Sunday, March 28, 2010

Vote for my dog!

Take a click and vote for my dog Hank to be "Dog of the Week." $65 will be donated to a doggie charity if he wins.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Six Months None the Wiser

How do six months pass and I've had nothing to say here?

Well, it passes in the midst of the return to college. Homework, tests, exams, studying, quizzes, discussion board posts, total mental meltdowns. That about sums up the time that has passed. Christmas vacation? A total two week blur spent trying to get caught up on things I'd not done since August around the house. Spring break? I squandered those days...somehow.

I can't say I knew what I was getting myself into when I decided it was a good time to get that college degree. I can't say I know now what I'm doing. I'm still undecided on a major or a degree. One moment, I think I know what I want to be when I grow up. The next, and I'm more confused than a high school senior. There's something to be said for being young, dumb, and undecided. The same can't be said for being slightly older, dumb, and undecided.

It really shouldn't be this difficult.

The good news is that I finished last semester with a 4.0 grade point average. The bad news might be that I'm clinging desperately to As in all my classes this semester, with six weeks left to go. Intro to Human Services, Psychology, Sociology, and Public Speaking. I must say that I dislike Sociology more than any math class I've ever taken. Whoosh. Right over my head goes most of the concepts.

In other news, I retired my weekly column in January after a ten year run. Sometimes, things run their course and it's best to pull a George Costanza and leave the room when you're still on top. So, I left.

I miss writing. I miss the weekly deadline. I miss the panic that would overtake me when I had three hours until my column was due and I didn't have a gee, gosh darn, golly thing to say. I miss that thrill when I pulled something out of my ass at the last minute and got the most reader feedback ever on my last minute creativity. I miss knowing that at least once a week, someone listened to what I had to say by reading my 700 words. I miss thinking that something I wrote might have made someone think, laugh, reflect, or react in any way, even if it were less than positive feedback.

Man, I miss it.

What have I wanted to be nearly all my life even before I realized it? A writer.

I wanted to write when I was 7 years old and talking my grandma into letting me use her typewriter.

I wanted to write when I started collecting pen pals when I barely could form full sentences and spell.

What was I pre-college? A writer.

Is this college thing a waste of time, money, and energy? Maybe not. I think what I'm learning most is that I can do anything I want to do. The only obstacle that has ever been in my way has been myself. Epiphany much? Yeah.

There's a writer named Anne Lamott who has written some fiction and non-fiction. I particularly like her book Bird by Bird about being a writer. In it she says something like, "Few writers know what they are doing until they've done it." That's one thing I've always loved about writing. Besides the basic rule that you better make some damn sense in your writing, there are few rules on how to go about it. There's a beginning, a middle, and end, and you make it what you want. (A little like life, right?)

Once in a while, the clouds part and things almost become crystal clear and more than apparent to me. Sometimes, it almost takes a sledgehammer to my shin to get my full attention. Last week, I got an A+ on an information speech. While the professor went over my speech, telling me my grade, he said something to the effect of, "I don't know if you intended it, but something kind of magical happened in your speech, you started out here, gave wonderful information and insight, and ended here going full circle. Maybe it just happened because sometimes it does, but this was an A+ speech."

I had to admit that I did some cutting and pasting in the writing of the speech, moving paragraphs around just as I did when I wrote the column. I confessed that I didn't write the outline first, that I compiled it from the speech when it was finished. He praised my speech writing abilities, but as I've pointed out to him many times, I'm a writer. The only difference is that I'm delivering my creation to an audience of my classmates.

So, yes, I miss my column, and even though the Public Speaking classs does often bring me a good bit of distress when it comes to those impromptu speeches, at least it's been a good exercise in proving to myself what I'm capable of doing. But does quitting the column stop me from writing? Well, no. Duh.

I'd already decided to pass on taking classes over the summer semester. There's no reason to add attempted homicide to my resume trying to do schoolwork and deal with two teenagers in my space 24/7. I plan to challenge myself to write something worth reading during this time. If I can't do it, well, then I guess I'll admit to myself that I'll never be a serious writer. If I can, then perhaps I'll have my answer on what I want to be when I grow up.