Saturday, March 17, 2012

Thoughts on Various Topics

Credit: Charles Schulz

"You're a good writer."

(This one is based off of a thought I had a few nights ago just before drifting off to sleep. And then I discussed with BS at work on Friday.)

So, the quoted statement up there sounds good, right? People have said that to me before and I don't want the following to be dismissive of their encouragement or to belittle their opinion. I guess the thought I had was just something of a reality check for myself.

So, when someone says that "You're a good writer." what exactly are they intending? Let's try and examine it for a minute.

I suppose that most people mean, you put words together well. You are clear in what you say. I enjoy reading the things you write. And all of that is great and makes me feel good. But are they suggesting that I am a potentially good novelist or author? I think colloquially, when people says that someone is a good writer, they are intending to say that "You could be a good author." Or maybe they just mean, "You're a better writer than me."

But when people have said that to me in the past, I took their meaning to be "You are a good author. I think you could write stories that people would be interested in reading." And so I have been (justifiably) encouraged and thought about such fantasies myself. But then I considered it a bit more and realized that what I write and what I have written in the past are not my own creations, but rather just descriptions of events. In my writing training as a historian, in my job as a textbook editor, and in my practice as a blogger, I regurgitate and explain, and recast things that were already done. I don't ever take the very important extra step and construct something that didn't already exist.

And that is such an important difference.

Getting Older--It's Happening!

I am getting older and it makes me wonder if I just need to accept it and move on. I have friends who are younger than me. And of course, I know lots of younger kids who are my children's age, or kids at church. And while I feel that I can talk to them on something close to their level of worldview and cultural knowledge, I begin to wonder if I am beginning to reach a point of no return.

Inevitably, the culture is going to slowly shift away from me. Has it already started and I am just not realizing it. Am I embarrassing myself by trying to do and know things that are best left to younger people?

In the past few years, I have learned more about the following things:
Harry Potter Wizard Rock
Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender and (its upcoming sequel) Legend of Korra
Different kinds of music such as Owl City.
Various channels on YouTube . . . and really, just YouTube itself.

Now, all of these things are things that I do genuinely enjoy. I am not intentionally seek out the youth culture to make myself seem hip. And, as a valuable added bonus, knowing about these things does help me stay connected with my kids

I guess, what I'm thinking here is that I hope I'll know when to step away and let things go on past me. But I don't want to take myself so seriously.

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