Are We Drinking and Writing More?

My grandmother didn’t drink and woe betide the person who did in her presence.  She was a solid churchgoer who didn’t let us play Snap (card game) on Sundays and belonged to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. My parents had drinks only when company came, which was rare, and then only one.  Or two, if the occasion was really special and went on for hours.  My husband and I have a drink when we feel like it, maybe once or twice a week.  Certainly more than those generations who came before us.

I was thinking about how much writing we do.  Has it grown in the same way as the proliferation of alcohol?  I have in my possession my grandma’s diary, a treasure to me as she kept it during the Second World War when her son, my uncle, fought with the Allies in Italy.  She often wrote of packing a carton to mail to Frank and there is the entry where she went back a few weeks and added words.  Frank was killed in Italy on this day.  To my knowledge this is the only writing she ever did, except for writing air mail letters on that blue paper, filling every bit of space with news for her friends and relatives in Europe.  Interesting that she kept her one diary over the time her son was killed.

My mother had a wonderful sense of rhyme and rhythm and wrote many addresses in verse for community gatherings.  If a couple were getting married there would be a social and mom would deliver her humorous recitation.  After my father died, she bought a new typewriter (I tried to talk her into a computer) and, with failing eyesight, began typing her story about her childhood, more by touch than by sight.  She used third person and the story was about someone else living in her time.  I edited some of it for her.  Unfortunately her eyesight became impossible and she left off her excellent story.  It was never finished.  But at least she got further than Grandma did.

Over my life many short pieces have come out of my head and onto paper:  two cookbooks, two books of family memories, a children’s storybook for my grandchildren, and Loyal to the Crown, my historical novel.  It is book one in a planned series of three.  Most of this writing I did after leaving teaching.  And I maintain two blogs, one personal and my writing blog.

My daughter, on the other hand, started publishing in her twenties,  has a number of magazine credits, and more projects coming.  She is much younger starting than any of us who came before and will probably go much farther.  Each generation pushes further ahead, if my family is any indication.  Isn’t that grand?

What is your writing story in your family?  Does this carry into all aspects of life?  Consider leaving a comment below.


14 thoughts on “Are We Drinking and Writing More?

  1. You have Grandma’s diary!?! I din’t know that I ever knew there was such a thing, although a lot of my early memjory has yet to be stimulated, needing the right key to open the vault. WOW!


  2. What a treasure, Elaine, to have your grandmother’s diary and how very moving that she was able to document her son’s death. I can’t/won’t imagine losing my son.

    It sounds like you come to writing naturally. I don’t know of any writer’s in our family. My grandparents were musician and painters, so art does run in my veins. I think we may write more because technology has made it so easy.


    • Musicians and Painters? I think they are pretty artistic. I’ve dabbled in painting but liked creating the colours far more than actually making representative shapes. Some of my efforts hand in relatives’ homes, though.
      I like your point about technology. For me, too, typing and editing are much easier than writing with pen and margin-writing changes.


  3. Elaine,

    I was going to open with, ‘what a treasure’, but Sharon has beat me to it. What a wonderful source for inspiration. Perhaps one day you can weave your tidbits of your grandmother’s diary and your mother’s unfinished manuscript into a story of your own. Kudos to you, and to your daughter, on the leap of each generation.

    I have a sister who would like to write, but doesn’t, which to my way of thinking is very sad.


    • I think so, too. Maybe she will soon. Meanwhile, you are filling your head and your heart with wonderful words. I am so anxious to start reading Storyteller. Tonight’s the night!
      Thank you for your comment about my writing heritage. Those tidbits from people no longer here are very precious. I hadn’t thought of using them. Hmmm.


  4. I love that you hang out in the comments section of your blog and respond to everyone. So many people in my family are in artistic fields. My Mom’s an author, my brother’s a video editor, and my sister does layout and design at a magazine. I, I would like to think, am a writer (and to a lesser degree, an artist). I wonder if previous generations had a creative itch too, but were too busy fighting wars and raising families to do anything about it.


    • Thanks, Jen! I love that you come to visit and your comment about previous generations is right on. You told me about your Mom publishing all those books. I am in awe. My own kids and my husband are all on the creative side, too. Interesting that now we can develop that side of our brains, isn’t it?


  5. I’m not sure how much writing my grandparents or great-grandparents did. I do know my mother attempted at least one novel, but never finished it. My generation has several writers, besides myself. My older sister who has two non-fiction books to her credit and is working on a cozy mystery, my younger brother who attempted screenplays and is now in school attempting a creative writing degree and my cousin who has also published two non-fiction books. Then there are my daughters who I expect to surpass me once they get serious with the writing, as they write all the time and some of it is amazing stuff. I think an environment where writing is encouraged and supported leads to more writing. It’s no surprise to me that your daughter is an author too!


  6. You have your grandmother’s diary, how special Elaine. I’m not aware of any such things on either side of my family.

    My mother did type up a brief two page note for me of her childhood. Over the years my Mom eventually started sharing more of her childhood with me after my grandparents passed away. She never wanted any of us kids to think badly of them or the way they treated her as a child. Not while they were still alive.

    I have no writers in my family and although everyone tells me I’m a good writer, I don’t see what they do. I would love to write a book one day but I can’t think up stories. Fiction that is because trust me, no one cares about reading about my life. It’s not that interesting.

    Enjoyed this post since this is my first visit over to your blog. Appreciate what you shared with us and I have a feeling I’ll be back again.



    • Hi Adrienne!
      I am so glad you visited and left a great comment. Doesn’t everyone feel that way about their family? I think of writing a memoir and then I think my life, though interesting to me, is maybe not the stuff of greatness. We tend to downplay our own lives. It’s a little like our parents teaching us to always put ourselves last. Very polite and nice, that is, but what does it do to our self image?
      You are the best at Twitter, with all your tweets thanking and connecting with people. Just you go, girl! BTW, it sounds like there is an interesting story in your grandparents. If it’s too personal give the details to fictitious characters, maybe.
      Once again, thanks for visiting!


  7. How marvelous to have your grandmother’s diary. It sounds like a story ready to boil. And, hmmm, the drink and ink link… there are those who think one might fuel the other. Interesting.


  8. You know, Sue, I hadn’t thought of the diary as a jump off point for a story. Thanks for the great idea. And there have certainly been those writers who tippled as they talked on paper. Good point.


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