As my title states, I hope I have grown, not only as a person, but also as a writer. Ten years ago I was attending college working towards my AA Degree. At that time my goal was to open a board and care facility for the elderly. Since then things have changed. I had just started my final semester and one of the classes I was taking was English Composition 101. Two weeks into this class my brother passed away suddenly. Instead of stopping right there and taking the semester off, I decided I would get through. It would have been what my brother would have wanted. As it was we had lost our mom during my first semester that I started attending college, just a year and a half before my brother. So in honor of my brother I had decided that every assignment I was given in my English class would either revolve around him or he would be mentioned in the assignment at some point. One of the assignments was to write a story showing opposites. I decided to write about people I knew that were listeners and talkers. Recently I found my story sitting on the shelf where it has been for the past ten years. Reading back through it I can't believe that I had written something so badly and that the professor actually gave me an "A" on it. As I reread it, I found that it really wasn't a story, but more of a statement of facts. Yes there are a couple of interesting lines, but as a reader it really would not have held my attention. Keep in mind that at the time, the thought of being a writer had never crossed my mind and that I was dealing with the emotional aspects of losing my brother. My goal at that time was just to muddle through and graduate.
The people in my story are real people. A couple have passed away, there have been divorces, people that were thought to be strong and assertive, sweet and kind (nephew in law) turned out to be not so sweet and kind, and crabby and sullen people have changed over the years.
I am embarrassed by my writing skills at that time in my life, but feel the need to share and to hope that I have grown not only as a writer, but also as a person. Here's my story exactly as it was written March 9, 2001.
People I Know
The people I know consist of my family and friends. These people are interchangeable. I consider my family friends and my friends are a part of my family. They are all unique and special in their own way. They all fall into two main categories, which consist of several smaller categories.
The two main categories are listeners and talkers. The sub categories are their personalities. There are not as many listeners as there are talkers. First, I will describe the listeners. My son Bobby has an upbeat type of personality. He is generally congenial and considered a good listener. My son Adam is the quiet type. He always seems to be in a good mood. He gives you that impression, because he is always whistling and singing. I also see him as the strong, silent type and you never know what he is thinking or feeling. My niece Lorie looks like "the dumb blond" type, yet she is quiet and intelligent. My soon to be nephew in law is strong and assertive. He also is kind and gentle. My niece Stacy is a giver and taker. Normally she does not come around unless she needs something. She feels she needs me to lean on, but what she does not know, is that I get a lot of my strength from her. The last listener on my list is Cindy. Cindy is my best friend. She is always there when I need her. She is one of the best listeners I know. She is sweet and kind and always there to lend a shoulder to cry on. That is it for the listeners. Let us move on to the talkers.
The talkers are an interesting group of people. Normally, people who are talkers, are often complainers as well. They have problems. And they want you to know about these problems. My sister Joyce is always smiling. People are attracted to her like bees to flowers. Once you get to know her you find that she has a multitude of problems that she likes to talk about. Joyce's son Anthony is not actually a complainer. He gives the impression that he is lonely and that nobody ever listens to him. My nephew Freddie talks, mainly because he has a guilty conscience and can not handle silence. All you have to do is look at him and he will say, "What? I didn't do it." My son Jarrod constantly talks. He likes to be heard. He can talk about anything and everything. My great niece RaeAnna and my great nephew Andrew are small children who talk to be noticed and get attention. The award for the most talkative in my family goes to my sister Linda. Linda is sullen and crabby. She feels the world owes her something. When she talks. she expects you to listen. When the phone rings at my house we all say to each other, "You get it, I got it the last time." The reason for this is Linda calls constantly to borrow money or complain. One time Linda had called. My brother Bruce had answered the phone. After ten minutes of listening to her complain he quietly handed me the phone.He told me to listen for awhile. Bruce told me to throw in a couple of uh-huh's every now and then and Linda would not know the difference. After five minutes Linda said, "Bruce are you listening to me?" I could not help it I started laughing. Then Linda said, "Who is this?" I told her it was me. She then proceeded to ask, in a very shrill voice "What are you doing?" Finally she got mad and hung up the phone. That is all my talkers. Imagine the stories I could tell if they would just give me a chance to speak.
There are two people that could not be put in either list. They are Bob and my brother Bruce. Bob could not fit in the listeners list because he is not a good listener. He either does not pay attention to what I'm saying or he misunderstands what I say. As for talking, he seldom speaks to me. Bruce would have fit in both groups. He was a great listener. You could tell him anything. He was also a great talker. He could sense when a person was in a bad mood. He knew when to speak and when to be quiet. He always had a kind word.
That is my listeners and talkers. I hope you enjoyed them.
NOTE: I typed this up exactly how I had turned it in 10 years ago. I will stay with writing fiction, where I can mold and shape the characters the way I want them to be. And leave the non-fiction to others.
Wishing each and everyone of you a very happy and productive day. Keep smiling and writing!