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Chuck Hinman: IJMA No. 300. How it all began - my writing

It's Just Me Again, No. 300. How it all began (My writing, that is). A column specific to ColumbiaMagazine.com
The next earlier Chuck Hinman: School Lunches Is Chuck Hinman your favorite Sunday with CM columnist, as many tell us? If so, we hope you'll drop him a line by email. Reader comments to CM are appreciated, as are emails directly to Mr. Hinman at: charles.hinman@sbcglobal.net

By Chuck Hinman

"In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth." Genesis 1:1.

Then there was a considerable lapse of time during which a lot of very important things happened. We pick up the story in the year 2002 AD.


I moved to Tallgrass Estates (an assisted living facility) here in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, while Connie was in a nursing home with dreadful Alzheimer's disease.

Without family and home responsibilities, I soon found the luxury of having time on my hands. So I decided to write some things (I had never written before) for my family to have after I am out of here.

The thought to write a little about myself was prompted by the frequency with which I had wished for cell-phone service to heaven -- "Hey Dad -- tell me again (I guess I wasn't interested when you mentioned it before) -- what was the deal about your Dad (Lansing) losing both feet in a tragic hay mowing machine accident?"

I was impressed that there were things in my life that my family may have missed when I was still around to fill them in.

So to take care of some of that future need, I pondered how to proceed.

I had a computer and knew how to type. Before I realized, I had cranked out many pages of an unending story and I was only up to about age nine or ten. I enjoyed what I was doing. At last I had found what retirement and the golden years are all about.

But guess what? I didn't like this way of telling my life story. It was dull reading because it had no ending. It just droned on -- and on. I became bored and soon lost my zest for writing. Who would be interested in reading this garbage. So I took a several years hiatus from writing and pursued other non-writing interests.

Of course, I always had my long-time musical hobby to fall back on.

Several years after I stopped writing in about 2004, two ladies and I, all alums of Peru State Teachers college in Peru, Nebraska, started a writing club which we cleverly called "the ImPeruvians." Get it? The "improvians."

We took turns making up two-month (at a time) schedules of weekly writing topics such as "My First Car" or "Dancing In The Dark," etc.

That was exactly the shot in the arm I needed to unleash my latent writing ability.

We exchanged our weekly writings and critiqued them. Our stories were generally true and from 500 to 700 words in length. If we drew a blank on the topic suggested, we could choose one of our liking. Writing came easy for me, especially in this format.

I am reminded of the summer of 1946 when I was taking a 1 hour (credit) English Composition class at the University of Nebraska. The assignments were a weekly composition on the order of the ImPeruvians assignments.

I took to those like a duck is drawn to water. And to think it was in a day when I had neither a typewriter or computer -- no "spell-check." Because I loved it, I spent more time on assignment preparation than all the rest of my subjects combined. And to no surprise to me, I drew an easy "A" in what I had feared as "just a time-killer required subject" for my degree.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when the professor wrote on one of my submissions -- "Mr. Hinman -- you should consider writing as a life work. You are a gifted writer!"

Wow! What a surprise!

But I had other ideas about what was going to put bread on the table of the Hinman household -- not writing.

And so in recent years, I enjoy a wonderful hobby of writing. I love it and it doesn't hurt when a retired journalism professor who reads my stuff on ColumbiaMagazine in Kentucky drops this morsel in my E-M -- "Mr. Hinman - If I were still teaching college journalism, your articles on the internet would be required reading for my students."

Who am I to argue with the teacher? -Chuck Hinman


This story was posted on 2011-03-20 11:52:42
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Chuck Hinman. his Liberty, Nebraska high school



2011-03-20 - Photo Bob Ruyle.
"This is the Liberty, Nebraska, public school," writes Chuck Hinman, "where I went to high school in 1935-39. The building was torn down many years ago, but holds many memories for me. Brother Bob and I rode our bikes eight miles a day to and from school, rarely receiving a ride even in inclement weather. This building also housed the elementary school. High school enrollment was about fifty. My senior class graduated thirteen.

"My stories are laced with memories of the Liberty, Nebraska, area which I love so dearly. I can never forget my roots - where I am from!

"Picture courtesy of Bob Ruyle (obviously skilled with a camera) also with 'time served at this same institution.' " Chuck Hinman

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