I do not know her personally.
Or maybe I do know her personally but in the same way many others know her personally. After reading a writer’s thoughts for a long period of time, it can feel personal. It’s more accurate to say we have never met face-to-face.
She is an incredibly gifted writer, one of the greats I can’t compare myself to. No, really. If you spend a few minutes on her blog or read her book, she’ll easily pull you in. Her life story is a fascinating one but I’m only giving you a tiny part of it.
A few years ago, her husband tried to get her interested in Instagram by giving her a 30-day list of “somethings” to post. Something fragile, something shocking, something terrifying, something lucky, something obvious, something far, something near…
Ra’s husband died. Ra is a young widow. She found her late husband’s 30-day list and is taking his challenge. She welcomed others to join too. I will post it all to my Instagram. If I can, I will write about each one too because I love a good writing challenge.
Writing is my Olympics.
Day 1: Something unfinished.
I could make this one easy and tangible. I never finished the Game of Thrones books because the TV show is better. A year after moving, Scott’s home office is still unpacked with boxes scattered on the floor. And I still need to install a toilet paper roll in Emma and Kate’s bathroom. Once the butt-wiping days disappeared, I didn’t even give them a decent toilet roll set-up.
I’m not going to write about those things.
Continuing education is my “something unfinished.” This may sound odd to some because I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kansas State. Class of 2004.
I was 22 years old. A baby. A mere one year into walking out of a liquor store with a bottle of cheap whiskey. I mean, legally speaking.
Did I know what I wanted to do with my bachelor’s degree and cheap bottle of whiskey? No. I was 3 years deep in a state of panic over deciding a major. I wasn’t good at anything. I was a 3.2 average student with no desire but to just pass class.
I couldn’t decide.
Education degree? No. Kids can sense apprehensiveness and they would destroy me immediately.
Medical degree? I’m squirming and trying to hold down chunks at the thought of it.
Chemistry degree? Kansas State University can thank me for not choosing a chemistry degree because I’d probably blow up one of their buildings and my lifeless body would be wheeled out live on CNN.
Business? My negotiation skills at a garage sale can be summed up by my “it’s all free” sign in my driveway.
Math degree? Yeah, I don’t speak Chinese.
Art degree? Wait, did you say I need a portfolio from high school? No one told me that.
Journalism? Fine, I’ll do it. I read the newspaper.
A journalism degree. A Bachelor of Arts degree: Mass communications with an emphasis in advertising. Technically.
Marriage, kids, various sales jobs filled the years since 2004. I was terrible at sales. I’m an ok mom and an even ok-er wife.
In 2013, 9 years after college, it clicked. I found my major. I found my drive, my obsession, my purpose as a human in this world – writing. People that are good at what they do have confidence. Writing doesn’t scare me. “I could have wrote that” is a common thought of mine. I’m jealous when my kids bring home book reports or anything that involves a lot of writing. I told you a writing challenge is my Olympics. I’m good and I strive for great.
My something unfinished is an English degree. My words are small. My vocabulary is weak. I’m still the 3.2 average student and I can only work with what I know. I know how to start and keep a dialogue in front of thousands of people, people I don’t know personally. Writing is a way to release my creativity, wit, and maybe a little humor.
People assume I’m silently correcting their grammar when they find out I write. That’s not true. The editors are. When my words are put on the stage, there’s always a person behind my name. It’s the editor. Editors make writers look good. They are masters of the language. I want that. I want to be a master.
I own English textbooks even when I don’t have a class to attend. I read books on writing by famous writers. I’m searching for better ways to string my words together. It sounds simple – stringing words together, letter by letter, but it’s difficult. It’s unfinished.
English is my something unfinished.