Writers write, singers sing — Audience is optional
I’m sixty-five. Sixty years ago, I’d have answered “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with the vision of a dreamer, the answer of the naïve: “A movie star.”
Later I learned that one didn’t just proclaim an occupation (some would argue with me on this point already); one needed talent, drive, perhaps a network…an education. I allowed that to kill my dream. I was much like Nelly In Nelly Wonders About a Career, where Nelly asks, “How had they known just what they would do, and how will I become I, and you become You? Do we stand in a line? Will we need a ticket? Does someone just tell us, or do we get to pick it? Do we wish it or dream it and then it comes true? It was mystery to Nelly — is it a mystery to you?”
What did I really want, anyway? Fame? At five, perhaps, yes. I wanted attention — positive attention. “Oh, Carole, sing us a song!” And I’d do it in a heartbeat. Little did I know that what their smiling faces conveyed was their admiration for my courage, my passion…not necessarily my talent.
I acted in high school plays and sang in family weddings. Eventually, I heard myself on tape and gasped — why had anyone let me sing in public??? I moved on, singing for myself and my daughter. She is the only person who ever actually asks me to play my autoharp and sing. As I said, God bless her. And I’m not even religious.
I have been writing since, well, since I could write. I wrote lyrics. (My very first lyric was a rip-off of my heartthrob Ricky Nelson’s Travelin’ Man). They weren’t poems, to me. They were lyrics and I created 3-chord songs on my autoharp for most everything I wrote. I wrote other things, too. And I found writing to be one of those things that when I do it, time stops. I love to express my thoughts with words on a page. I also love to channel for people who find a blank page to be one of the most intimidating things they have to deal with. I’ve helped friends write their dating profiles, helped my former husband write a reconciliation letter to his father, helped two seniors write their life stories, and I wrote and self-published a children’s book, Nelly Wonders About a Career”…and of course, I write on Medium, where you’re reading this. I ghost-wrote or edited almost every communication that senior management at my…