My mom retired last summer and has been struggling to find a rhythm since. I imagine it is a wild life change, but suddenly, she has a very jammed schedule because she started to join more things, like senior week at the Y, where they had free gym classes for people of her age. (She was there from like dawn to dusk to max out the value of “free.”) One day, because she had misread the time slot for Silver Sneakers, she went to the gym and there was nothing to do but take a writers workshop for seniors.
I think the first question was “What I Like About Getting Older,” about which she mostly grumbled to me. “Nothing” was her answer, making it a very short essay, but funny enough, she has kept going. She tells me there are women in their 80s there, who grew up in Brooklyn, who were in the navy, who bungee jumped, and that she is quite dull in comparison. I love hearing about it. She apologetically asks for me to edit her entries for grammatical and phonetic correction.
Sometimes, when I edit people, I have a tough time because the writer presents me with perfect sentences and organized paragraphs, but the words don’t zing with any soul. Not everyone knows how to inject themselves into letters.
My mom’s English can be wild, um, and a bit unwieldy sometimes, but her writing has a voice, a strong point of view, which is something I can only recognize, never teach.
You know what? She has writing talent. She says I’m lying, to which I say fishing for compliments is rude.