Posted in Family, Writing

Some barely-related stories, and memories of a Storyteller

I have to say, I quite enjoyed the ethical discussion spurred by the post about my writing-dilemma last week (“Cheatin’ on a Cheater“).  Not everyone was in favor of my “solution” (if, indeed, my decision deserves such a designation)–but we all got to thinking, didn’t we?

On a related topic, this morning I also enjoyed reading The Creative Ghostwriter‘s post on why she wouldn’t choose to ghost-write a fictional novel…  (In her discussion of ethical implications, she referenced my post of last week–and now I’m pinging back her ping-back… isn’t our blogging community cozy?)  I was particularly caught by the post because my freelancing assignment this morning is a first for me: ghost-writing what is clearly intended to be published as an e-book…

cartoon from

Not fiction, as it happens–but I’ve been given today and tomorrow to write “How to Get Over Your Break-Up.”  (Hey, stop laughing at me!)  I’m actually enjoying myself with it, largely due to the complete lack of constraints on the actual content of the thing–which means I just get to sit down and write twenty single-spaced pages of Common Sense. (Ha! Dozens of people around the globe are doubled over with laughter at the idea that I have 20 single-spaced pages of common sense IN me.  Very well, then–some good sense bolstered by some good rhetoric, and one great quotation from Captain Jack Sparrow!)

In any case, this thing (the assignment, that is–not the topic) has me seriously pondering the question: If I can write an e-book in two days…  Why don’t I take a few MORE than two days and write a GOOD book–which I could actually publish with my own name on it?  Ah, yes–reality rings home.  The most immediate answer is that I get PAID on Monday for the book I write today.  And the additional complication of figuring out what to DO with whatever I wrote–although I know I have a fantastic resource in this blogging-community, which renders that a pretty limp excuse.  So the thought is definitely rattling around in my head…

But I actually sat down here to write about past book-creations rather than prospective ones…

I’m on the last quarter of the booklet, which naturally brings us to “How to Get Back Into Dating”–and I was reminded suddenly of something I hadn’t thought of for years.  I think it was about five years after our paternal grandmother died that my sister and I (in high school and college, respectively) co-authored for our Grandpa a “Dating Guide for the ’90’s.”  We wrote it largely tongue-in-cheek, given the decades since he had been dating (or courting, as the case may be)–but truly, we wrote only half in jest…  And half in earnest, knowing how much life and humor he still had in him, and hoping he would find someone with whom to share those.

salmon fishing Oregon
salmon-fishing off the Oregon coast with my Grandpa & my Dad, about 1990

I’m happy to report that Grandpa did connect soon after with a lovely lady-friend (Bernie, who was his companion and hiking-buddy and square-dance partner for more than a decade) although I don’t imagine our “dating guide” can claim any of the credit.

Grandpa–as we knew–had humor enough left to last more than a lifetime.  He even found humor in the loss of his short-term memory toward the end, suggesting that we could find a joke he liked and tell it to him over and over.  His long-term memory (and his story-telling!) also stayed with him till the end–which leads me to reflect that maybe I’ve got storytelling in the blood.  (My three storyteller IDOLS are my two grandfathers and my mother!)

As it turned out, Grandpa saved one last “story” for me, though accidentally.  The family gathered in Arizona for his funeral, and although I had agreed to give a eulogy, I found myself still without words in the late-night before the solemnities. A tap at the hotel-room door turned out to be my mother, bearing a gift of bananas (I had gotten braces on my teeth that week, and hadn’t yet figured out how to eat with them–or to speak well, come to that) and a bundle of letters from Grandpa’s desk, written over the years by me.

I half-laughed and half-cried my way through the packet that ranged from preschool-printing to wedding plans, and found at the end a single, unfinished letter–from Grandpa to me.  Its content wasn’t earth-shaking, but its timing was–and it loosed the story-telling flood that became the eulogy.

We’re a few weeks short of the anniversary of Grandpa’s death more than a decade ago, but the “dating guide” memory has him on my mind.  He has no doubt set up a “command station” (his classification of the backyard hammock) in the clouds, from which he’s regaling the angels (the ones with naughtier senses of humor!) with his stories–sometimes chortling so hard himself that he has to pause and wipe his eyes before he can continue.


my parents, 1970

One more shout-out, on the topic of being a long time off the dating market…

I’d like to wish a very happy anniversary to my parents!  Forty-two years ago today, in a snowstorm in Minnesota (during which the movie “Airport” was filmed at nearby Minneapolis-St Paul International), these two young’uns tied the knot–and then fled to the Virgin Islands for some sunshine!

Here’s wishing many more years of sunshine for both of you–I love you!


I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

16 thoughts on “Some barely-related stories, and memories of a Storyteller

  1. Hi,
    Good luck with writing your story, I’m sure you will do very well. :)
    I love your photos, isn’t it great to look back on some old photos, the memories came back as soon as we look at them. :D


  2. Love your posts that include family stories. No wonder you are in demand for writing…you are a pro!


  3. A truly loving and uplifting post today, Kana. Thanks so much for sharing all these wonderful items from the lives of your grandfather and your parents. And what a fun ghost-writing assignment for you! I don’t see any ethical conflicts in this one, especially as it is non-fiction! But I DO pray that you will reach a point in your life where the bills don’t decide whether you write a book under your own name or not!


  4. Your grandpa sounds like a really great guy! I love hearing about folks who keep both eyes on the bright side of life.

    The photo of your parents is beautiful; I love that your mom looks almost too happy to contain herself! I hope they are granted many more very happy years together!

    P.S. Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the web!


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