Wednesday, January 8, 2020

IWSG: Wednesday, January 8, 2020 ~ First Scribbles






It's the first Wednesday of the month,
the day that members of the
Insecure Writer's Support Group
share their writing struggles
and writing successes
and offer their encouragement
and support to fellow writers.






To visit the IWSG website, click here.

To become a member of the IWSG, click here.

Our wonderful co-hosts who are volunteering today,
along with IWSG founder Alex Cavanaugh are:
T. Powell Coltrin,  Victoria Marie Lees, Stephen Trump, and Renee Scattergood,
and J. H. Moncrieff. 

I hope you have a chance to visit today's hosts and thank them for co-hosting.
I'm sure they would appreciate a visit and an encouraging comment.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Every month the IWSG announces a question that members can answer
with advice, insight, a personal experience, or a story in their IWSG posts.

Or, the question can inspire members
if they aren't sure what to write about on IWSG Day.

Remember the question is optional.
This month's featured question is:

What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write? 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Happy New Year, Everyone!
I hope that each of you has had a good start to 2020;
also, I hope you are filled with optimism and plans for a successful year of writing!

I don't know when it first occurred to me that people wrote.
I grew up in a family where people constantly wrote,
and it was as ordinary and normal for me to see people writing
as it was for me to see my mother washing dishes or my father polishing his shoes.

When my mother was pregnant with me, her first child,
she typed short story after short story on her typewriter.
As her family and responsibilities grew, her time to write stories shrank,
but she continued to write jingles for contests and many letters.
I've often joked that my desire to write began before I was born.

My father wrote as well, usually letters and reports when I was a small child,
writing many an evening at his desk after dinner.
He continued to write throughout his life,
eventually branching into plays for his students to perform.


   
Born to Write
My Mother, Father, and I
Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada, March 1950
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved







First Scribbles
Roy and I Writing Our Names in a Favorite Book
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada 
Circa 1954
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Roy and I at the Time of Our First Scribbles
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada 
Circa late 1953 or early 1954
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




As my parents continued their education, I observed them writing
research papers, speeches and presentations, and even a thesis or two.
My mother often roped me into reading her drafts.
Living in isolated areas and forced to take correspondence courses,
my mother had no one else besides my busy father
and teenaged me to discuss ideas with and to edit her work.

I'm certain that the first thing I ever wrote was a letter.
Letters flew back and forth among my extended family members.
Mail was a big deal, and letters were passed around and enjoyed.
Sometimes the letters included photos,
newspaper clippings, sketches, and hand drawn maps.
To this day, I have filing cabinet drawers filled with precious letters.


Letters Written by My Father
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada 
December 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




My brother, three sisters, and I were encouraged to write
letters from the time we could first scribble;
not just mandatory thank you letters for presents and favors,
but letters narrating the events of our early lives.
Imitating our parents, we sometimes included sketches and maps.
Often we sat down around the kitchen or dining room table
writing alongside our mother, our efforts filling a rainy or snowy afternoon.

Among my collection of extended family letters
are ones written by my siblings and me from early March to early July, 1961.
I always smile when I look at these letters, 
because I feel the love of my parents and see their influence on us.


The Letter Writers
Outside the Fish House
Barbie (left), Bertie and me, Roy, and Donnie
with Lake Trout
Lac Seul, Northern Ontario, Canada 
Summer 1961
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Perhaps Bertie's First "Letter"
Age 2
Lac Seul, Northern Ontario, Canada 
July 27, 1961
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Barbie's "Signature" and Map  
Age 5
Barb signed her letter by tracing dots drawn by my mother,
and she dictated labels for her map which my mother recorded.
Lac Seul, Northern Ontario, Canada 
July 27, 1961
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Donnie's Letter 
Age 7
"This is the picture of our home ~
with a little god and a big god (dogs)
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada 
March 2, 1961
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved







Roy's Letter 
Age 9
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada 
March 2, 1961
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved







Part of My Letter with a Sketch of My Beading Supplies
Age 10
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada 
March 2, 1961
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




I don't remember when I first thought about being a writer.
From my earliest years, I assumed I would write.

I remember the wild stories my brother and I shared throughout our early childhood:
imaginary friends, space adventures, journeys to the center of the Earth,
witches, cowboys and Indians, and living in an eagle's nest.

I remember us, Roy in grade two and I in grade three,
scouring holes and small caves in the basalt cliffs
along the beaches of Margaretsville, Nova Scotia.
Inspired by the Oak Island legends, we searched for pirate treasure.
Our adventures led us to spin tales of pirates on the high seas
and me to draw my first map of our fishing village in school,
adding X-marked potential treasure sites at home.


The Basalt Cliffs of Margaretsville
Margaretsville, Nova Scotia, Canada 
July 25, 2020
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




By grade four I was writing stories about paleontologists and dinosaurs,
by grade five, clam digger mysteries and  scuba diving adventures,
and by grade six my writing exploded into many genres.

I've been writing ever since:  short stories, newspaper articles and features, 
scientific and educational reports, manuscripts, a pitiful poem or two, and a thesis.

And now I have a short story in the upcoming IWSG anthology:  The Third Ghost.
I know my parents would be pleased and proud!


Courtesy of Dancing Lemur Press/Freedom Fox Press




Before closing, I have two requests regarding our latest anthology:

1.  If you know of middle grade reviewers, especially reviewers you have worked with, 
     could you please pass along their names, websites, and email addresses
     to Dancing Lemur Press, and DPL will contact them:
     inquiries@dancinglemurpressllc.com

2.  If you time, would you mind stopping by our IWSG
     Anthology blog.  I'm this year's overseer for the blog,
     and I would like to increase traffic to our blog to support
     our IWSG anthology:  The Third Ghost.  
     Even better, I would appreciate your leaving a comment.
     Thanking you in advance!  
     https://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com






Happy writing in January!






40 comments:

  1. Sounds like it was in you before you were born indeed haha So that is why they never found the oak island treasure, you guys found it with your nifty map and never told anyone, you just sold it all and kept the dough. Geez, how rude lol

    The letters must be great to have and reminisce and look at indeed. Hardly get that these days, although with the price of postage, that may not be a bad thing haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, Pat! Roy and I were convinced that there was pirate treasure in the Margaretsville area! We've sworn each other to secrecy about what we discovered. Good luck Oak Island hunters!!! I'm planning to write more physical letters this year. Emails just aren't the same. And, yes, I think it's great to have all these wonderful letters! All the best to you as you make your rounds this year!

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  2. You grew up with writing, which was a good thing. Kids today don't see their parents write. Or read. Sad.
    Ever find any pirate treasure?

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    1. My lips are sealed regarding pirate treasure, Alex! It is sad that kids don't see their parents writing, let alone reading. I'm very grateful for the examples my parents set. Have a great IWSG Day!

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  3. When I was little, I occasionally saw my mother write a letter. My father, never. We were not a writing-oriented household. But my Mom did emphasize that we should read as many books as we wanted from the library.

    I love seeing all your family photos from when you were little. Your parents look so young in your 1950 baby photo! Because they were!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Debra! You are a gem ~ always encouraging and supportive. Thanks for sharing your memories. Take care!

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  4. You had no choice .... but to write. lol Lucky you. :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I was lucky, N3! Literacy was always valued and modeled in my home while I was growing up. I am grateful and thankful!

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  5. That's so awesome that your parents wrote too and started you in your own writing journey. I love all the pictures of them and your brother that you shared.

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    1. Thanks, Natalie. I had amazing parents. They expected a lot from each of us, but they gave us so much more with their sacrifices and support. Have a great IWSG Day!

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  6. What a wonderful literary world to grow up in! And I love how you still have many of those long ago letters. Such amazing keepsakes!

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Madeline! My family letters, journals, papers, and photos are my most valuable possessions. I feel so close to my parents when I touch them, read them. All the best to you!

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  7. Ah, Louise, I love your posts. I love your stories. Honestly, I could read whatever you write all day long. How do I subscribe to your blog? I have a new webpage, which I'm still trying to figure out. But I had to scrap my last one, along with my blogroll. I need to receive your posts as soon as they're published. Hopefully, you know how I can get your posts automatically???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Joylene! Thank you for your uplifting comment! When I printed off my list of IWSG members last night, I was so excited to see that you were back! I have thought of you often and wondered how you were doing. btw ~ A niece of mine is now living in St. George, and I've ordered your book, "Mâtowak: Woman Who Cries," to thank her for helping me with some French in my anthology story. I think that she will really enjoy it! Hugs to you, my friend!

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  8. Haha, I just scrolled down. Duh, forget what I just asked. I'm subscribing now. I had a grey-hair moment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Joylene! As for grey-hair moments, I have them all the time ~ LOL!

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  9. You have such a wealth of history to write about now, both fiction and non-fiction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, for the encouragement, Diane! Happy IWSG Day!

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  10. My dad wrote all the time, so he influenced me, I think. Plus I liked reading stories. LOVE your photos and stories here.

    Teresa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Theresa! Lucky you to have a father who wrote and influenced you! I love your posts! Thanks for cohosting today. Have fun!

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  11. Oh wow I loved this family history. Wonderful pictures and it sounds like you were indeed born to write. Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Thanks, Julie! I'm so glad that you enjoyed my post! Have a great IWSG Day!

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  12. Happy Writing Louise! I love all the scribbles, I have NOTHING like that from my past! I was never encouraged to write, but I found a love for it later in life.

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    Replies
    1. Thank goodness you did, Rain! Creativity spills out of you in many forms, my talented friend! It's so good to see you! Sending you a big hug!

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  13. I love the family photos. You were really born to it. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Anna! It makes me happy to know when people enjoy my family photos. I always enjoy seeing photos that others share. Wishing you all the best in 2020!

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  14. I don't have many photos of myself as that tiny of an infant. Most of them in the hospital.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Adam! I count myself lucky to have that photo. It's very special to me. Have a good one, my friend!

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  15. Loved the post and the photo's Louise. sorry I'm late .

    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Yvonne! I'm still making the rounds, too. I don't know what it is about IWSG Day, but I usually have other important things happening on that day. I'm glad that you enjoyed my post and photos. You've probably realized how much I love photos! I've visited you in the past two days, but I couldn't figure out how to leave a comment. Technology is often puzzling for me. All the best to you!

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  16. I never thought about writing for publication until I had finished two years of grad school and, during an internship, decided to retake freshman English--all of a sudden the idea of writing stories hit me, due to the instructor's encouragement. I only remember letters being written by my parents--mostly my mother even through my father had to do reports, it was always more technical in nature.

    www.thepulpitandthepen.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Sage!
      I think that it is really cool that you retook freshman English. Beats retaking freshman chemistry in my opinion. Kudos to that instructor for encouraging you. You're a wonderful writer! Have a happy and fulfilling new year!

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  17. I think it is wonderful that you still have all of those old letters, notes, and drawings. You were lucky to grow up in such a wonderful area where your adventures surly spurred your imagination that led to such fantastic stories. And lucky enough to have parents who led by example, reading and writing often that their children naturally picked up on it.

    I saw a laser engraver machine ad on Facebook today, and they engraved a handwritten family recipe on a cutting board. I think something cool like that could also be turned into a fabulous craft with one of your old family letters as well!

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    1. Thanks, Theresa! As an elementary teacher, I could see the impact of literacy and lack of literacy in my students' homes. The more I taught, the more I realized the power of my parents' example. I had an unusual and very rich childhood for which I will always be grateful. The cutting board suggestion is a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing it with me! Have a good one!

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  18. I really enjoyed reading about your writing journey. Writing letters was also big in my family and we wrote letters to far away Aunts and Uncles from quite early on. It's a wonderful habit and I wish we did more of it today.
    Happy New Year.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Kalpana! Thanks for visiting! One of my plans for the year is to write more letters. I miss the practice. All the best to you!

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  19. I often think it's a shame letter writing in this way has gone out of fashion. So much family history and memories can be revisited through these old letters. I found quite a lot of correspondence in my late aunt's possession whilst clearing out her house and I have enjoyed reading them and connecting with the past. I have carefully packed them away for future reading. Lovely post to read.

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne! Letters are a wonderful way to connect with the past. I'm glad that you found your aunt's collection. Have a great 2020!!

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate the time and energy you put into making them very much.