If I could go back to my college self and talk to her one on one, I would have plenty of advice for her. But regarding my future career as a writer and author, I might tell her to major in English because someday, she would really use and need it.
In college, I didn't really know what I was going to be when I grew up. Though a career in radio sounded like a lot of fun so I decided I would head in that direction. I declared a major in Religious Studies early on because I was in love with the classes and the subject. I figured a minor in English would be good because I've always loved to write.
I took one or maybe two English classes and the professor was great. A very nice man and a great teacher. But to be quite honest with you, I don't think he got me. And I didn't get him. Let me explain. He was a writer and a published author himself and he often would have short stories in one journal or another. Sometimes, he would even read them out loud to the class. You know the type of story. Everything in the story meant something. Symbolism was heavy and there was a literary aspect to every word.
Now there's a time and a place for that type of writing and it's wonderful that some people can do that, but I can't. It's not me. At all. So as others in the class would nod with understanding, I would sit and wonder what in the world his story was supposed to be about and why it was entertaining to everyone around me.
Anyway, long story short, he was the first teacher I ever had that didn't seem to be impressed with my writing. And because of our differences, I look back now and understand why. Also because of those differences, I quickly decided that an English minor wasn't really right for me so I declared a second major to go along with my Religious Studies major. I would also major in Mass Communications and go into radio.
I took the one radio class my college offered and worked at the campus station as well as other radio stations in town and some in other towns as well. I went on to have a career in radio for a full decade. I feel like I learned most of what I know on the job and not from classes, as is true of a lot of professions.
But with my career in radio now behind me and an email in my inbox with phrases that include "dangling participles" I now wonder if I should have perhaps given the English major, or at the very least a minor another try. I know it wouldn't have taught me how to write. As I said in my post last week, the only way to learn how to write is to write. But perhaps I could have learned some of the technical aspects that would have helped me out in my career now.
Editing has never been my strong suit and I don't expect to enjoy it or be all that good at it. I'm a storyteller. I weave the tales and let them do what they want to do. I don't analyze every word for meaning or technicalities or anything else. But now, I have to. I have to dig back into "Wrong Place, Right Time" and ignore many of the creative aspects and look for little details. To that I say "Ugh." But I will do it with as much of a smile on my face as I can muster...because it puts me one step closer to my dream of seeing it out in print.
Ah to have been an English major. I enjoyed most of my classes in both of the majors I chose, but the whole "dangling participle" phrase that is so intimidating me now makes me wonder if perhaps I should have given English another shot. Too little too late. I shall use the internet to learn what I must. :)