Friday, February 28, 2014

Nothing Ventured...

Ready for class.

Every now and then my writing seems to fall flat, and I start to look for ways to give it a zing. In the past, writing prompts have helped, but I am looking for a long term solution. When a writer friend recommended an online class I was, at first, hesitant. 
I know there are the usual concerns like cost and time, but when I looked at our budget I noticed much more frivolous spending going on. Education is not frivolous, and too, one can make time for something that is worthwhile, something that can improve one’s ability.
There is another concern that rattles me, fear. Fear of failure, or in the context of writing this fear equates to rejection, but rejection is a flimsy excuse for a writer. Unfortunately, I am all too familiar with negative response. Anxiety is more the issue here, and it’s aimed at the idea of an online class, something I haven’t done before.
Nothing ventured nothing gained, I tell myself, a cliché, but it’s true. It helps to think back to a conversation I had with my father. Dad loved driving and I often went for rides with him. On one such ride, he told me his thoughts about the word combination, have to. He said, “Barbara, do you know that in this world there is nothing that you have to do?” Since I was a young child at the time, my father did not include a discussion about having to die.
This have to idea seemed unbelievable to me. I proposed many examples to try and prove him wrong. “You have to go to work, to sleep, to eat, dress, brush your teeth, and etc…” Dad listened and suggested alternatives to each.
Finally, exasperated with his game, I said, “You have to go to school.”
He said, “No, you don’t. You can stay home and watch cartoons, or you can put off school till you are older if you want.”
Well that sounded ridiculous to me. “Do you mean like you? You’re too old for school,” I told him.  At around age 35, Dad seemed old to me.
Perhaps he laughed before answering. “You’re never too old to learn new things.”
My father valued education. Since he loved photography, he learned late in life how to develop and print his own photos. When we moved to Guam, he built a boat with a friend from work, but it didn't live up to his expectations. He either gave it away or he salvaged it. Dad was not afraid of failing. He seemed to enjoy the challenge.
I finished my traditional college degree when I was forty-nine. Now, a decade later, it’s time for another challenge. Thanks Dad.