It’s the simple thought that led Joan to attend Boomerang’s writing workshop. Her family and friends encouraged her to write the stories she’s been telling them orally for years. Stories about Joan’s own family history.
“I heard somewhere that if your goal is to write and you’re not writing then that’s not really your goal. For me [going to a Boomerang workshop] is a start.”
A start, yes, but certainly not the end. Preserving her family stories is Joan’s long term vision. For her son, nieces and nephews, Joan hopes her writing will connect them to something bigger than themselves.
“I hope my writing will help them know more about their culture,” she says.
Joan genuinely enjoys reading stories about families and feels there are “interesting and amusing family anecdotes and lessons to share.” Many of those lessons come from her own parents, lessons she passes down to her son and three stepchildren. Take responsibility for your choices and their consequences, learn to be satisfied with enough, and most importantly, everything in moderation including moderation are the lessons that stand out.
Joan shared many of these insights with Boomerang. We talked about whether writing is her real passion, the importance of family and the biggest challenge in her new phase of life:
B: Family seems to be something that’s on your mind. Can you recall any moments during your childhood that stands out?
Joan: My father taught us all fiscal responsibility and emphasized its importance in creating a happy life. He had not been taught by his parents- it was an older co-worker who was Dad’s mentor in many ways. My parents lived modestly but well. They owned a home, supported three children’s sports and activities, took an annual holiday, saved for retirement and helped others when they could. They reduced consumption and recycled long before it was the norm. They set a wonderful example for us which is a great gift.
B: What lessons have you learned from your own upbringing that you’ve passed on to your kids?
Joan: Many common sense things, the most important being ´Everything in moderation, including moderation’. Live within your means. Work and save for things you want. Have an emergency fund. Pay credit cards in full every month. If you can’t, you shouldn’t have credit cards. Take responsibility for your choices and their consequences. Everybody is good at something, nobody is good at everything. Be happy with what you have. Understand the difference between happiness and contentment and aim for the latter. Learn to be satisfied with enough.
B: Is writing simply the most effective means to record your family history or do you have a passion for writing?
Joan: I wouldn’t say I have a passion for writing, although I enjoy writing and held many positions where I wrote succinct, factual content. Creative writing is a new pastime.
Joan has always been curious about writing and sees creative writing as a new outlet, so signing up for a three-hour workshop seemed like an easy way to get her feet wet without the commitment of a months-long course. And since Joan has been retired for five years, she now has the luxury of time.
She says this about the biggest challenge in her new phase of life: “The biggest change is having the luxury of so much time available to read, catch up on years of missed movies, socialize, travel and cook! And perhaps start writing.”
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