As I recall, my handwriting during those elementary school days were indeed horrible. No one, not even me the writer could read or make any sense of whatever was written. But, the #2 pencil marks on the white, double lined pages of my copy-book were my best hand writing. Penmanship that looked a lot like abstract art–something is being said, but, the logic is obscure. The Curator at the national museum would have easily classified my writing amongst the original artifacts of an ancient civilization–an unknown language yet to be translated.
Yet, with all certainty I confess that I’m the one who wrote whatever was on those pages. It was undoubtedly, the language of our British Colony– English. I am also quite familiar with the scribbled scratches, the overly- gratuitous capitalization–like letters in an alphabet soup and most distinctively, the several blistered, round holes in the pages caused by an overused coarse eraser and some spit. I would quickly touch my tongue with the eraser and in an aggressive circular motion; desperately tried to remove the errors–only to compound the ambiguity, of my initial endeavor.
Anyone attempting to translate the enigmatic mixture constantly stumbles over these taller letters in the middle of the woRd. Without any sequence or pattern, capital letters appeared like punctuations gone wild. My teachers, who, of course were never prepared to peruse the rubble or do any kind of excavation– to try and figure out what was attempted– often gave up in utter frustration.
“What in the world is this mess?” They all asked…
Neither of my teachers, the family doctor, nor my parents could determine the cause, or put a handle on this rare condition–or even worse-find a suitable remedy for my complaint. (I was not the one complaining.) However, I have personally named my condition “dys-letter-xia.” (a mild mutation of the host– dyslexia.) This amorphous condition, affects one in seven billion people in the world. The victim often suffers from an irresistible tendency to randomly insert capital letters in “eVeRy WOrd.” However, he is not mentally unstable; neither does he display any visible signs of muscular or physical deformities. His cognitive skills appear to be normal and are consistent with the average male of his age group.
Moreover, all my scribbled scratches looked like the syntax of an over-worked, ready to retire stenographer, desperately trying to maintain a steady hand after an extended weekend with her spirited companion-Vodka.
Therefore, all my school work including home work, were graded “F”-failed. Almost every line of my “Weak attempt at composition” as Ms. Pablo, my English teacher described it-was an aggressively passive sentence. The past tense “is” made present and my point of view was comically distorted.
My adverbs mystified instead of modified.
Adjectives decried rather than described.
Commas were misplaced everywhere like the playroom of a two year old.
Colons were inserted where there should be semi-colons, causing diarrhea-like conditions with no full-stops, except at the end of the so-called essay.
Nouns wore captions from the first letter to the last.
Pro- nouns he, she, it, they and them were used as conjunctions and a conjunction began almost every sentence.
But I tried… God knows I tried my best.
It was not until my second year in high school that Ms. India, the Math. Teacher came to the rescue. (Yes the math teacher.) She bought penmanship books for the entire class. (Apparently there were other students with writing issues.) Consequently, after two weeks of rigorous practice, one exercise after another, my writing dramatically improved– much to the delight of all my instructors. For the first time, I began seeing complimentary A’s on my assignments. I am learning to write.
Now here am I, after almost 15 years in Accounting, and 22 years as a Home Remodeling contractor-I’m trying to switch careers again. I want to become a writer. I still love to write. Only this time, I’m able to read what I write.
I have been writing articles, short stories, sermons and the occasional news release for the past 30 years-off and on. I want to write. I enjoy writing. One day I will be a great writer.
But, on completing my last assignment with Writers Digest University, I’m desperately in need of a Pepcid-Ac for my in-Digest-ion. I am still burping, totally uncomfortable, as I struggled, almost to despair while crafting my personal essay.
My instructor say’s I am doing well in expressing my opinions. But, I need to explore the topic, taking the readers on a journey of interesting facts and information about my subject. This she emphasized is the essence of essay writing. So, as I assay to follow her advice on crafting the personal essay; without ranting or preaching as she critiqued, but taking the reader on an adventure… exploring the subject; I’m determined to work harder, pressing toward the mark of excellence. I will write and re-write till I get it right.
But, what my instructor doesn’t know… is that I am a bible–toting, foot-stomping, hallelujah-shouting, tongue-talking– Born-Again-Preacher. This, I have done all my life; multi-tasking along the way. Yes, I love to tell “The Good-Ole-Gospel Story”. I love to tell of Jesus and his death at Calvary, his burial in a borrowed tomb and his glorious resurrection on Sunday morning. Hallelujah! Stomp, stomp.
Therefore, for me to write a personal essay– I cannot help but frequent the crystal, clear waters of my theological persuasion, and there, baptize my pen in Biblical quotations with Christological references such that, my essays become tainted with sermons.
Nevertheless, I will continue to study the timeless classic of: The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, Word Magic for Writers by Cindy Rogers, and Crafting the Personal Essay by Dinty W. Moore. I have yet to purchase, The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation by Jane Straus. I will also continue to take advantage of those free online grammar courses by “The Owl” at Purdue University and the free online English Grammar and Composition Lessons by Richard Nordquist.
Until I”Write it Right” I will continue the pursuit–reading for hours each day, then writing late into the midnight hours. I will follow the instructions in my “Daily Writing Tips” thus “I will aspire to leave ‘that’ out.” (Maybe, I should just leave that out.)
I don’t want to write like anyone else. Why should I copy or become the copy of another. I just want to be me. My voice, my style-I’ve got something to say, and I will declare it, simply and succinctly. “I must write. for the reader.’ As under oath in a courtroom, I count it an honor and very much a responsibility to testify in writing to every man, every woman and all in between-“So help me God.”
I belong to a league of overachievers. We strive to do what others say we can’t do. We are proud to be the star-trek generation-“Going, where no man has gone before.” Reaching heights unknown, running through troops and leaping over walls. We are Unstoppable, unmovable and yes undeniably so.
Well some folks think that I may have this ADHD; but, the truth is, I just love to be challenged. I’m never satisfied with the ordinary and I despise mediocrity. I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me. Philippians 4:13. I believe I can walk on water because the Bible says I can. My daily dosage of faith gives me the tenacity to strive for excellence even in the face of daunting odds. Doing what God says I can do, and being all that he has destined for me.
Since I am created in the image and likeness of God, and filled with his spirit– I am endowed with the unparalleled potential to create the world in which I choose to live by the words I speak.
It is written, “In the beginning God said” (Genesis 1:3). As he spoke, it came to pass. As it came to pass, men wrote the historical accounts we read of in chronological volumes of the Holy Bible. So also, I’ll continue to write. This story must be told. Let’s all tell our story so that we may learn from each other.
In conclusion… as I read, I write.
As I write, I edit.
As I edit I do so with the mindset of the several editors I have encountered in my career. Books I have read; on-line courses I have taken. Instructions I’ve received from so many sources in my eager quest to become a writer.
A picker I am, but a writer I’ll be,
A blank page or mental block will not stop me.
I love to write, for me it’s therapy
Almost anything inspires me.
I can write about time and years
Animals: Lions, tigers and bears
Books and schools, Machines and tools
Husbands and wives, the days of our lives
Money and sex, why people love to text
Cream and coffee,
Milk and sugar, you name it…
Just give me a minute
Let me research the topic
I may not always get it right, but be sure, I’m going to write.
One day I will become great writer, and my book, my story carved out of the mountains and valleys of my life’s experiences may be a number one best seller. I pray therefore that the multitudes that may enter my congregation of readers be abundantly blessed.
As a reader, you have the right to information: facts that are interesting, inspiring, educating and motivating. It is my responsibility therefore, to sit at my desk and write.