Friday, September 29, 2006

A Short and Unfinished History

I’m not proud of it but it happened. It’s a part of me and my history.

I have not the honor but the distinction of being the only student in my senior high school class who failed all eight mandatory book reports and the senior term paper. Other than myself, I don’t think any student failed even one of these.

The school required all seniors to take the state regents scholarship test. Based on my score, I received a full scholarship to any school in the state. After winners were announced, the senior English teacher individually congratulated each student with personalized words of praise. I was the last student he addressed and I still remember his words verbatim: “Well, congratulations anyway.” That was it. No other words. I wasn’t offended. We both knew I was irresponsible, lazy, unmotivated and somewhat rebellious.

The highest grade I remember receiving on a written paper is C. In my sophomore year, I developed a short-lived period of motivation. I still feel a slight sense of frustration when I think of turning in work that merited something better but receiving yet another C grade. I know it was my fault. I had classified myself and disappointed the instructors and they saw me as a C student. I have myself to blame.

During my first year of college I had the shock of receiving an A minus on my first paper. It was an eye-opener. I had begun to believe that outside the subjects of math and science I didn’t have the ability to do better work.

The transformation wasn’t instantaneous. My grades continued to drop. I got one or two failing grades and one morning didn’t get out of bed to go to class. I enlisted in the Army, got out four years later and worked two years before re-enrolling in college. On my second attempt I was a straight A student. What made the difference? Two children!

Education was no longer something to be endured. It was serious work. It was my job. I always sat first row left or first row right to make sure I could see, hear, get hand outs, ask questions and be known by the instructors. On my second attempt at college, I had no scholarships. I had to work enough to take care of my family and pay cash for my school expenses. I still get a sense of pleasure out of knowing that I completed two years of college and three years of graduate school without incurring debt.

After I finished my education and in spite of A grades, I didn’t feel like a good writer and didn’t enjoy it. For twenty-five years I avoided writing whenever possible. Over a year ago I started blogging with reservation. I disliked writing. It’s hard work.

I don’t understand it. Something has changed. I find writing enjoyable. I like it. I wonder why?

The future is inviting. I wonder what new hobbies and interests may grab me. If I can learn to like writing then anything is possible.

6 Comments:

Blogger whitesnake said...

Tis was Kat that talked me into blogging and it is people like yourself annd others that inspire me to continue........Not by saying "There's a good boy, well written" but by the stories you tell the adventures you have had and share.
Tell ya something mate I thought I couldn't write stuff until I just started typing away. one thing i did learn is to be yourself. Once I started doing that stuff would flow. Once I started writing I started reading then started learning then started understanding and questioning......
Geeezzzzzzz I rabbit on!

9/29/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Buffalo said...

For some reason I assumed you had always been a scholar. For some odd reason I take pleasure in that fact.

9/29/2006 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger MojoMan said...

Regents scholarship test? Did you grow up in New York? We had those there, and I did poorly on them.

Perhaps writing is easier now because you have something to say. As we get older, we have a better perspective and we can look back and see how things are connected and how one thing leads to another.

9/29/2006 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger The Michael said...

I have had people, including my wife, but she's biased, tell me I'm a good writer. So, for the purposes of this comment, I'll go with that. I think I could have written well as a much younger man but I think there are so many other things much more important to us then and we never delve into it. Now, a much older man with few distractions other than constant peril of homelessness, I seem to have turned the pressure relief valve on a pent up desire to vent, and yes, I think it's this sense of helplessness that I and many of my fellow Americans seem to have acquired. I know that if I got up on a soapbox in a public square and said all these things, I would most likely be stoned or ignored altogether. Here, I am listened to, but I think I am preaching to the choir. My dream would be to have one hard-core conservative read what I have to say and perhaps THINK for one blessed day in his or her life. If I could bring ONE person to BOB, then I think the rationality would spread, and who knows, maybe I CAN make a difference.

9/29/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

I understand the feeling. About 10 years ago I needed to find a way to communicate to a growing number of employees. I started writing a newsletter. Like you, I was surprised to find out that I enjoyed writing and started paying attention to learning how.

While reading your blog, I often appreciate how, when you write, your humanity shines through. We all get a better view as you shine a light on interesting little corners of life.

9/30/2006 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I could kick myself for wasting many years in mediocrity when I could really have enjoyed the educational process.

10/01/2006 09:04:00 AM  

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