Monday, August 04, 2008

Why I Write

As anyone who reads either of my blogs knows, I love to write, and both blogs occasionally feature mentions of my three books. So is this about making money? Hardly. My books are self-published (POD) books, and that makes them immediately suspect in some circles. Anyone aware of the current state of publishing will understand.

Anyway, my books are hardly best-sellers, and my blogs are not well-known producers of advertising revenue. So why do I bother writing? I suppose it's partly because I am old and retired and have a lot of free time, but there are other reasons. First, I was overjoyed to discover the power and joy of writing, and I want to share my enthusiasm with my fellow seniors. I've made it my mission to encourage everyone to write his or her life story, not necessarily for the public, but for family and friends. Whatever your wealth or social status, you can leave a legacy of your valuable experiences and memories.

Then there's the matter of recognition. Since I have no children or grandchildren and few relatives, I sometimes feel disconnected from the world. I suspect that's a common feeling for seniors, at least for those of us who live alone. It's easy to wonder whether anyone knows we're still alive.

Yesterday, my email contained a really encouraging acknowledgement that I had reached someone. My online friend, Lydia, of the Writerquake blog, (, wrote this, in part, about my first book, Reinventing Myself: Memoirs of a Retired Professor (Infinity 2006):

"[It's] an exciting travel adventure, a real love story, a condensed but highly interesting autobiography, the wisdom of a professor, a frank discussion of aging – especially concerning a woman alone – and a frank but vulnerable glance from a breast cancer survivor. [There are] picturesque descriptions of condos and classrooms, a neighborhood bar and long thoughtful walks, quirky cats and the value of poetry and writing, tours on every continent, and the expectations for a final residence, where, any careful reader would assume, a framed needlepoint picture of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage will make its home."

At the risk of sounding egotistical, I'll say, "What a wonderful, well-written summary!" Thanks, Lydia. It's great to be recognized and appreciated. I guess it's the hope of receiving such feedback (or any at all) that keeps me writing. Let me hear from more of you.

To see Lydia's complete message, go to

Update, August 12, 2008:
Another blogging friend, Barbara J. Kirby Davis of The Senerity Room, has just reviewed this book. Here is an excerpt:

"I've just finished reading Reinventing Myself, Memoirs of a Retired Professor by Marlys Marshall Styne and LOVED IT!!! Her book was a pleasant surprise--filled with honest accounts of a life well-lived."

For more of Barbara's review, go to


francessa said...

Hi Marlys,

I'm Francessa, Lydia's (Writerquake) online friend from Vienna. She so highly recommended your book that I'm eagerly awaiting its arrival, which should be around 19th August, as Amazon tells me.

I'm very much looking forward to reading it (and your blogposts).

Nice day to you!

seniorwriter said...

Thanks, Francessa. I hope you enjoy the book. Vienna is a lovely city, but I haven't been there for years. Isn't it amazing how we can connect from everywhere these days?

francessa said...

Yes, Marlys, I love those ways like-minded people can get connected nowadays!

When did you visit Vienna?

seniorwriter said...

I visited Vienna a couple of times back in the 1980's, when my late husband and I used to take motorcycle trips through Europe. That was so long ago that I don't remember much about the city, and I'm sure it's changed since then anyway.

francessa said...

motorcycling through Europe seems like a wonderful idea!

Vienna has changed in many ways since the 1980's, in good and in bad ways - like so many other cities. But, all in all, it's a good place to live in,and there is an incredible number of cultural events all the time.

seniorwriter said...

Yes, motorcycling was fun. We toured the Alps area four times and (mostly) the former Soviet Union once. You can read about that last trip in "Reinventing Myself." There's a little bit about the first trip, when I broke a leg, in the book too. I obviously tried again--several times.