Skip to content

Expert or Dilettante?

July 14, 2015

11168075_10206807605053526_7168338764436144067_oPeople who know me sometimes tease me about my wide range of interests–and justly so. I identify much more strongly with the Renaissance men than with specialists. Want clear proof? I have an accounting major, but I taught English for 25 years. In the meantime, I’ve taught exercise and Lamaze; I’ve sold needlework kits and scrapbooking supplies. I’ve sold real estate. For fun, I play mandolin, take photographs, and enjoy making art. I write poetry, fiction, and book reviews. And, obviously, I blog.

Reading this week’s chapter of Write Your Heart Out has given me the chance to focus on the additional benefits of my experiences, particularly as they affect my writing life. When I write about these areas of my life, I have so many different languages to use. I can shift from debits and credits, income statements and balance sheets straight into chords, keys, and arpeggios or dactyls, assonance, and sibilance.

I’ve had travel experiences that give me a powerful sense of place–from the Grand Canyon to Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, from the Eiffel Tower to the Empire State Building, from Panama City Beach to the historic beaches of Normandy. My “normal” life, however, offers me another sense of place–the specificity of a church basement where Lamaze couples sit on the floor on pillows and blankets, the crowded hallways of a high school building, an old-time music jam circle under a canopy beneath the July night sky.

I love the challenge of taking my readers with me to those places through their senses–the smells of a market in Guangzhou, with monkeys, rabbits, eels, and lizards offered for culinary delight, the frenzied pace inside the concession stand at the Hickory Crawdads’ stadium, preparing and serving up popcorn, hot dogs, fountain drinks, and pretzels to spectators waiting ten deep, the simultaneous clicks of twenty-five sets of fingers on keyboards in a comp class when a deadline falls at the end of a fifty-minute class, the moan and roar as the printer warms up and starts cranking out pages at the end of the hour, students shuffling through the pages as they emerge, trying to recognize their own final draft–and the heft of my paper load as I go back to my office, aware that the weight translates into hours of reading, marking, grading.

As usual, my challenge this week (and beyond) is narrowing my choices, finding a focus for what to write right now!

One Comment leave one →
  1. sandyyoung75 permalink
    July 14, 2015 10:02 pm

    Oh, my goodness, Cuz . . . I’m out of breath! Can’t wait to see what you “light” on. And I’m struggling with whether to write about teaching or sales repping! Well, I do have a few other areas of “expertise,” but I’ll probably write about something concerning McDougal Littell. Loved this!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: