Is This the Write Thing To Do?
This is another of the essays I wrote many years ago. This one was written on February 27, 2010. At that time, I was living in northwest Georgia and was a few months away from beginning the first drafts of The Curse or The Acts of 1. I was wondering if I could even put a story or any type of writing together and a blog seemed like a good idea. It still is. Here is what I wrote that day...
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” This quote is a good one for facing and overcoming life’s challenges. I've been facing and trying to overcome the challenge of trying to find decent work since Hurricane Katrina struck. It got to the point where I began exploring skills that I've never used professionally before.
The main two unexplored skills I have are music and writing. I explored music first. There isn’t much of a market up here for horn playing musicians. I did have modest success with a local college band as an instructor and performer. However, when my boss resigned, his successor cleaned house and I was one of those people who got cut loose. Otherwise, most of the bands up here that I know about have a staff of their own, want volunteers, or want the musicians to pay to perform. I did gain some skills as a novice music arranger, but it was not enough to get a job. That and when you arrange music professionally, you or the organization you’re arranging for need permission from the composer or the people who own the rights to the music and pay royalties. I still write arrangements on occasion, but mostly as a creative venture for my use only.
Then I started to explore writing. During my first semester of college, I took a writing class. By the midterm, my professor would put my essays at the bottom of the stack to be graded so she could read them last. She said she looked forward to reading my essays and would laugh out loud at them. At the end of the semester, she recommended I take an honors writing course, because she said I had a future writing columns. Sadly, I didn’t take her advice.
The next semester, I took argumentative writing and began the arduous journey of making four attempts to pass this course. Part of the problem was getting nailed for not arguing my point by the numbers and putting humor in my papers when the professor didn’t want it in there. The other part was an attitude problem I developed on the way for not liking the criticism and having to take the course four times. By the time I finally passed the course, I was so tired of writing argumentative papers, I stopped writing altogether until a few years ago.
I reunited with an old friend and she remarked in the many e-mails we exchanged that I write very well. She is also a writer who has her own blog. She suggested I write something and send it to her. So I went back to my roots in that freshman writing class (and high school English class. Thank you, Dr. FitzPatrick and Mrs. Ethridge!!!) I wrote an essay about driving with a mug of coffee, but it wasn’t a travel mug you’re supposed to take with you. It was a regular mug. Then the fun ensued. After sending the essay to her, she said she liked it and asked me to write another. The coffee essay started my journey back into writing. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it.
Now let’s get back to the present. I believe I do have some skills, maybe even enough to do it professionally. To be honest, even though I’ve written quite a few essays, I don’t know. In the meantime, I continue to write essays or columns if you will, to amass a collection of my original work. The topics vary, but can be looked collectively as observations musings of life, maybe even slices of life. And yes, the vast majority of it is first person conversational, like this essay is. I’m even exploring the idea of writing fiction, something I haven’t done since late high school or early college. Right now, I’m researching where and with whom my work can be published, and am even thinking about starting a blog.
I don’t know where this is going to go or if I will even succeed at all. But I know to write when I’m inspired by some idea, event, or just to stay in practice. Whatever happens, I will continue to do what Eddie Kendricks once sang in his hit song from the 1970’s…
Keep on truckin’ baby!!!
Since writing that essay, I wrote and published four books, with more at various stages of editing. Some things worked and others didn't, but that's okay. The key is to keep learning and never give up. That's why after all these years, I'm still truckin', baby!