Going back again, maybe.

I’m looking into going back to school, again. I must be a glutton for punishment since I only graduated two years ago, but I really do want to go back. I’ve been mulling it over for a while now, at least a year, probably more. At one point, I had considered going back to earn my teaching certificate, which I decided was not the path I wanted, or needed, to take.

Here I am, years later, and I feel that I need to return, to major in a new field. Yes, I do have a Bachelor’s in General Studies, but that’s really what it sounds like. I’m looking into a career that needs a focused degree and certification. I’ll admit to a certain amount of trepidation, especially in regards to how long it’ll take to complete and the incumbent cost. I’m still paying off my loan for my most recent go around!

The fact is I’m unhappy where I’m at. I’m tired and I’m angry. I’m tired of being angry. Where I’m currently at in life is not where I want to be, it’s not where I’m supposed to be, but it is where I am. I can remain where I’m at and allow this anger and bitterness to consume me, or I can do something about it.

All I’ve known for most of my adult life is retail. I dislike retail. I’ve done it, I have moved up before, and though there are aspects to it in which I excel, the parts I don’t like hold me back. More than just that, I have an attitude problem precisely because I have been there before and because I feel that I’m not being allowed to do what I know I’m capable of doing.

Did you know that this is the first place I’ve worked for since 1999 that I haven’t been promoted? I have always been given a supervisory position. I’m knowledgeable enough, I’m responsible enough, and I have the experience to prove it, but that’s not enough. Not at my current job, and not with my current employers.

But as much as I would like, I can’t completely fault them. In fact, I should probably thank them for holding me back, for forcing me to evaluate my life and the direction I’m heading. Were they to promote me, I might be tempted to continue the rat race for financial reasons. That would be bad. Money has never been a good enough motivator for me. I need it, I want it, and I would like to have a certain independence, but that’s not what motivates me.

So what motivates me? Doing what I like, what I care about. What drives me is to get my job done, to step back and see a completed project, and to know that I did that. I also need to feel appreciated, which is something that management has never been good at providing. Also, I would like to find a decent job that will allow me to have a set schedule. My personal time is very important to me. I need it to survive, as a matter of fact!

I don’t know what my alma mater will say in regards to my inquiry. I hope I will be allowed to return this coming semester, though it may be too late to go back. I hope they will give me the chance to major in the field I’m hoping to join. I’m simultaneously excited and terrified by the thought of moving forward with this. I’ve thought about it for years, and if ever I’m going to do it, I would think now’s the time to do so, while I’m free and young enough to get it done.

Until then, I’ll keep the field of study a secret. If I’m given the greenlight to return, and if I’m able to go back this semester, I’ll give you an update and tell you what I will be studying. Until then, positive thoughts and prayers would be appreciated.

Practice and discipline

It’s hard as an aspiring writer to sit back and read a book and not compare myself to the author of said book. Am I alone in this? I know I’m not. I remember feeling that when I became a music major twenty years ago, and I would listen to another student perform. I couldn’t help but feel that my own talent was lacking. So I quit.

It took me a few years, but I learned enough to know that I didn’t have what it takes to be a musician. For someone on the outside looking in, it looks like it could be fun, and it is, but it’s called a discipline for a reason. To achieve any measurable success, either as a performer or a teacher, requires hours of grueling practice and studying, and I lacked the discipline to work at it. The only honest thing I could do was to walk away, and for years I was lost.

A few years later, I dropped out entirely, and my life has taken a circuitous route  though life, adrift on the seas of time, having neither purpose nor direction, and when you have no destination in mind, it’s amazing how long it takes to get nowhere!

But eventually you will collide with something, which I did in 2011 and going into 2012. My life fell apart, and everything I had, everything I had worked, I lost piece by piece, until I had nothing left. Even my pride was reduced to a pile of ash, blown away by the wind.

Keeping up with the nautical metaphor, writing became my lifesaver, keeping my head above water as I tried to find my bearings. Being adrift for so long, with no mind on my direction, it took another year for me to begin to rebuild. I went back to school, taking a Grammar and Writing class to end my academic career. Writing, it seemed, became my new goal.

But when I read the professional practitioners of the art form, I’m struck by how eloquent they sound in my mind. I read my own, and I feel lacking again in talent. Perhaps you’re not cut out for this, my inner doubt tells me, feeding my insecurities. You’ll never be a real writer. Why not give up?

Why not? Because this time, I won’t walk away. I have something to say, so I’m going to say it. I may not use the most flowery language, but that’s not my style. I’m rather prosaic in style, direct and to the point. If something is blue, it’s blue and not azure. If someone is in love, they are in love and not enamored. I’m not adept at creating imagery with words, but I don’t believe that’s necessary to the tales I’ve decided to tell.

I trade in reality instead of fantasy, though I am a fan of the latter. I hope that doesn’t mean that the reader will be unable to create the scenes in their minds as they read my simple words. I have stories to tell, simple and hopefully with some underlying truth. I try not to be allegorical in my storytelling. I don’t want to preach or teach a lesson. What I write is personal to me in some way, and my characters are a reflection of me, of my suffering and joys, of what I am and what I wish I could be.

I believe my writing has matured as I’ve become more practiced with the written word. Next month will be my four-year anniversary of my blog, and I just completed my fourth NaNoWriMo this past November. I’ve written and rewritten many of my books, and I’ve read and I’ve reviewed almost two dozen novels. I’m just getting started.

I’m still a musician, if you want to know, though now I play solely for my benefit. I hope to buy an electric guitar in the near future and learn to play some of my favorite rock tunes. But my music is to soothe my own inner demons even if I still dream of being a rock star.

But I don’t have the discipline to be a musician, but I hope I’ve proven to myself that I do have it for becoming a writer. I’ve toiled in obscurity, known only because I’ve chosen to share a bit of my madness unseen via this simple blog. I dream of more, of having my reach extended, as do other writers, to include a larger audience. I want to be read, and my books enjoyed, by as many people as possible.

Until then, I’ll continue to hone my skills in private, sharing snippets to gauge if I’m ready to risk failure and success. I may not be as good a writer as the authors I read, but in my style, they will never be as good as I am. I will never have their successes, but why should that mean I can’t have my own? I just have to keep practicing.

 

In the home stretch

sonoma coffee cafe

sonoma coffee cafe (Photo credit: justonlysteve)

I never got around to writing yesterday. Shame on me. To be honest, the next few weeks are going to be a bit hectic for me, so finding a free moment to share my wackiness may prove difficult. I many miss a few posts here and there.

I’m in the last weeks of the semester. I have two weeks of class and then finals the week after, and then I’ll be done. After that I’ll have three weeks off before the start of the summer, then I’ll really be done

At the same time, It looks as if my new temporary job is starting to finally give me some hours Not enough for me to afford anything, but enough for me to feel the pinch of time. So yeah, I’m probably going to feel exhausted as I lose all time to myself these next few weeks.

It’s only a short-term sacrifice. I have to keep reminding myself that this is short-term. It’s a little more than two months until I’ll be done. I can do this.In the mean time I’m still rewriting my novel, and it’s a significant rewrite with some major changes, project is due Thursday, and I have a portfolio to put together for my Creative Nonfiction.

What has me really worried is that I need to line up a permanent job. The job I have is not where I want to be. To be honest, it’s a bit of a regression for me, a step back into a career path that’s ill-suited for me, and frankly pays like crap. I know money isn’t everything but to deny its importance is stupid. Let me illustrate this concept in a manner I think will understand. I have bills to pay. I need a car. I want to have my own place again to do what I want. And I wouldn’t mind being able to afford to go out now and again.

So although my present state is short-term, I really need to focus on the long-term as well. If I don’t, I may be stuck here and likely will fall into my depression all over again. I really don’t want to start on that course again, especially now that I’m feeling a little better.

The one where I think about doing book reviews

BOOKS ABOUT BOOKS

BOOKS ABOUT BOOKS (Photo credit: jm3)

Too much to do and so little time? Welcome to the end of the semester! I know I have nothing to complain about, and in contrast to the utter boredom I suffered mere months ago, this is a very welcome change.

I have a few projects staring me in the face, and although it’s crunch time, I’m not sweating it. Not yet at least. My lowest grade at the moment stands at 89.68%. I’m sure I can raise that to a 90. So unless I have a complete meltdown in the next few weeks, I am sure I can make the Dean’s List. I’m not counting on it, though. I still have work to do to make it happen.

In addition to my course load, the too few hours I’m spending at the place of my employment, and my writing, I’m thinking about starting another project. I am considering doing a monthly book review. My plan is to review only self-published novels. The next part is how to choose which books to review.

My goal is twofold. One, I want publicize unknown authors and get their works seen by people who might not otherwise have a chance to come across those works. Secondly, I want to improve my own abilities to critique other literary works, and in the process improve my own ability to write. I know, I know, it’s always about me isn’t it?

I’m still not entirely sure I’m going to do this. I have had many grand ideas that never came to fruition and this may be another one of those failed ideas. We’ll see. I already have a book in mind for my first review and if the tracker on Amazon is to be believed, it just left Hebron, KY. I should have it in a few days. What I don’t know is when I’ll do the review.

I have a few technicalities to work out, as in how I’ll post it. I’ll post it on here on my blog, but probably not on the blog feed. I’ll start a new page solely for book reviews with a link on the menu bar on the top. I’ll have to figure out the how later.

Right now I need to get back to work. I have Grammar class in less than an hour and we will have a quiz. Yay! Ugh….  At least the semester is almost over. I just don’t know if I’ve learned anything there. Oh well, education ho!

Close and getting closer

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I met with my adviser today on campus to get situated for the summer term. Took less than five minutes to get in and out of her office. I’ve been greenlit for the summer and all that I lack is to register for Summer I term to take the four hours I lack to be done with school.

What made it all the more real was the packet she had ready for me. A Graduation Application which I need to fill out and turn in to the Dean’s office by July 1st so that I can graduate this August. Nineteen years after I graduated high school I will finally graduate college. What next? I don’t know, not yet at least. I’ll need to redo my resume, and maybe enlist the help of others to make an outstanding resume complete with my soon to be earned degree.