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Janet Olearski, LISP 2nd Half 2021 Short Story Finalist

LISP 2nd Half 2021 Short Story Finalist 'Gene-ius' by Janet Olearski

Why I Write

My mother was dyslexic. My father was a Polish refugee, highly literate in his own language but with no formal instruction in English. Between them, my parents struggled with written English. As soon as I could read and write, I became their lifeline. I read books and newspapers to my mother. I re-wrote my father’s letters. I read my own stories to both of them. When I was ten, my father bought me a typewriter… after which I became the official family scribe. Every letter ever sent to my teachers was from me, signed by my mother.

As an adult, I worked as a journalist and in educational publishing. After my mother died, something happened. The floodgates opened and I wrote fiction non-stop. Initially, when my work was published, I enjoyed the recognition and validation. Later, growing older, getting published was not the objective. My aim was to write what I needed to say, to get it down on paper. Many things can happen. We can forget, lose cognition, die. After that, who cares? Our legacy is important. Our world is in our writing. Our stories can save and preserve that world and those who peopled it.

Janet Olearski is a British writer based in Central Portugal. She has authored several children’s books, the most recent of which is The Boy Who Never Smiled, while for adults she has published a short-story collection, A Brief History of Several Boyfriends, a novel, A Traveller’s Guide to Namisa, and, as editor and contributor, The Write Stuff anthology. Her second story collection, The Book of Reasonable Women, is due out later this year. Read more at:



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