Last night while at work I had a lot of time to think. (About 10 hours.) We were getting ready for a big visit from someone so far up the food chain that anyone with even a hint of accountability scurried around like the field mouse in the hawk’s shadow. Most of it was very tedious simple work that didn’t involve much thought, so my brain preoccupied itself with other things.
My thought processes aren’t always liner but they usually eventually come to a point of connection. Three things swirled around my head repeatedly for most of the night. One was this poem:
When I was thirteen my mom signed my brother and I up for Tae Kwon Do. She had to work a part time job to pay for it but we were ecstatic. We had wanted to take martial arts for a long time thanks to Asian action films, comic books, and kid’s shows. (At the age of twelve I had a firm belief I was going to grow up to be Catwoman.)
Our teacher was named Terry. He worked construction during the day and taught martial arts at night. To me at the time he was the ultimate Jedi Master. My very own sensei. If he told me something then that was just the way it was, no questions asked. If anyone else had told me I could break boards with my hand I would have looked at them like they were crazy. When Terry said it was possible. I hit those plastic practice boards over and over until I did it. It wasn’t easy that first time. In fact, my teacher was worried that I might hurt myself with my own determination, but it paid off with success.
My mom’s part time job only lasted about six months and when it ended so did our lessons. I learned a lot those six months and during that time Terry gave my brother and I a poster with the poem printed over a background of a rising sun. I taped it to the back of my bedroom door and read it whenever life got tough. (When you are a teenager that is just about everyday.)
The second thing on my mind was this post: http://stephanie-osborn.blogspot.com/
Mostly I thought about rank on the author totem pole. I thought about those high up that have earned their places and those that consider themselves high up. I thought about how little I know and how likely it would be for me to unwittingly offend these people if I ever met them. (Everyone has heroes. I don’t want to annoy mine.)
(I still haven’t figured out an answer to what I would do beyond be as polite as possible and try not to be a dork. Also I wouldn’t try to pretend I am higher on the totem pole than I am. I know I am somewhere near the bottom. I am not on the very bottom because I am pretty sure I out rank my seven year old. Maybe. He writes some pretty good Super Mario and Luigi stories. )
The last thing that kept popping up in my head was Halloween when I was in forth grade. My teacher, Mrs. Driver, read us half of a story. She put the names of everyone in the class in the story and we had to write the second half. She would pick a few really good ones, read them to the class, and we would pick a winner. The winner would get a pumpkin ink pen on a necklace and some candy. (To a fourth grader that was a prize worth more than gold.) I had a lot of fun writing my entry and I thought my teacher would like it, though I doubted she would read it out loud.
We had to wait until after lunch for our teacher read the finalist. I was excited when I realized mine made it. I was even more excited when the class voted and I won. The best part however, was Mrs. Driver reading my story and listening to my class mates giggle. It was the first time people (who weren’t my parents) enjoyed something I made up. Winning the contest only solidified that they liked it. (My mom still has the story somewhere.)
The point where these three things connected for me was : No matter where you are on the writing totem pole respect those that are also on it, no matter where they are. Don’t give up on your writing. Don’t Quit. And if a fourth grader could do it then, then I can do it now.
These dots may not seem to connect to anyone else but I guess that’s okay. They connected for me while I was thinking so that’s enough. Maybe others have their own dots that come to similar conclusions.