April 2, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 4:36 pm
Well, I am almost up to my current writing projects.  As I mentioned before, I had my first short story published last year, so I now call myself an author.  When I submitted this story, I also found some writing forums, (I guess that’s what they are) which will post material people send them and pay them a few pennies anytime someone clicks on the article, or ad posted in the article.  I began putting essays on Triond and  Bukisa, which a Triond writer told me about.  On these sites, we read and comment on each other’s works.  It has been interesting to me to see how many things I write about have universal appeal.  For instance, I wrote about my pets, about losing them, preparing for the loss of one and whether or not to get a new pet since my last cat died.  Many people read the articles and identified with those emotions.

I  have also been sending poems to Poetry Magazine, with no acceptance yet.  I have submitted work to writing contests, particularly any that are free.  I keep going to the writing groups and sharing with them when I have written new pieces or share old pieces I never felt were good enough to let anyone read.  The people in the groups have all been very encouraging.
I’m on my third course with Institute of Children’s Literature.  This one is on writing books for children and I will be working on a book about a pigeon who tries to migrate, like other birds.  I have a lot of work to do on it and am only on the third lesson.  The ICL newsletter introduced another new magazine to us.  It is online and interactive, called Bumples.  I submitted one of my fairy tale stories to them and it will be appearing in this month’s issue.  I will be getting paid for it too this time.  They also have filed another one I sent them,  for possible inclusion in their November issue.
While at the senior center I saw a flyer about a four week workshop Goodman Theater was sponsoring on writing The Stories of Our Lives.  They got the idea from the two short plays they were showing, Hughie and Krapp’s Last Tape, in which the characters, (both wonderfully portrayed by Brian Denehey) tell stories about their lives.  For four weeks those of us who signed up for the workshop, wrote about our lives and shared with one another.  A program was held at the end of the workshop on February 27, in which we were able to read those stories to an audience and WBEZ recorded the program for ___Chicago Amplified.  I read about the best year of my life so far being 2009 when I was published and ended by saying I look forward to this year being even better than last year.
So, If I can begin to fulfill my dream at my age anyone can.  Writing, and the arts know no age boundary.  There are acting groups for senior citizens, too.  Retirees, you have the time now to do what you always wanted to do, and be the person you always wanted to become.  If nothing else, share stories about your life.  This generation, who has never experienced what you did, will learn more from what you share than they will from reading textbooks.

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 5:39 am
After I retired I had to find things to do to keep me from staying home and moping.  I had joined a senior citizen group that meets at the Cultural Center in downtown Chicago when I turned 55, (the only Department of Aging Center that doesn’t require you to be 60 to join).  Because I was still working, however, I could not take part in many of the activities I was interested in because my work schedule fluctuated.  I would not always have the same day off to take a class with a regular schedule.  Now I was able to get involved in such classes.  I joined three writing groups, journal writing, poetry and one called Write Right.  A friend of mine suggested that I should try to get into a correspondence course with Institute of Children’s Literature.  He knew that I liked to write and liked children, especially very young ones  He thought I would be good at writing for them.  So, I sent for the information, took their aptitude test and was accepted.

When I completed the basic course, I was recommended by the instructor for the advanced course, which I also took.  I tried to submit some of the course work to publishers, but all I got were rejections.  I almost gave up again, but then I got  inspiration for fairy tales, which I wrote in rhyme.  I felt I had finally found my niche.  Our lessons emphasized the need to find something that could become a specialty for our writings so we would receive more attention from publishers .  I was not a teacher, historian, scientist or other professional with special knowledge to share so I couldn’t figure out what mine could be, but when these poems came to me so effortlessly, I felt that this must be it.  The problem was that none of the markets I was researching were interested in fairy tales or rhymes.  But, I knew kids were, so I felt maybe I could get together a series of them and self-publish a book. I have not done that yet, but maybe someday I will, unless I can find a publisher who would be interested in them.
In the meantime, I submitted a short story to a new magazine Institute of Children’s Literature introduced their students to in  its newsletter. The story was accepted and appeared in the September, 2009 issue of Knowonder Magazine, which went out of print after three issues.  They hope to return if they can find financing  The magazine was a non paying market, so all I received was contributor copies, but my story The Catnapper was published and I can now call myself an author. I would like to go on but it is 12:15 AM now and I’m getting sleepy.  Besides, I need more to tell about my background before I have to begin writing about what I do, or don’t do, in writing each day, (other than these entries).

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