Shaman in the Stationery Store



Can you believe I still have these?

Hurrah! Happy Two-Year Bloggiversary to BH Mom.

As I celebrate this milestone with you my dear Readers, I’m reminded of an exchange that took place about thirty-three years ago in a stationery store at the corner of Wilshire and Vermont in Los Angeles.

Back then, my folks worried that my growing up steps from Saks and next door to Shawn Cassidy would somehow turn me into a spoiled brat. Understandably, they wanted me to appreciate “the value of a dollar” so I ended up working in my father’s dental office. Thank you mom and dad for helping me sidestep the diamond tiara in favor of punching a time clock. Without my after school job, I might have been a forlorn sixteen year-old at loss to cover costs like new Elvis Costello albums or lift tickets to Big Bear.

And without my file clerk job, I never would have met the “shaman” in the stationery store. In addition to answering phones and making appointments, from time to time my dad sent me down the street to the stationery store to pick up office supplies. Usually I just monkeyed around, testing out the latest Bic pens and admiring paper displays. One day, though, I met a mysterious woman buying IBM typewriter cartridges. I’d never seen her there before. We struck up a conversation and I learned that she was a writer. I was a little surprised when she asked me, “Do you know why I write?”

I shook my head.

“I write so that I know what I think,” she smiled.

It dawned on me that I wrote for the same reason albeit my scribblings took place in secret in my journal. What I wrote about – people I met on family vacations, boys I had crushes on, tennis matches won or lost – might not seem very grand now, but back then, it was everything. Journaling about my personal life gave me a safe place to blow off steam and laugh at myself. Not much has changed. The difference now is that I don’t hide my stories under lock and key (though sometimes I suspect I ought to). 

One of my fellow mom bloggers recently said, “Bloggers are like the wild west.” Take courage. There’s no special license to blog. It takes commitment, though. And hitting that ‘publish’ button requires you to stick your neck out. Or not. It’s entirely up to you. Not ready to buy that domain name quite yet? No matter, you can guest blog. Or write something meaningful on your Facebook page. We all have much to learn from one another.

Author Description

Cynthia Baseman

Cynthia Baseman is the author of 'Love, Mom: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Hope.' She writes about motherhood, the environment and education.

There are 10 comments. Add yours

  1. 19th January 2014 | Harriet Cooper says: Reply
    Yes. That's exactly why I write. And when the people in my writing group see it, they can tell me immediately if I've finally figured it out or if I have to go back and think about it some more. Not yet into blogging, but I have done a couple of guest blogs .... so am inching that way. However, I have published my "musings" and humor in anthologies, websites and newspapers.
    • 19th January 2014 | Cynthia Baseman says: Reply
      So what are you working on now? I'm always open to guest posts from creative people.
  2. 21st December 2013 | Franny says: Reply
    CONGRATS! I love your posts! They always make me smile and laugh which we all need a little more of :) Here's to many more!
  3. 20th December 2013 | Roberts says: Reply
    Congratulations. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. A good read.
  4. 20th December 2013 | Renee says: Reply
    Nicely put, as always. Happy Blogaversary!
    • 20th December 2013 | Cynthia Baseman says: Reply
      Coming from you - an avid writer/reader, that means something!
  5. 19th December 2013 | Rochelle Blumenfeld says: Reply
    Happy Anniversary! Have enjoyed the blogs for the whole 2 years now. I look forward to every new one each week. Thank you, Cynthia, for bringing joy into my life with your down to earth personal stories.
    • 20th December 2013 | Cynthia Baseman says: Reply
      @Rochelle thanks so much for reading. Look forward to seeing you around the 'hood.
  6. 19th December 2013 | Ellen says: Reply
    Happy Anniversary!

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