any other, I recognize my voice.


Those very early years, 1975-1976, I could imagine only being a writer.  I had no imagination for any other kind of employment.  I was naive, ignorant, but I was who I still am.

Categories: Writing about writing

Tagged as:

Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

34 replies

    1. Thanks, Jill! I had totally forgotten about that piece until I came across this weekend. I was writing about a friend of mine and it still moves me how strongly I felt about her situation.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. That is so awesome! I love, love, love . . . okay, ADORE old books and memories and journals. Just looking at those pictures makes me almost be able to smell it! And I actually like looking back on my life and remembering a time before authoring was a business. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Katie! I was happy I could scan the original journal and keep all the age-related stains and rough handling. Better than my own notebooks is to see the names of the other students and read their work. Talk about memories flooding back! I bet you do miss those times before your writing became a business. Marketing has a way of taking the joy out of things. By the way, I might have to resubscribe to your blog. According to WordPress, I’m subscribed for Instant posts, but I haven’t gotten notifications of your posts in a very long while. Even those I see you on Facebook, I miss those notices about your posts. Probably just a WP hiccup. Thanks for coming by!


    1. Thanks, Susan! It is a validating experience to read something from so long ago and realize that “it” was there all the time.


  2. This is a fantastic bit of writing Marie, and it totally reads as a piece of fiction. If you don’t want it as part of a novel I would incorporate it in a short story. If you’re having trouble because it’s based on real life, just imagine it as a fictitious character and you might find it easier to run with. Great stuff, and thanks for sharing it with us:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, A.K.! I really appreciate the encourage. I hadn’t thought about turning it into a longer piece. You’re right that I could just imagine everyone as fictional characters … shouldn’t be hard to do since it’s been 40 years and I haven’t had any contact with them since I left. I need to run with this!


  3. I’m glad you’ve hung on to the old stuff, Marie. It’s a little like meeting your young self on the street and smiling wisely at the journey that lies ahead for her…

    I have a bunch of things I can’t bear to part with too, but I also can’t bear to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was very selected about the piece I chose to share 😉 And probably also because it was one page. The short stories are still hard for me to get through 😉 I like that image of meeting my young self and actually feeling good about what lies ahead for her. Thank you for that.


    1. Thanks, John! That’s interesting that you thought the husband was narrating the story. It was actually me. I was her babysitter. BUT I like the idea of the husband narrating … you’ve give me an idea … 😉

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t think you missed anything. You just had a different (and intriguing) interpretation of the narrator. Nobody else identified the narrator in their comments, so maybe everybody thought it was the husband 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. High five! I too married an emotionally abusive narcissistic… Not to be facetious though. It just always is amazing the things us bloggers can commiserate over. Your Tupperware Lady story makes me think back to the first and only story I had published in a legit literary journal. I need to aim for more of that in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. High five! I didn’t marry the lout but hung with him enough to do some serious damage to myself. They are so predatory too. Like they can smell your innocence and naivete. Do aim for publishing in a literary journal. No matter how small it may be, it’s also great to see your writing in print.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love Tupperware Lady, thanks for sharing it with us. Also brings me back to the days of those home parties. I have recently started working on a short story I wrote over 20 years ago. I had then the same style and voice I have now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I think it is so interesting that we can pick up something we started writing decades ago and still hear our voice. Like there’s a part of us that is always there regardless of changes on the outside.

      Liked by 1 person

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