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TITLE: It's Finshed
By Jim Oates
06/29/09
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This is a collection of thoughts on how and why I came to write the biography of a special lady.
It’s Finished.

“Well! I’ve finally done it.”

“Done what?” you may ask.

I’ve just returned from the post office where I mailed away a year and a half’s work. I just sent away the manuscript I’ve been muddling over and over; not sure whether anyone would be interested in it or not. But I was interested, that is what really mattered and I felt I had to write it, if only for myself.

The timing is perfect; Word Alive Publishing in Winnipeg Manitoba is having a contest for fiction and non-fiction. There will only be two winners, one for each category, and the prizes are fantastic, both are first prizes.

Since this is my first attempt at any serious writing, I was somewhat apprehensive about it.
“There will be hundreds, maybe thousands of entries. What chance would a nobody like me have of winning?” I asked myself.

“What have I got to lose,” I told myself. “Lots of people buy lottery tickets all the time. My chances of winning are even greater since it is free, and I don’t buy lottery tickets anyway. I’ll be money ahead even if I don’t come in first. Besides, just having my story read along with all those other authors is a prize in itself.” Win or lose, I will still be able to have it published in book form in time for Christmas.

“Well, what is this story about,” you ask.

“It’s the biography of a very special lady, the love of my life; it is the story of my wife.”
Shortly after her death I decided that I should write something about her life for our children and grandchildren. Since they only knew her as Mom and Grandma; I wanted to them to know her for the person she really was, the whole woman.
The story actually began before 1926, although she wasn’t born until 1933. It took a lot of searching and I asked a lot of questions, with help from family and friends I was able to piece together the part of the story that was before I came on the scene.

Gleaning the information I needed for this project was enjoyably rewarding and it took several months to compile. It actually took six years before I was emotionally ready to begin. Every time I had a thought about some humorous or tragic event, I made a note of it and filed it in a drawer. The notes piled up and when time came to put them down on paper I found it to be even more emotionally draining than I had expected. Trying to find the proper words to use became quite emotional for me, as I was putting the most intimate details of forty-five years of our married life on paper, there were times I just had to walk away from the key-board as the screen of the computer became a blur.

Fighting the urge to quit, I plodded along, losing myself in the memories of the past. The more I wrote, the more there was to write. Not knowing just how to go about it, I just wrote a series of stories about events of our lives. Then came time to put them in some sort of order; it was almost like shuffling and rearranging cards. Then came time to edit; I read it over and over, making small changes each time, adding or deleting as well as correcting punctuation. I must have read it twenty or more times before I was satisfied with it.

I wanted to get some of her personal and private thoughts so I turned to her Bible. Starting at the first page I browsed through it looking at everything she had underlined, trying to imagine what she may have been thinking as she underlined various passages. She also made notes in the margins of the pages.

Knowing the way she thought about many things I was able to put together what turned out to be her biography, “Wilma” – A lady Of Courage and Dignity.
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