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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Today When


“The Librarians had the souls of artists and could do most anything with construction paper and paste. I liked the summer themes best, about places to visit and my imagination could take hold and I could be there for a short time.” - Page 16 of Today When

What will we consider a success?

For a lot of us, it would include becoming a rich, bestselling author, coupled with movie premieres. That dream is still there, though it’s taken other forms. I don’t particularly want to be famous. I would like to make a living at writing. Still, will that be a success? Why write at all?

“Today When” is the title of the book that my grandmother wrote for her grandchildren. She wanted us to know what it was like for her “way back when” in her childhood. She did it because she knew “very little about my family before me…I want you to know, if someday you might wonder, just what your Grandma did as a girl. Some of the things that I did, what I wore, what school was like, how I played.” The book is a difficult read at certain moments with some dry unnecessary details. There are times where I wish she would expand and tell us her thoughts, and then others where spends too much time on details. She wasn’t a great writer, and she would openly admit to it. She went to classes, and when the instructor said as much, she would reply that she was writing it for us, not a large audience, and that was just fine with her.

My grandmother took the time to take classes to write about herself, to do the best she could. Not because of money or wanting to share it with the whole world, but rather because she wanted her sons and grandchildren to know what childhood was like for her. Where she went to school. Things that happened to her. That she had a happy childhood and hoped we did the same. She finished it, gave it to us, and now I’m talking to you all about it. Is that a success for her? I hope so.

There’s a quote in her book that says: “This was the summer I decided that I’d become an author. Lorraine also wanted to write so we agreed to collaborate on a novel for girls of our age. I was to write the first, third, fifth, etc. Chapters while she would do the even numbers. In this way we would get it finished faster and have the best of both talents. Somehow or other it didn’t work out. I would be very frustrated when her chapters would only be a page in length (long hand) and I knew they had to be longer. She felt that my chapters were too flowery and I felt that hers were lacking in imagination. So the world lost two writing talents.” - Page 17

I wish she had continued. That that writing wasn’t lost. If she hadn’t given up, think of where those stories would be. All of my family could have grown up with them, and poured over every word. She would have gotten better. Her stories would have existed. Still, here I am quoting her writing. It’s not the novel for young girls that she was going to write as a child, but it is her writing and her own story. The best that she could do, and here you are reading some of it.

So I ask, what do you consider a success?

I’m not sure. I keep thinking about the scene in Cool Runnings where the coach talks to Derice about winning a gold medal and says, “a gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” So if we achieve all the book awards and movie awards, will that be a success? No.We can only ever be “enough” with God. He’s the only one who is going to fill that desire. So perhaps it is only when we can see if we touched lives and brought people to Him, that we’ll feel successful. And then it won’t really matter because hopefully we’ll be with the greatest author of all.


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