Thursday, October 15, 2009

Born to Write

I started writing almost before I could talk. Mom says I would fill page after page with uniform little circles in neat rows. I vaguely recall drawing the circles and suspect I was writing. Having kept a journal for most of my life I know the kinds of things I write about. Would love to know now what I had to say then.

Mrs. Scully, my ninth grade English teacher, was the first person I remember commenting about my writing. She gave me an A on a term paper that was more than a few pages short of the required minimum because it was well-written and complete. This high praise is one of the few things I remember about junior high.

In high school English classes we often picked our assignment from several options. Given the choice I always went with the creative option. I wrote a Canterbury Tale in faux Middle-English dialect about bomb scares at our school.  Mrs. Highland read it to our class and to students in her Literary Tempers class for years afterward.  It was the first time my writing entertained others that I can recall.

The professor of a college creative writing course selected one of my stories as the best of the semester. She didn't say who wrote it, just started reading it to the class.  It was a tall tale loosely based on a real disagreement between the lead dancers in the dream ballet sequence of a high school presentation of the musical Oklahoma!  I was horrified!  I remember turning deep red and sinking down into my seat.  But everyone laughed and in the end, applauded.  Re-enforcement.

I enjoy the physical act of writing. I'm fastidious about penmanship, word choice, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. My aunt, a retired high school English teacher, says my letters to her are beautifully written and technically perfect.  Growing up I begged her to read my letters with red pen in hand and send them back to me.  To her credit she never did!

Technical writing is part of my job.  Practice makes perfect.  Do the same thing for a couple of decades and you can become quite good at it.  Creativity creeps in now and then, but for the most part this stuff is dry and straightforward.  Even so, my colleagues tell me I write very well.

About thirteen months ago I started this blog.  Since then I've published 139 posts on numerous and sundry topics.  Some are good, some are bad, and some are just ugly. I learned a lot about blogging and a lot about my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. 

Initially I was very careful to protect my identity.  Without a clear identity for The Crotchety Old Man, the blog never attracted much of a following.  I did get a few hits from posting to other blogs and random hits from google searches.  Few if any check back.  You regular readers knew me before there was ever a blog.

The Adventures of Tico and Toodles incorporates everything I've learned. It's focused, has a point of view, and comes from my own observations and experiences.  The only marketing has been occasional postings on Facebook and word of mouth.  People love it and they come back for more.  I'm having a blast with it, too.

There will be some changes to this blog.  I'm going to try to stick to what I know which should really cut down on political rants.  One thing for sure, as long as things piss me off I will remain...

The Crotchety Old Man 

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