My pop was a writer. Back in the 1940s he was one of the script writers for a radio soap opera called “Linda’s First Love.” In an earlier blog, I wrote about how he, my sister Bertie and I used to use the test pressings of the show’s episodes for target practice. Pop always used to tell us that he was the one responsible for turning the radio drama into a comedy. I was surprised to see that episodes from this show are for sale online from an outfit called Old Time Radio Catalog.
Later on he even wrote a couple of plays for Playhouse 90 and Kraft Theater, the big TV dramas of the 1950s. But Pop was a heavy drinker, and his writing career gradually fizzled out because of it.
However, I think some of his love for writing rubbed off on me, because I started writing a lot when I was in school. I remember entering a writing contest when I was in junior high. I won first prize for writing about why I couldn’t think of anything to write about.
I never could make up a story, but I liked writing about people, places and things. When I was in high school I wrote a fifty-page paper on the Russian Revolution. The subject fascinated me, especially all the stuff about Rasputin. Lucky for me, the two janitors in our school, Steve (Stefan) and Helen (Helena) had both lived through the revolution and had plenty of stories to tell. Who knows how accurate the stories were, but I had a grand time sitting in the school boiler room after classes every day and interviewing them about their exciting adventures. The teacher gave me an A+ for my efforts.
Later on when I became a journalist, I found that interviewing people and writing about them came easily and I really enjoyed it. Every now and then I’d think, “Gee, I’d love to write a short story or a novel,” but I could never come up with a single idea, let alone a plot. I have great respect for people who can just dream up stories out of their heads!
Writing the story of my life is like interviewing someone (myself) and then writing it up. I don’t have to make up a plot, I just have to try to remember as much as I can, and then stick in some dialog here and there. I’m really loving it, because it’s as close as I’ll ever get to writing a novel.
Links to previous posts mentioned in this one: