As a writer, my mind is always in motion. I can look at a discarded gum wrapper and get a story line going.
Fellow writers know this. I can think, “How far has this gum wrapper traveled?”as it blown by the wind, thus landing unceremoniously at my feet. Did the person who bought the gum enjoy the entire pack or did they share with others?
If it is the outer wrapper (as opposed to the silver innards) I think of it’s origin. Maybe it came from my hometown Chicago where Wrigley Field has been renamed Gallager Way, after William Wrigley, the soap salesman turned gum king went to all that trouble to make sure he bought the Chicago Cubs and allowed us to chew happily at the same time. So, this is the thanks he gets?
Any-hoo, that is the mind of a writer, and a couple of weeks ago my mind tuned itself up to think of something new I could do as activities director at the place I live and work. I am sort of a cloak and dagger or undercover person here. By day, I sit behind a desk, tap-tap-tapping away at my computer. I record work orders for the residents, you know, the kind where the toilet magically (and tragically) will no longer flush.
Never mind what kind of forbidden items have been tossed in. Everything that says, “flushable” is not necessarily telling the truth. I get the irate, the overly dependent and others who ask if I can “bring” them things from our food pantry, etc. and most times I do not mind. Most of my darling neighbors are just my age and strong as horses. They could easily get things for themselves, but some are lonely and taking them a “thing” to the door is really an excuse to make conversation.
By night, I am thinking up things to keep our minds flowing away from the idea that we are all washed up because we are over fifty.
So, as my strange little brain whirled around, I sidled up to our site manager and asked if I could start a creative writing class! She blinked several times behind her glasses. She is not yet sixty and though she pretends to understand senior-hood, it ain’t quite hit her yet. She still wears heels to work and toddles around daintily in them while trying not to stare at my comfortable shoes with question marks rising from her forehead. “Don’t worry my child, I want to say, one day you will understand!”.
Well, she mulled this over for a moment and pointed out to me that just a few weeks ago, she helped me create and then modify a game called Busy Bingo. I saw the game on the Internet and modified it ( wrote out 100 activities) to fit our little community and the “kids” really had fun with it. You know, activities like “make the sound of your favorite animal” or name at least two of the Beatles, and so on. We had a ball! I also lead several other bingo games ( Fruit bingo, laundry bingo and chair bingo) and I do a couple of workshops but I was champing at the bit to do the writing class so she said yes, and we placed it on the calendar.
I feverishly went about making my flyers, going to the Dollar Tree for inexpensive (well, it’s the Dollar Tree…so) composition books, color coordinated pens and pencils, and made guidelines, writing prompts and discussion starters. I made flyers and on last Friday, swept into the room with all my “stuff” ready for the onslaught of visionaries, dreamers, and writers-in-the-making. I felt so absolutely teacher-y! I waited patiently and put all of our stuff on display and waited for the stampede of people that my mind envisioned. Er-yes!
Three women came and sat down heavily, looking at me with expectation as if I was there to do a magic trick. My heart sank.. A bingo game would have the house packed. In fact, any game where food and prizes are involved, brings a crowd. I had three ladies. I could almost hear crickets. Still, I went about my little spiel. I shared that I am a writer and I was excited that they were in attendance. Then, I began to check them out.
One woman who lost everything before she came to live here, her beloved dog was stolen, her furniture was scattered everywhere and finally she gave up trying to retrieve it, yet there she sat, her face ruddy with excitement, her long gray braid pulled over her shoulder. She was actually smiling. Another woman, who is a self proclaimed “intellect” (and she is) was for once sitting quietly, looking at her prompts over her thin rimmed glasses and last but not least was a woman who had never had a journal or a diary or any interest in writing. She was smiling as well, and I said to myself, “Self, it does not matter about quantity…it is people who matter…and you have three important people with whom you can share the love of writing.”
When our “class” was over, the women disappeared down the hall, clutching their new writing books, chatting to each other, and I sat down to choose a writing prompt for myself. I chose, “If my Life were a cartoon”, and chuckled lightly, for as a writer, I sometimes look for that empty bubble over my head and I fill it with ideas and laughter. Life is just a cool place to live in. At least I think so!
Zenobia L Silas-Carson is a native of Chicago IL and has lived in Minnesota for the last 30 years. She has worked as an advocate for battered women, and those being released from the prison system. Zenobia is also a former elementary school teacher and nursing assistant. Currently she resides and works in a fifty-five plus community where she holds the position of office assistant and activities director. She facilitates three food programs, is the proprietor of Zenobia’s Community Store and in her so called spare time is a life coach for seniors. In her other spare time she is a mother grandmother, great grandmother and licensed minister.