I had an exchange with Ruth today at sync-ro-ni-zing that got me thinking about plagarism. It is amazing to me that at a rather advanced age and after a lifelong interest in writing and an aborted start at a journalism degree, I still had the idea that plagarism had to do with using other people's ideas (which is what education is all about) rather than giving them credit. How could I think that??? This is just an example of important things I have learned and clarified through the process of blogging.
I have known since the fourth grade that I have a talent for expressing myself. I observed that I got a positive response from my teachers and classmates when I read my writings aloud. I didn't actually figure out for years that part of that response came from the performance as well as the writing. I wish I had figured that out sooner.
My favorite teacher, Mr. Shaw, didn't have much use for me. Sure, I was the teacher's pet for plenty of English teachers, but he was the debate coach, drama teacher and also taught a 9th grade speech class where I got to know him. He mesmerized us on the stage in our classroom with challenging ideas, vague references to famous plays and little exercises in improvizational acting. He had a devoted following of students who were more self aware and confident than I. The debate squad. Oh, why didn't I join? And when I did try my hand at debate, why didn't I take it more seriously rather than just arguing the obvious points from the top of my head? I was ripe to get shot down by the first clever argument. I knew my point was good, but I couldn't figure out how to defend it. I had so much to learn from Mr. Shaw but I wasn't ready.
Even though I was nearsighted, I discovered I loved photography in college. That interest got side tracked by a "funny" photogaphy teacher who got fresh in the darkroom. I was too naive to protest but just avoided him and his class after that. I still got an "A". (Imagine that?) I excelled in a speech class at the same time, but didn't take it seriously.
Later, at Oklahoma University, I had an English professor who took an interest in me and my writing. He noted that I was a journalism major and challenged me in many ways. He actually wore jackets with patches at the elbow and I bet he smoked a pipe when he wasn't in class. I also took another speech class and photography class for fun about the same time. Unfortunately, my first true love broke my heart about that time and I dropped out, went to my mother's home in Florida, and got a job at the phone company.
So I always knew I wanted to write but about what??? I discovered that being a reporter for hard news was not for me. In fact, I ended up in the production end of the publishing business for many years.
I always admired writers whose whole lives lead to their materpieces. Books like "Little Women" and "Gone With the Wind" and "To Kill a Mockingbird." (At least I have high aspirations.) But I'm disappointed to discover that I have lead a rather prosaic life. Or maybe I just have a prosaic imagination. I also admire non-fiction writers such as Margaret Mead, Gail Sheehy, and Melody Beattie.
I am not a poet like Ruth and Willow in blog land. I don't have Willow's wonderful creativity. I thought maybe a cook book? But I can't compare with food writers like Beverly and Kary. I have an appreciation but no talent for plot like Brian. An appreciation but not the natural talent for design like Layla. But I have enjoyed participating in Willow's Magpie writing blog where many writers do their own take on a visual prompt.
In that exercise and in my experiences with Toastmasters and other outlets, I have found that I like to tell little stories. I like to relive moments in my life. Happy ones. Hopefully not too maudlin or saccarine. I like to find joy and inspiration in small things which parallel my own discoveries through the Twelve Step program where I learned to find peace and contentment even in the tragedies of life that affect us all.
I have been inspired in real life by my friend, Linda, who has published and marketed her own social skills program for many years now. Linda just dives in and learns whatever she needs to accomplish her goals. She is braver than I at trying new experiences (and she persisted to achieve a doctoral degree.) I also admire my friend, Sharon, who makes an art out of living. And my friend, Sylvia, who has a natural talent for happiness. And my many other friends who each have their own gift for life. And my husband who has taught me about steadfastness and love. And my children and grandchildren who inspire me every day.
That brings me to this blog. An opportunity to write, to post photographs, to document my life and to reach out to others in the universe and for them to reach back and touch me. I haven't read "Outliers" but I understand it advances the theory that those who achieve greatness have put at least 10,000 hours into whatever pursuit they have chosen. I have always heard the rule that writers should write regularly even if they don't see the end result at the time. So I guess all this blogging is not wasted. Who knows where it might lead? Thanks for helping me sort out my thoughts.