Callie Ragon has a lifetime of stories to tell, and at age 83, she’s finally getting to share them.
The Arlington woman has self-published five books in the past three years, ranging from a collection of non-fiction short stories to an account of what it must have been like to watch God create the Earth.
“I just sit down and it comes to me,” Ragon said. “When I go to bed at night, I’m writing the continuation of my story in my sleep. I really get involved in my story and my characters.”
Beverly Ostrowski, who has been an online editor a publisher, recognized Ragon’s passion when they met in an independent living facility in Arlington.
“Her writing shows a lot of emotion,” Ostrowski said. “You feel like you get inside the characters.”
Ragon told her that she really wanted to be a published author, so Ostrowski decided to make it happen.
“She had written all of these short stories so we gathered them together, short stories of things that had happened to her,” Ostrowski said. “She’s a delightful person and it shows up in her writing.”
That first book, “Callie’s Silver Box of Memories,” was published in 2011. After that, the floodgates opened and the stories poured out, leading to three fiction books, “Sitting on the Right Side of God” in 2012, “Dr. Jim and Daisy” in 2013 and “Sam and Louise” in 2014.
This year Ragon also published her first story, “What Will People Say?”, which she wrote in 1975, filling two spiral notebooks, and kept in a file cabinet for almost four decades. The book tells the story of a teen who has a baby in the 1930s and how the child grows up feeling as though she had ruined her mother’s life and constantly seeks her love and approval.
“All through the book, she is desperate for the love of her mother,” Ostrowski said. “It’s a haunting story, but very readable.”
Ragon writes all of her stories in cursive in notebooks or on legal pads, and Ostrowski types them into the computer, editing as she goes. The two make a solid pair, and the partnership doesn’t look like it will end any time soon. Ragon has two more books in the works, “What Will People Do?”, a continuation of the story from “What Will People Say?”, and “Ragon Mountain,” stories from her ex-husband’s aunt.
Writing and being published are important to Ragon, she says.
“I want for my kids to say ‘my mother was a well-known author,’” Ragon said.
Janie Lane of Mansfield, the youngest of Ragon’s four children, is very supportive of her mother’s new career.
“Besides the good person that she is, I think it’s important to her for people to know she is an author,” Lane said. “She’s always written for magazines and newspapers. I want her to accomplish everything that she wants.”