for perspective!

I think I mentioned how I feel like I’m going through a real learning phase!

Visited a school recently where I spoke to grade sixes about growing up in Dundas and afterward a lady came up to me. She asked which school I went to and I told her Dundana and she she said, “But it wasn’t a middle grade school.” I said that the school I’d attended only went up to grade six so I went to Dundana for grade seven and eight. And then she nodded and asked me the last names of the bullies I’d referred to.

I never mention their last names in the presentation, it’s really not necessary, but since this was a private conversation I told her.

Turns out she was at Dundana one year ahead of me!

And the strangest thing happened.

I got worried. I wondered if she’d contest my version of events and call me over sensitive or something, but no, quite the opposite! When I told her the bullies’ last names her eyes went wide and she said, “Oh yes. They really were awful!”

And then she told me about an incident she’d witnessed and I could breathe easier.

And I wondered why I’d suddenly panicked like that. I’ve been thinking of it since and the conclusion I’ve come to is that when a person has been victimized, they live in fear that people will tell them it’s all in their head. That things weren’t the way they remembered them. And it made me see interviews I’d seen on television where people had confronted the people who’d abused them and their perception had been completely dismissed.

It was a real moment of enlightenment for me. I saw things very clearly.

And then just yesterday I had a fascinating conversation with another artist about the literacy of today’s kids and he said something that suddenly clicked in my head.

Quite frankly I’ve been feeling like an old fogey recently. Like maybe I’m not in sinc with the times. It appalls me that kids don’t have very good vocabulary or grammar any more.

But this artist spoke of a professor he’d had a long time ago who’d said quite the opposite. He said that no, today’s generation has evolved language to include all kinds of short cuts and emojis, that they’re still expressing deep thoughts they just do it differently.

That seems to be the nature of English. That it’s always evolving! And it was literally like a light bulb went on for me.

It gave me a lot of hope.

It was a small adjustment on my part in terms of attitude, but a huge leap in terms of perspective.

And it makes sense now to me, why I can interact so easily with today’s youth verbally, but my writing needs a bit of a personal touch to engage them.

Once they’ve heard me, they want to read it, but my books might not be picked up on their own.

That’s something I still need to work on.

And so I’m taking some courses right now, honing my skills, and part of that means clarifying my vision of what exactly I want to accomplish with my work.

One of the assignments asked me, if I could sum up my vision in one sentence, what would it be?

This isn’t about each individual story or project. This is about what I would say to humanity through the sum of my endeavors.

At first I came up with something very lame. I even knew it was lame, so I discarded it and went deeper. And I think I know what that one statement would be.

It’s: “With eloquence and the right angle of approach, you can get people to believe almost anything.”

And then we were asked what single action we would want people to take after reading my book. This is what I wrote:

“Open your mind to different ways of thinking and always question  your assumptions.”

Just putting that into words like that has clarified a lot for me!

I highly recommend you do the same.