Showing posts with label life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life. Show all posts

Friday, September 13, 2013

One Step At A Time

          I started writing in college, while taking a creative writing course.  The lecturer, a woman who had just received her MFA in creative writing, was a very gentle about introducing us to the beauty of stories and languages.  I enjoyed her class and even after the class ended, her love for language stuck with me.
          Over the years, I kept at it, in a pretty haphazard fashion.  Then, a couple years ago, I began writing regularly.  Writing slowly turned into a daily habit.  Little snippets of writing, bigger essays, stories.  Little by little, I became acquainted with the use of language.
          I get frustrated easily.  I also psych myself out.  In the beginning I am enthusiastic.  Then the doubts usually creep in.  But something about writing - the slow accumulation of ideas and phrases - keeps me going.  And here's the thing - most of what I write doesn't get used.  At least not when I write it.  But the longer I've kept at writing, the more I find myself using phrases and ideas that, when I first came up with them, weren't useful.  Then, as time goes on and I expand my database, some of these ideas and phrases take on new uses.  
         In some ways, the process of learning how to write has taught me to keep going.  To have patience with myself.  And to take things, one step at a time, one piece at a time, until you reach a point at which things start to come together.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Renaissance Woman

          In high school, I met with a college admissions counselor, who asked me about my extracurricular activities and academic performance. For sports, I had done ballet and track and cross country. I had won an art competition, performed in the school musical, and played guitar for the jazz band. I excelled at history and I loved science. I worked in a research lab, where I helped screen for mutations affecting mesodermal development in worms.
          “So you’re a Renaissance woman” he said, looking pleased. “College admissions officers love that.”
          I always assumed that growing up meant pruning away my interests to concentrate on a single discipline. That is the logical route to take; we live in an era of specialization. Being a jack-of-all-trades, or a student of all disciplines, is confusing and chaotic.
          I have been searching for that one single thing that I am good at; I still don’t know the answer. None of my ventures have seemed to be quite the right fit for me. Lately, it has occurred to me that I need to play to my actual strengths, rather than the strengths I wish I had, or the strengths that I think I could develop.
          My strength, as I see it, is that I am interested in everything. This doesn’t seem much like strength – these past years, I have often thought of it as weakness. The flipside of being interested in everything is that you never really master one thing. My concentration – and my ability to focus – is hampered because I am always going off on tangents. As they say – “Jack of all trades, master of none”.
          I cannot change who I am; all that I can do is try and find a way to position myself to turn a potential weakness into strength. And so, after all these years, I have reached a point where I realize that I just need to accept my strengths for what they are and learn to work with what I have.