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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Taking Ownership . . .

Strawflower in Water Droplet by Jeff D. Johnston
Author Pat Conroy credits, no, make that, lauds the “genius of” his English teachers for instilling in him a love of the English language.  As he is quoted on Goodreads: “I've been in ten thousand cities and have introduced myself to a hundred thousand strangers in my exuberant reading career, all because I listened to my fabulous English teachers and soaked up every single thing those magnificent men and women had to give. I cherish and praise them and thank them for finding me when I was a boy and presenting me with the precious gift of the English language. ” ( ).

Me? I was too business-oriented to get that inspired by my high school and college English teachers (who were, nevertheless, inspired, and wonderful). Despite my apparent lack of interest in writing during those years, I have loved reading for as long as I can remember because I was, am and will always be fascinated with words and syntax. I love, love, love the task of putting words together to create a story so full of pictures and emotions that readers can see and feel what I do when I’m writing. I especially like to lure the readers into conjuring up the images in their imaginations. I want to make each of my stories their own.

But what really draws me to Mr. Conroy today is an excerpt from something he wrote in his memoir My Losing Season: A Memoir: 

“Do you think that Hemingway knew he was a writer at twenty years old? No, he did not. Or Fitzgerald, or Wolfe. This is a difficult concept to grasp.  . . .  But they had to take the first step. They had to call themselves writers. That is the first revolutionary act a writer has to make. It takes courage. But it's necessary.”

That’s what it’s all about. We have to learn to call ourselves “writers.” That’s a grand title I long hesitated to give myself despite having been published in several genres (and been paid for it) for several years. Now that I’ve done it, guess what? It feels good and natural. Try it. Celebrate it. Say it: “I am a writer!” I bet you’ll like it too.

I’d love to hear how you decided it was time for you take ownership of the title you earned through study, discipline and determination. 

This St. Patrick's Day wish is a wee bit tardy, but sincerely given:
      "Today may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love."
You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


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