The Obligatory (but not Mandatory) Page About Me
Welcome to Constant Commoner. I wish I could be more specific about what you’ll find here. I don’t have a niche. I can’t describe in ten words or less what it is I do here. I do know I’ll be sharing the things I find interesting along the way.
First you need to know that I’m old. But in all these years, 83 of them so far, I’ve never lived in a cave, so it goes without saying that I’ve seen a few things. I know a few things. Not everything, but some things.
I call myself a writer because I’ve written things. You may have read some of them, but chances are you haven’t, and I find that damned annoying. So before I pass on to what I believe will be utter darkness, total nothingness, without even a flashlight or a brain to worry about not having one, I’m going to try again to get you to take a look at my stuff.
Some things here are brand new, but much of it is recycled work that barely got off the damned sidewalk, let alone out into the street hitching a ride to somebody’s front page.
I believe in second chances.
I’m an opinionated liberal (fair warning) and we’re in a battle now, so it’s always on my mind. It comes out in my writing, too. But as bleak as it seems, I can always find something to laugh about, even if it means smacking my head while doing it. Oy.
I’ve been here for a long time and my history goes way back. I can’t help but compare then to now, but I didn’t walk two miles uphill to school in a snow storm without shoes. That was someone else.
I’ve been writing for at least a century. Feels like it, anyway. I don’t remember when I wasn’t writing, but my first real writing job was as a neighborhood correspondent for our small weekly. My job was to find out what was happening in my neighborhood, which seemed like a dream come true until I had to start calling people and calling people and calling people in order to fill my little space on the inside of the newspaper. This was before Caller ID and they had to answer the phone. It was my first real taste of rejection. I got pregnant just so I didn’t have to do it anymore. (I’m kidding, kids!)
Some years later I was reading a column in a bi-weekly paper and it was awful. I knew I could do better and when I heard the lady was retiring I sent a few column samples to the editor who, lucky for me, just wanted the spot filled and didn’t really care to go out looking, so he gave it to me. My own column!
It was awful. Then Ronald Reagan came along and fired all those air traffic controllers and my column about empty nests and Liz Taylor’s appearance on General Hospital took a turn for the jugular. I went after Reagan’s bunch and learned right quick that airing your opinions in public can be pretty interesting. I had people yelling at me in the supermarket!
After I was fired from that gig I took up with a bigger bi-weekly and began writing a book column. I met everyone big in Detroit, including Elmore Leonard, Joyce Carol Oates, and Judith Guest. I loved that job!
I wrote feature stories for The Detroit Free Press, The Jewish News , the alternative papers around town, and a bunch of regional and airline magazines. I was president of Detroit Women Writers (Detroit Working Writers now, after they let men in). I held feature writing workshops and spoke at Writers Conferences. I taught writing classes in Adult Ed. I loved that life!
I started a novel and won a grant for it. I loved that novel! I never finished it. I started two more. I never finished them, either.
Then we moved to the northern boonies and my literary life in the city came to an end. I thought for sure the quiet life in the north woods would be just the ticket for finishing those books. It wasn’t. It came to me, after years of toil and reams of paper, that I wasn’t a novelist, I was an essayist.
I wrote a blog about living on an island in the north woods, instead. I called it Cabin & Camp. I loved that blog!
Then Barack Obama won the presidency, and on the day of his inauguration I decided to start a political blog. I wanted the pub date to read January 20, 2009, so I hurried it up, created a blog on Blogspot, and bought the domain name Ramona’s Voices. (Because I envisioned it as a blog of many voices—meaning writers who were far better at that sort of thing than I was.) My blog is still there, but archived now. I stopped writing it on Joe Biden’s Inaugural Day, exactly 12 years after it began. (I love that blog and might still be writing there if my comments section hadn’t flown the coop, never to be seen again. Nobody seems to be able to help me get them back, and what’s a blog without a comments section?)
I discovered Medium a couple years ago and made that my writing home for a while, but now I’m ready to try something new. I own and edit a lovely publication there called Indelible Ink, where the focus is on creative non-fiction. The writers who trust me with their work are the best!
I’m a contributor at other sites like Dagblog, Broadside, Crooks & Liars, and Huffington Post.
I do it all because I love writing and I just can’t stop. (If you’re a writer, please check out my sister pub, Writer Everlasting. The link is below.)
Oh, and I have an author’s page. (It’s new. I hate Wordpress and it hates me! Don’t judge.)
So that’s it. That’s me. Want to hang out?
WRITERS, please check out my new sister publication, Writer Everlasting. I’m taking all I’ve learned over these many years about the art and craft of writing and putting it all out there. We’re a community and a safe place for writers. No gimmicks, no sales pitches, no garbage. We love words, we’re addicted to writing, and there’s nothing in the world more satisfying.
Until it’s not. And we’ll talk about that, too.
Find out more about the company that provides the tech for this newsletter, visit Substack.com.