Friday, January 07, 2011

“More Greetings From A Local Writer”


c. 2010 Rod Ice
All rights reserved
(12-10)




One of the most important duties of a creative wordsmith is to encourage other like-minded individuals to express their inner passions with vigor and gusto. Yet this task can be fraught with destructive good intentions. Sometimes, the temptation exists for more seasoned scribes to revise a manuscript until it reflects their own writing style. But this habit often strips away the unique ‘voice’ of the original creator. So when engaging in this sort of mentoring, I have always been careful not to overshadow a kindred spirit as they develop.

Most recently, I pondered such thoughts while reading an essay by my long-time friend Cheryl Kelly.

Cheryl is a Chardon native, career woman, and mother. We have known each other since working together at Kresse’s Bi-Rite in the 1980’s. Her observations about new beginnings seemed perfect for reading as the New Year begins:

Starting Over

“The start of a New Year equates to a new beginning for some of us. In truth, I think everyone at some point reflects and sets goals for themselves moving forward, but for some of us, moving forward entails quite a bit more than just losing a few pounds or vowing to quit smoking. Some people are forced into making that new beginning and some do so by choice. No matter where you find yourself this upcoming year, starting over to whatever degree it might be, is never an easy task.

Decision making is a skill that not everyone does with ease. The ability to have confidence in your choices is a gift, and not one that everyone possesses. Constant second-guessing can be your worst enemy and learning to allow yourself the pleasure of making a mistake is the core to being able to start over. You can’t start over without first acknowledging that there is a need for it…a reason for it. It’s not always necessarily to fix a mistake; it could simply be a choice to try a different path. Change is an acquired taste, and one that not everyone handles with grace. It’s learning to accept that not all change is controllable, and not all change is bad.

I remember I had just started a new job, my first “professional” job as a working woman. My boss, an older man, very much set in his ways had given me a letter to type and I was taken aback by the address. The correspondence began with “Gentlemen”, not “To whom it may concern”, not “Sir or Madam” (which was the current appropriate address), but “Gentlemen”. I promptly got up from my desk and walked to his office. Knocking on his door and asking for a moment of his time, I inquired about the address. Now, being a fairly new employee, I very respectfully questioned the appropriateness of his opening address. The response I received was, “That’s how I was taught, and that’s how I want my letters addressed.” I was shocked. How could this man in this high position clearly not know that it was no longer proper to address blind letters with “Gentlemen”? For months I gently protested, and to no avail. I finally had to accept the fact that it was his signature at the bottom of those letters and not mine...no matter how hard it was for me to type and overlook. No, change was not in his vocabulary.

Change, like starting over is an acquired taste. Something some handle well and something others avoid at all cost. We go through life believing that at some point we will reach that ultimate goal of being able to sit back, relax and enjoy what we’ve worked so hard to achieve. As we go along, we ultimately discover that it doesn’t always work that way…that life is ever-changing and malleable, like a clay model that changes shape with every choice or decision we make and every person that we invite into or who touches our lives. And like clay models, life can be smoothed out and rolled and shaped into something new.

Starting over is like buying a new car. You pay and pay, month after month, year after year, thinking to yourself that eventually, it will be paid off and it will be mine, and I will have true ownership. But then what happens? The car gets paid off, sure, but now it’s falling apart and you need a new one, so, you start over. Again, sometimes by choice…sometimes by force. Life is full of constant start-overs…time to question and reflect…time to try again and see what it is that you’re going to do differently this time. Time to see what you’ve learned and time to apply different strategies in the hopes of finding the one that truly works…that allows you that opportunity to sit, relax and finally enjoy.

It can be a daunting task to start over…to begin again, a scary one at times, but a necessary one as well. No one ever said change was easy, but it doesn’t have to be debilitating. It can be exciting and refreshing and exactly what you need. The key is to open yourself up for whatever comes your way…either by choice or by necessity. Having faith in yourself that you will make the right choices, and if you get off track, you will find your way back, and be better for it. So, whether you find yourself making your own resolutions this year, or find yourself being pressed into making those changes…embrace it, because therein lies true ownership.”


Cheryl’s words rang true, like festive bells during the holiday season. Once again, I took comfort in knowing that another soul was hard at work pursuing the art of creative writing.

Comments about Thoughts At Large may be sent to: icewritesforyou@gmail.com
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