Marsha Gordon; “Let me tell you at the outset: It is exceedingly difficult to be a female old fart. Men old farts are thought of as funny. They are respected for their skewed humor, although sarcastic and uncomplimentary. Women old farts have a similar message, but are considered un-ladylike. I love being an old fart, even though sometimes it embarrasses my children”.
Marsha, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get you started?
It was a couple of years after World War II. Patriotism was at a high in the United States and there was great pride in being an American.
I was in junior high school when I discovered I wanted to write. The last question on an English exam was to write 250 words about how it felt to be an American. I wrote a paper about flag-waving, and marching bands in small town parades. Then I added baseball and Girl Scouts.
I wrote 300 words!
The teacher sent my work to the local newspaper. They printed it on the front page. I was asked to read it at a high school assembly, some churches and the synagogue. The attention was head spinning.
I knew then that I wanted to be a writer, forever.
I knew I didn’t want to write “stories”. Remember, this was just after the “War to end all Wars”. There were women in the military, the Civil Rights movement was stirring, and the airplane was replacing the train for just plain folk. I wanted to write about real life – and I still do.
What is the theme of CHANGING TIMES: RAMBLINGS OF AN OLD FART? Does it fit your criteria of writing about ‘real life’?
CHANGING TIMES: RAMBLINGS OF AN OLD FART is about change, yesterday and today. And how people react to change personal, local, national and international. There are many laughs in the book, some surprises, and maybe a tear or two. One reviewer said, “It is like eating bon bons. I never know where the next story will take me.” Though I call them ‘stories’, they actually happened, in the past or now. CHANGING TIMES: RAMBLINGS OF AN OLD FART is definitely non-fiction. The book appeals to all ages. It makes a great gift.
Do you always write from the same POV or do you switch it in different stories?
As a non-fiction author, I usually attempt NOT to show my POV. My goal is to impart information, not to cajole the reader into agreeing with me. I have recently written two articles: one was about legalizing medical marijuana, the other about powdered alcohol. In these, I did not show my bias.
However, the essays in CHANGING TIMES: RAMBLINGS OF AN OLD FART are not informational. I put them together for entertainment. They are fun to write and fun to read. “The short essays and large print make this an easy take-along read,” says another reviewer.
What advice would you give to new writers?
I think the advice is the same for fiction and non-fiction writers.
1. Keep writing. If you are having a severe case of writer’s block, stay right in that chair and write gibberish, or nursery rhymes OR, the best, is to free-write. You will soon find you are back where you want to be, in your story.
2. Stop writing for lunch or for the day when you are at a GOOD spot, not BAD. When you come back to work, it will be so much easier for you to find your groove.
3. Having trouble getting started on a new novel? Start your story with an action point from the middle of your story. The exposition will occur as you are writing. This will make your reader more interested and curious.
4. Believe in your talent, keep writing and Good Luck.
Warning: Products manufactured today may have a predetermined life span
My computer stopped working last week. Not a warning, not a gasp, not a sigh; it just died. I punched all the keys. Not even a flutter. I called my son-in-law, who knows about these things. Rick tried everything he knew but could not bring it back.
“What about my files, Rick?”
“I don’t know, Mom. We’ll have to wait and see.”
My files may be gone?
Rick saw the horror on my face and tried to cheer me up. “You’ve had this computer at least five years! That’s a long time.”
Five years? A long time? Rick is telling me, born smack in the middle of the Great Depression, how long things should last? That five years is a good life for a computer?
Now I would need to purchase a “bigger, better, newer” one at a higher cost. And it would have a different program I’d have to learn. Would people buy new cars if they had to learn to drive all over again? The “old” computer was headed for the dump. Oops… I mean the politically correct “landfill.”
In the years after the Depression, people were cautious with what they threw in the trash. Nothing was ever discarded. If something broke, there was always someone who could fix it. Remember Mr. Bob? His shop was just down the hill. He fixed irons and toasters and radios, usually for fifty cents. He wouldn’t be able to stay in business today. We throw everything away.
There were no single-service items such as paper towels, paper napkins, paper cups, and on and on. Only when people had a little more discretionary income did disposable products hit the shelves. People began buying, rolled paper towels, tissues… Our landfills are full and our air and water are foul.
Now I have the use of a brand new laptop. The piece I was writing is gone! It disappeared. We looked everywhere and finally found a bit of it in the recycle bin. How did it get there? I didn’t put it there. Or did I? Did I hit the wrong key? Which one?
I don’t like all these new machines that are supposed to help us: the washer, the dryer, the microwave, the copier, the scanner. They are not loyal. Each time one of them breaks down I feel somewhat responsible and ungrateful. I also get unreasonably angry.
Just give me an old typewriter and a clothesline.