I know that I’m a competent writer. I enjoy talking to people, talking to absolute strangers. There’s no question that, if I’m on a bus, I’ll probably suddenly start talking to the person directly across from me, diagonally on the aisle. When I’m waiting for the light to turn on the street corner, I’m just as likely to talk to the person walking in front of me waiting for the light to turn.
They’ve woven together in my life, in ways that give me a great amount of pleasure. That’s why I write for so many different newspapers, four different ones, in totally different places in the country. It’s a nice blending together…at my age, at near 88, it’s great to know that, you can do what you’re good at, and it gives you pleasure. I know the people I write about, it gives them a tremendous amount of pleasure. But I would probably do it if it didn’t give them pleasure, because the doing of it gives me pleasure.
And on being selfless…there’s nothing like 3 kids, all under the age of 5, and their father dies, and hey you have no choices. You do what you have to do, and practice makes perfect, and you do it well. Wherever we land…I’m sure if there’s anyone who doesn’t know how to swim, and they just found that the raft that they were sitting in sprung a leak. If they had 3 kids on the shore, no question…you’ll damn well get there somehow.
I remember a woman who had been walking in front of me for half a block, an older woman, my age, and when she stopped for red light. I turned to her and said, “I so enjoyed walking behind you! You looked so beautiful walking and swinging your head.” She turned around and looked at me, and suddenly burst into tears. And I said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you!” And she said, “My husband has been dead for 5 years. You are the first person who’s ever told me that I looked beautiful. He used to tell me that every day.” Yep, I talk to total strangers…