The Stories We Write

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In a small fishing shack in Nova Scotia, Canada, which may very well be where the world ends, there is a nice old lady named Eleanor. Eleanor, who is eighty years old, and has had an active and eccentric life, is known by the community for putting several items such as stuffed animals, dolls, or other souvenirs, on the side of the road on the way to her house, and also for having a small shop across from her house, where she has several other items with prices on them, and where everyone is allowed to walk in and take anything and pay for it by leaving her money by the door, or at least writing what they took so she knows if it was bought or stolen. Her store is full of old hats, picture frames, old small furniture, and many other curiosities.

Eleanor, as everyone in her town knows, has traveled around the world and once had plenty experience in the oldest profession in the world. But, if that wasn’t enough to be memorable, Eleanor has also written a book about her life, and as she told me last Tuesday, is working on a new book which is scheduled to be published by the end of the year.


_Wouldnt you be intrigued by such a decoration? (Photos courtesy of author)_

I arrived to Nova Scotia after driving for over 25 hours from Florida to Portland, Maine, then getting with our car into a Catamaran Ferry, which after five and a half hours took us to Nova Scotia. Following the words of Robert Frost, my girlfriend and I decided to take the road less traveled by picking a longer but more enjoyable route. During the drive, as we listened to hours of music, my girlfriend and I made plans for the future, and talked about the cockapoo puppy we will be adopting next week. We drove out of Florida, battled the rain and were surprised by the brevity of Georgia, took in the beauty of the mountains of South Carolina, saw beautiful deer in Pennsylvania, stayed at a couple of mysterious hotels, and passed the other states with excitement to arrive to our final destination.

As we were leaving Eleanor’s shop that day, we were surprised by an old lady asking us from her window if we had found everything okay. Eleanor herself was home, and was coming to meet us. She is a slow moving, happy lady, with a firm and frontal way of talking, and a round face and smile that shows she enjoys life. As my friend and host told her she had read her book, her smile grew and she told us she has another book in the works. With a big laugh she confessed she was only putting the “not too bad things in it,” and keeping the spicier parts for herself.

A few days before meeting Eleanor, during one of the stops of our drive I had a minute to respond to a writer friend who had invited me to attend a fiction workshop that weekend. I explained to him I would have loved to, but was making a big trip and went ahead to describe my travesty. His response was a demand, or perhaps even a threat: “you better write about that trip,” he wrote me.

Standing outside of Eleanor’s shop, talking about her published book and her book in the works, and seeing her struggling to get up from her chair as we drove away, I couldn’t help but think of my writer friend’s comment. I admired Eleanor not only for her eccentricities, or her interesting and uncommon way of living, but also for her bravery to write about her experiences. I thought about the courage of the story tellers of the world, and how our stories sometimes do not end when we experience them, but when one can survive writing about them. Eleanor, like many characters of our lives I later realized, would become immortal to me, not after meeting her, but after writing about her.

_Alonso Rodriguez Romero was born in Lima, Peru, but has lived in the U.S. since he was fifteen years old. He is a graduate from Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelors in English, with a concentration on Creative Writing. He can be contacted by email, alonsorodriguezromero10@gmail.com._
Only a writer can make a mortal become immortal when pen is put to paper, as this author finds out on his latest travel.

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