My Journey to Become a Writer 03/26/2024 Post #86

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I keep coming across more of my mom’s things as I search through boxes – like a stash of her chewed up pen caps.

Our role reversal started early, and I used to lecture her about chewing on those lids.

She’d be sitting in front of the picture window, which she pronounced “winda”, in her robe with one leg swung over the arm of the low burgundy recliner, working the crossword puzzle, chomping on a pen, releasing it now and again to write down an answer – or call out a clue, in case I was willing to help.

I’m not what you’d call an auditory learner and somehow I couldn’t make her understand that there was no way for me to solve the puzzle without actually seeing the clue and the corresponding boxes. I didn’t want to help unless I could hold it myself and make a visual study; but I didn’t want to touch her writing utensil.

I couldn’t get her to stop chewing those pens – even after she wound up with a benign tumor in her salivary gland on the same side she bit her ballpoint. I was convinced this was the cause; but she didn’t think so, because her doctor didn’t say it was.

“Does he know you chew your pens!?!”


“Well, then he’s not gonna say that’s the cause.”

It was a lost cause. I don’t know if that’s really what did it; but I used to be so grossed out by those mangled lids that I wouldn’t touch those particular pens.

Finding them the other day made me just shake my head and smirk. I’ll admit, I’m now putting them to use with a sense of ironic nostalgia. One has already run out of ink; but I salvaged the lid and stuck it on an uncapped modern-day quill.

My outlook on those ink pens has become drastically different.

Death does that. Even things that make us cringe when someone is alive can somehow become sentimental.

I’ve heard Elisabeth Elliot say that the most wonderful sound in the world to a widow is that of a man snoring.

Maybe so.

Anyway, I’m rambling a little I suppose.

What Did I Accomplish Today to Be a Writer?

I did Day 86 of the 100 Words a Day Writing Challenge 2024 through LA Writer’s Lab.

Looking back at the journal I’ve utilized for that task, I can see the building stress that came before my health took a turn for the worse a few weeks ago. That’s usually the way things happen for me – I begin to get overwhelmed, and the evidence appears on my morning pages, until pretty soon my body goes on strike. Hopefully in the future I’ll be more proactive about pushing pause, or even hitting the brakes more, before I have to come to a complete halt.

Our writers group met to discuss a collaboration we’re working on. I’ve submitted a couple of poems and asked for help with the punctuation in my verses. Sometimes I feel like I can’t make rhyme or reason of correct grammar rules, especially semi-colons. I’ve been told I over-use them; but I thought I was following the rules.

In my experience, some have said, “It doesn’t matter, consistency is the key,” while others wag their heads and pretty much want me to cut them out completely. I’m hoping to get more mentorship from this group in the punctuation arena.

I’ve offered up an excerpt from my manuscript “About Trees” for our project. A lot of my writing is rooted in this story, and I want to share it; but it’s a very sobering piece, so I’d also like to search out a humorous account to add a bit of balance. We’ll see if I’m up for scrounging around this week, or maybe even crafting something new.

I have a hesitancy about putting a piece online or in a collaboration, if I hope to utilize it elsewhere, because some publishing companies frown upon that. At this point, I’m leaning more toward self-publishing, for the sake of keeping control over my own words, and my right to write them where I want.

We’ll see what happens…

Thanks for reading what I’m writing,

Jody Susan

Today is Day #86 in this series. When I type #86 into my website search bar, this post comes up and causes me to pause:

This seems so far away in time…


I'm not sure what to say here: I once got second place in a dog-look-alike-contest? I know how to fold a fitted sheet? I'm pretty much a poster child for social backwardness - at least as far as social media is concerned; but I have some stories I think I'm supposed to share and am attempting to do that here, in this space.

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