Welcome to my first blog post!
I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Mrs. Webster, my first-grade teacher, had each of her students make a book as a project. I say make a book, not just write a story, because in the crafty way we did things back then, we actually hand made a book. There were wall paper remnants, cardboard, glue, and if memory serves, a needle and thread involved in the creation of this book. The story itself was hand written on cream colored construction paper with pencil. I drew some handy little illustrations, wrote the title in magic marker on the front, sewed and/or glued (I’m fuzzy on this part) and ta-da! my first book. Regardless of the quality of the finished project, I held a product of my own thoughts in my seven-year-old hands.
My love for writing was not reinforced eleven years later by my freshman writing class at Western Michigan University. My instructor was a grad student with an obsession for the blues singer and guitarist BB King. Our class of twenty or so eighteen-year-olds raised mostly on pop radio, were treated to BB’s music on a regular basis. The turntable sat on an unoccupied desk top as much a member of the class as each of the students.
I was already beyond intimidated by college. Being asked to contribute original thoughts at a moment’s notice in front of strangers was not my forte. I disliked being the center of attention in such situations immensely. Giant lecture halls where I could remain comfortably anonymous were by far my favorite classes at that age.
This class, was a nightmare for me. The King fan instructor was intense, direct, and not warm and fuzzy at all. He actually was kind of fuzzy… scraggly blonde beard and long, forgotten hair. And he was warm, although not in personality, he was frequently sweaty. He consistently wore sandals, loose pants, and hooded pullovers he may have picked up at a cool market in Mexico. He was completely focused on the craft of writing (when he wasn’t focused on BB King) and was determined to get the class focused on those things as well.
We were challenged to write about impactful moments in our lives, to dig deep and discover how those experiences shaped us. Other student wrote of death, and separation, illness, abuse, poverty, and some of great accomplishment and success. I wrote about what a great guy my Dad was and how I was going to marry my high school sweet heart. I don’t think the instructor liked me. My most lasting memory of this class was that it pointed out how average my life was. At the end of the semester, I left that class with a sense of insignificance as well as one of foreboding.
Because no one continues an average life forever.
As time progressed my mostly average life was punctuated by some not so average moments. A situation that rocked my marriage to the core and a dangerous pregnancy being the most pronounced. Both of those times ended up good though. My marriage and my child survived and thrived. Life was average again. Here it is by the numbers…by age 40 I had one marriage (high school sweetheart) three children, almost zero financial concern, and one significant loss, my grandpa when I was 22. I had great friendships, great relationships with my family, and a rock solid sense of security in my life.
Somehow, through all those years, that old sense of foreboding that came to light in freshman writing, remained a tiny flame in the back of my mind. Sometimes I would wonder when it would happen. When the average would succumb.
Then, it did.
Now my life is not average. It’s less average than I ever would had guessed. I’ve come a long way since that ENG 110 class and my love for writing has been reinforced by encouragement from my Facebook community. My experiences have given me a lot to write about and that’s what I’ll do in this blog. Welcome to my perfectly imperfect life.