My little writing haven that I’ve created is very small mainly because of all of my crafting supplies, equipment, books, etc…, so it’s difficult to fit everything in here that I’d like to have available while writing. I am thinking about getting another of the larger ottomans to use for my cardmaking equipment so that I can clear an entire table (there are 3 arranged in a U shape) so that I’ll have enough room for more of the books that I like to keep handy and for all of my notebooks that are filled with information and things for ROW and SWW. I’d also like to have a clear space that I can use for actually writing in notebooks. I can do it now but I have to rearrange things first. As a writer, my brain is a jumble of things…what I want to write, how to find time to write, this blog, how to organize my space, work, laundry, chores, this and that and something else, etc…. I think that I might think if I can organize my space, I can organize my brain…or vice versa. I don’t think that we, as creatives, have in our heads the same thing that the “others” have in theirs. Or maybe our brains are different…they process information differently. We perceive things differently, think differently, organize information and things differently, and just process everything differently. I believe that creativity comes from a “shift” in our brains. Have you ever noticed that the majority of truly creative people have a history of performing poorly in school and many were considered to have learning disabilities or to be “special needs” as children? I, personally, did fine in grade school and junior high, where I was placed in advanced English classes, but once I was in high school, except for a few classes, I despised it. I skipped school a lot, did the bare minimum of homework but aced my tests so I’d pass with C’s. The classes I loved, I did well in them. The classes I loved were a very eclectic mix…ROTC, Honors English, German, Creative Writing, Aerospace/Aviation, Power Mechanics, etc…. The guidance counselor administered an IQ test and it came back in the genius range. He called my parents and me in and told them that I was gifted and needed to be in Advanced Placement classes because my regular classes were boring me. Fortunately, the counselor was a pretty cool guy so when I told him that I was perfectly happy with how things were and that even in the advanced classes, they were only going to be regurgitating the same things that I’d been hearing since at least junior high. So, he and my parents agreed that I should just continue on just the way that I was. So, I graduate with almost no idea what I wanted to do afterward. My dad told me that he didn’t care if I went to college or a trade school but I was doing 1 or the other. So, I went to junior college and took general classes and a few others that interested me and guess what…I flourished. I was a 4.0 student but could never decide what to major in. I have 4 disparate majors that I dropped out of within a couple of semesters of completing…religion, a double major in psych and social rehab, accounting, and legal studies. I was too ADD to stick with any of them all the way through to the end. I loved all of my majors but I think that somewhere in my brain, I knew that I wanted to write but there wasn’t a clear writing career track that I felt was solid enough to jump on. Aside from my junior year creative writing teacher, a freshman/sophomore English professor, and a creative writing professor in college, no one had ever complimented me on my writing. No one in my life even considered it an actual career. For me, it was something to dream about. I knew that I loved writing but it was a hobby…nothing more. So, I became an accountant. I enjoyed it but it didn’t completely fulfill me. So I wrote in my spare time and then one day, I was “discovered” by a publisher that had read some excerpts of my novel, in its infancy, on the website deviantArt. He optioned Rapture. It ended up not going anywhere because he got sidetracked by a production company that wanted to do a web series based on Rapture. I ended up telling him that I couldn’t do the scripts like they wanted and that I wanted out of the deal. We came to an agreement and I got to keep the option money. Then, as I’ve written on here before, life went a little haywire and I stopped working on my book. And, now I’m back and I have a lot of support. I guess that one of my points is that schools need to stop just teaching the 3 R’s. They need to look at kids as individuals that have different abilities and talents. Some will grow up to be academics, some will be career people, etc…, but some of these kids will grow up to be artists and writers and schools need to learn how to teach them rather than just trying to herd them onto a traditional career path. If a career as a writer had been presented to me even as late as high school, who knows where I’d be now. There’s no guarantee that I’d have a different life but I would have had a different outlook and I could have at least entertained a career as a writer earlier in my life. I lived in a smaller, somewhat traditional town when I was growing up so the schools were very traditional as well. Now, at least there are arts magnets schools that kids can attend but not all school districts have them. And there are more progressive schools that introduce kids to these other possibilities but, again, not all districts are progressive. So, our best bet is what it has always been…the teachers themselves. Teachers will be the first ones to recognize the kids that are like us. They need to encourage those kids and tell them that they aren’t defective just because they would rather draw or write poetry than figure out what X stands for in that algebraic formula. But they’ll also have to figure out a way to teach them what X stands for because the more traditional ways might not work. I’m not a linear thinker and I’m sure that a lot of you aren’t either. We learn differently. The teachers that were successful when teaching us kept us engaged rather than just reciting dry facts and formulas hour after hour. Actually, to break it down to the lowest common denominator…treat all students as individuals with different gifts and abilities. And when you ask one of them what they want to do when they grow up and they say that they want to be a writer or artist…don’t discourage them. Sure, it’s a difficult path for most aspiring writers and artists but so is becoming a physicist but that’s encouraged wholeheartedly. Traditions are great but when it comes to education, we need to do better than what we’ve always done. There have to be more paths that we can send students down other than the ones that adults deem to be appropriate and viable. And parents need to be more encouraging when their child tells them that they want to write. I know that the odds are against them but what if that child is the next Stephen King or J. K. Rowling? Don’t crush their spirits by trying to force them to be “normal.” Encourage their individuality and talent. We all need that in our lives whether we’re aspiring writers, artists, or even physicists.
“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” ~ Albert Einstein (it is disputed that he actually said this but I personally want to believe that he did)