I don't know how to tell a story

 – which is why I don’t write prose. I can’t. My friend who I referenced in a previous post, not only writes brilliant prose but it is usually in the genre of ‘memoir’. She is reading a lot of memoirs right now, both “well written and not” (to quote her) as part of her craft honing.

Over the years I’ve written bits and pieces about my life and several of my dear friends have said “Oh you should write about your life”. Nope, no can do. I don’t know how. 

I ended my previous post with, what I considered a throw-away line, “Did I ever tell you the story about my half-assed attempt to move to Europe was I was 19? Then everyone said “No, tell the story.”  

It can be told in one sentence. Just a fact. But – that fact is rooted in what happened when I was 5, and 8 and in my early teens – just about everything that happened in my life prior to age 19.

How do you tell that one story, and have it mean something, without telling all the rest of the story?

Fact: I applied to colleges/universities in Great Britain. How I did that I can’t recall, it was 1965 after all – no internet! So I guess I spent a lot of time at the library, and lots of money on postage and application fees (where there any back in those days? Can’t recall.) Good thing I was working full time and going to college part-time (Queensborough Community College), I could afford it.  

I wonder now how I thought I was going to pay for this grand adventure 🤷🏻‍♀️ 

I do know that, in the back of my mind, if I got to go I was never going to come back. That much I know for certain.

Not only did I want to get away from my family but I wanted to get away from this country. I don’t belong here. Never felt I did, never will. 

I WANTED TO GET AWAY. I still do.  

Oh, and what was I going to major in? Theater. Not acting because back in my youth people who looked like me DID NOT get lead roles in anything – perhaps as extras, maybe. Second, third place roles, never the lead, never the star. 

I planned on studying to be a director. 

Fun Fact: When I was 20 or so I was an extra in one of Brian DePalma’s films, shot at the Cafe Figaro, one of my hangouts,  down in the Village. Don’t know what became of the film, probably went nowhere or was never finished.

Fun Fact #2: In my late 30’s not only did I take tap dancing lessons (a lifelong dream, see above, age 5) I took acting lessons. I guess I was good because my acting teacher took me aside and said “You’re not thinking of trying to break into the profession at this point in your life, are you?”  She also said “You’d make a good director” Bingo – Back to age 19. 

I was thinking of trying to document my life – I have an empty WordPress site – but how does one start? And why would anyone be interested. Except for me. It’s all too depressing in some instances; a bit out of synch with what y’all think of me – there are things about my life, and how I’ve lived it, that I don’t care to share. I think, many of my values are not the same as some of yours (Dear Reader). 

Regrets, I have a few, mostly that I didn’t just up-sticks when I was young (and stupid and innocent and not tied into reality) and I just went for it. 

When did I get careful? And cautious? And perhaps more than a little afraid? 

And then again, where the hell did I get all that self-confidence, and fearlessness, that I thought I could actually pop off to Europe, go to school, make a life somewhere else?

And seriously believe that I could make my dreams a reality. 

14 thoughts on “I don't know how to tell a story

  1. Careful and cautious is how I've spent most of my life. I wish that at some point I could have been a bit fearless. Who knows what I could have done with my life.


  2. That's not a road you want to go down. Nothing is stopping you now – you are way younger than I and in better health and you are unencumbered. Yeah, you've still got to work but – start thinking about what you want to do when you retire – start putting those plans in place – Yeah, yeah, I sound like one of those rah-rah motivational people we all love to hate – but there is a bit of truth in there.


  3. I'm careful and cautious by nature [or maybe nurture], but I'm curious as well. It's when that curiosity kicks in that I break out and try new things. I'm sorry you never got to Great Britain to study, but am intrigued that you were an extra in a Brian DePalma film.


  4. I don't recall being careful or cautious as a kid or teen, perhaps in my early 20's I became more security minded, less adventurous in some ways but not all – I had responsibilities of my own by then – apartment, bills, a cat, personal possessions that I valued. As for being an extra – it was simply a matter of being asked (told) to be at a place I normally hung out but at a particular date and time, and following orders about what to do. I wasn't paid and it was a favor to a woman who worked in my office who was dating DePalma at the time. NYC being what it is/was I'm sure I inadvertently showed up in many films and photos of the 60's and 70's.


  5. Haven't got a clue – I saw in the credits Cafe Figaro – so maybe. I scrolled through the movie didn't see any crowd scenes – It's not like I had a part in the movie LOL Just one of those goofy things. Besides I was usually at Figaro's anyway…


  6. I was thinking of trying to document my life – I have an empty WordPress site – but how does one start? And why would anyone be interested. Except for me. It's all too depressing in some instances; a bit out of synch with what y'all think of me – there are things about my life, and how I've lived it, that I don't care to share. I think, many of my values are not the same as some of yours (Dear Reader). How does one start? Reflect upon your life, pondering upon if you want to begin at the beginning or somewhere else. Create for yourself a life schedule or mindmap l think they are called now then begin. I think the biggest thought is the style in which you wish to write as in you or a shadow of you or even an observer of you?When l was recounting the stories on Guy blog l thought about certain elements of my life and realised that not everything was relevant to the blog and l didn't wish to tell everyone everything. The latter thought came to me as a thought about three years in to the blog, and it was also one of the other reasons to pack up, l simply no longer wished or wanted to tell people about my life from yesterday.Ultimately l think when we embark upon this journey it is mainly for us, and if people/readers find humour along the way that is just a bonus.But if you have an empty blog, it's not a bad little project to start :)Rory


  7. Thanks for that thoughtful response. Years ago I wrote little vignettes I guess you could call them about several of my relatives and they came out well and I published them on the blog (they're still here titled under their names, My Father, Tessie, Al). The exercise would be just for my benefit and yes, there are parts of my life, while illuminating are really none of anyone business. I admire people who can put it all out there, I'm not one of those people. But so much of my life wouldn't make sense without those stories. Ho-hum, not a big deal. Except people keep saying “Write about your life” and I do I suppose but guardily – I think it's where you come from that makes another person's life interesting – what I take for granted other folks think is exciting. LOL


  8. Great, we just have to go through the archives and look for the good looking, long haired brunette. 😀. On the other hand there were a lot of cute long haired brunettes back then. I just watched The Trip with Peter Fonda the other night and saw a few. Also, that comment up there was directed at Ann, but I found that pep talk inspirational for my purposes so thanks. Of course this is Melissa Pumpkin Zerospace commenting today. Who else flirts with Grace over her younger self haha. Hope you are having a decent day today, Grace.


  9. “there are parts of my life, while illuminating are really none of anyone business.” It's a little mean to your loyal readers to hold back like that. But I get it. They say that where facts are missing, people fill in the gaps with their imagination. So I choose to satisfy my lack of facts by assuming with utmost sincerity and belief that you were a Dominitrix in NYC for an extended period of time. 😂. Haha. Okay that's enough out of me for the day. It's not often that I comment on someone's blog twice in one day. -Melissa


  10. Maybe I was cute when I was 3 but in my 20's, I was odd looking because I was out of sync…the face – very young, very. The body – voluptuous – boys my age were confused, older men – well, now – that's an old story. LOL


  11. By the time I was in my mid to late 30's, the way I dressed and my attitude – the dominatrix vibe could be believed LOL Seriously tho, I've lived with a certain, I'm thinking insouciance but not quite that but close. A bit Holly Golightly maybe? But then, no – well, just certain bits of her…


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