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It doesn’t seem possible these days that an intelligent and educated person, a reader, could reach the age of 70 years without having at least started a blog. Well, it’s true, and I’m the living proof. What’s more–and you might want to sit down for this one–I never even read one until a couple of weeks ago.

Maybe it was hitting the big seven-oh, or maybe it was just that blogging sites seemed to keep popping up when I was looking for other things. Whatever the cause, I found my screen displaying WordPress, and discovered a whole new world of people who felt that their thoughts deserved an airing. I certainly had no intention of becoming one of them.

I should say at this point that some of those first posts that fell under my eye were examples of strong and delightful writing, which made it easier to bear some others that hurt my hair with their poor grammar, worse spelling, vacuous content and self-important indulgence. (There, was that enough to establish me as one of the first group? Oh, well…)

We all have words. To my mind, what makes a good writer begins with how he strings those words together. There are books I adore which will never be considered great literature, but I get caught up in the flow and cadence of the words and phrases. For instance, I can open a Dick Francis mystery at any random page and lose myself–with absolute and unembarrassed delight–in stories of horse racing, of all things. When the words are right, they’re right.

These are the things I read again and again until they are old friends. You can judge my favorite books by the absence of front covers (especially those paperbacks that somehow get dropped in the bathwater.)

I absorb fiction like I absorb air. Without it I would surely die.

I’m writing this blog, as I write anything, for myself, because I am my most critical and also most forgiving reader. And, I suppose, because not too many people will ever see it in the vast semi-literary cosmos. Over the years, I’ve started countless stories with a pencil and paper. Countless, because most of them have been tossed in nearby trashcans after a page or two, or whenever my lunch hour ran out. But the funny thing is that when I do discover one of the un-flung papers after a period of years, I usually end up telling myself that this writer’s not at all bad! Now, if only she had a plot to go with the words.

Oh, the despair! How I would love to have a story to tell, whether it be a 500-word tidbit or a novel whose heft would equal the Encyclopedia Brittanica. The pundits will tell you that all you need to do is keep writing, and someday it will happen. So, here I am, putting words on virtual paper, and keeping my fingers crossed that the writing me will come up with something that the reading me will embrace and cherish until the virtual covers come off.

I’ll see you again, after the commercial.

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