This I Believe

Winslow, Thyra Samter

  • Thyra Winslow describes how happy her life has been thus far, and states her beliefs in the importance of curiosity, flexibility, faith, and love.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Thyra Samter Winslow is a writer. She grew up in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and at 14, she became society editor and drama critic on the local paper. After two years at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, she struck out for Chicago and a job on the Tribune. Failing to get it, she became a chorus girl, which she preferred then, anyway. After a couple of shows, she went back to the Tribune, and this time, she got the job. She sold her first short story to Smart Set, and they bought every one she wrote after that until the magazine closed. George Gene Nathan was co-editor with H. L. Macken,
and he became her life-long friend and has titled all her books. She has written one novel, two books of nonfiction, more than a half dozen collections of short stories, and her work has been published in over twenty anthologies. Here is Thyra Samter Winslow.
The general idea is, I believe, that we grow through sorrow. If that is true, I haven’t grown at all but live in this sort of personal dream world. It’s a mighty pleasant world, and I wouldn’t change it if I could. And I’d like a lot more of it.
Outside of the deaths of my parents and my beloved grandmother, which according to biologists is a “natural sorrow,” nothing bad has ever happened to me. I’ve had the usual, but not too severe, emotional upheavals. That is absolutely all I can produce
in the way of misfortune. As nearly as I can tell—though I feel pretty guilty saying it—I’ve been happy all of my life, and I’m extremely happy right now.
I believe that the four most important words today are curiosity, flexibility, faith, and love. If everyone were more curious, the way scientists are curious, they’d have less time for personal grouches and accomplish more. Flexibility may be the means of adjusting to difficult, or just to new, situations. Faith means faith in yourself, as well as in your fellow man, and in God. “Love thy neighbor as thyself” doesn’t mean just love your neighbor. It means, it seems to me, that you should love yourself, respect yourself, actually care for yourself, first, and then go ahead and give some of the same care and attention
to your neighbor. Love is included in that, too.
I believe absolutely in prayer. I don’t think that praying is putting a coin in the heavenly slot machine, expecting results to come tumbling out hot and buttered. I do believe that if we do no evil, and do not break God’s laws, and do the best we can, and pray sincerely, that we usually will get not only what we deserve but many, many times more. But we’ve got to know what we want, and work and pray for it, and not be half-hearted in either our endeavors or our prayers.
Being an only child, I don’t know what it means to be lonely, for I work alone, and I spend a lot of time alone, and
I look forward to an evening with books or television. But I think I understand other people’s dread of it, and I try to help them. I try to help them get over other fears, even though I seem to have been born without a lot of them. During the war, I went up in any sort of a plane with student pilots. It gave them a nice feeling of competence. I’ve done a lot of other things that were foolish but not especially brave. Bravery is only when you do something which shows you have conquered fear.
I am completely improvident, having never felt want or hard times or great unhappiness. I’ve made a living as a freelance writer since I was seventeen. It’s been a mighty easy way to make a living, too. And when the check does arrive, there
are always others who need it more than I do. So after I pay present upkeep, I find it has disappeared.
I haven’t loaned money in years. That means hard feelings, I found out. I give what I can, and not at all wisely, I’m afraid—though it seems to be the only possible thing at the time. And I have never borrowed a cent in my whole life. Perhaps I shall always be able to do my share and make both ends meet and lap over a bit, and write more and a lot better. I certainly hope so. I’m not going to worry about that now. I’m having too good a time.
That was Thyra Samter Winslow, a prolific writer of short stories. Her latest collection is titled The Sex Without Sentiment.