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September 13, 2004 [ More archived home pages here ]

School Days Of Yesteryear

Forty years ago this month I started high school. The four years I spent there were only 50% productive. The first two years I wasted my time for the most part. Some classes I did better at than others, I wasn't very motivated.

I discovered that I really hated my English classes the most. All that American and English literature reading and analyzing was revolting to me. It was during the Summer before my Junior year that I discovered I could use my mind towards better scholastic value. My last two years at high school was the time I devoted a lot of time becoming a better student. Still, I had much to learn and that learning would occur much later in life for me.

Thirty-six years ago I started college at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. I was totally unprepared for that experience. It was a struggle for the entire academic year for a variety of personal reasons. The Vietnam War was in full swing and I tried in vain to keep my 2-S Selective Service deferment. I didn't learn much at college that year. I wasted valuable time back then and a more damaging aspect of my life, my Spirit. Recouping from that situation took a lot longer then I would ever realize at the time.

Fast-forward to August 1979 when I returned to college. I was already married for six years, had a very young daughter, lived with my wife and daughter in a two-bedroom house. Being much more mature by this point in my life, I was able to devote full concentration to my studies. In the years that followed when I attended school, I maintained a straight "A" average for every class.

It's never to late to learn, although going to school doesn't appeal to me nowadays. I found other ways in my technology career to use my skills and experiences to improve myself and get very well paid for it at the same time.

Only a small portion of my latest digital image, Broken Dreams Island relates to those situations over the years. The deeper meaning has more to do with others than to me. I made most of my dreams come true. Truth comes at a price in one's own perspective and I am always willing to pay it. Someone once told me, "You're too honest." Yes, and I haven't changed since those words were spoken long ago.

Four years ago I went through a very important phase of my life. I began to understand myself to a much higher level than I had ever understood before. It took eighteen months of letting loose of the old and accepting the new. It was worth it in every way. Some dreams were broken, or at least dematerialized during that time. That space was cleared out for new dreams. Some of those new dreams have been realized.

It was during that period that I created much of my art and I wrote plenty of pages of material relating to the eye-opening experiences. This was also a time when I met many new friends online, both men and women. We shared secrets of our souls together, we trusted one another with intimate details of each others lives. I hope they gained as much understanding about the human experience as I did. That knowledge was integral to my new perspective about self.

I believe my transformation is to serve a larger purpose than just giving me new insights to the truth about my past, present, and intended future. If not, that would be an awful selfish act on my part. Of course, I don't pretend to be all knowing, perfect, or any other false presentation. How I arrived here is no longer a question I ask myself. I know who I am, how I got here, what I want to do, and where I'm going. That's been my understanding for more than three years now.

Over a year ago I submitted a short story to an author writing about a place that was part of my childhood. Earlier this year, I was informed my story would be included in the book. The book just came out, I received my copy, and read it through completely in two days. I'm glad I contributed and in return I add one more medium to my experience collection. I've been on TV, radio, in magazines, in a book, in a play, in the newspapers, and of course, the web. Now I need a film to wrap it all up nicely.

The goal of all that exposure over the years I finally understand is to be a professional storyteller, allowing the artist within to express the life experiences through my art, music, and stories. To that end I am part of the Toastmasters organization. I earn my Competent Toastmaster and Competent Leader Awards later this year. I serve as a Docent and Park Ambassador for the Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park. Those activities enable me to fine tune my natural talents and abilities to draw people to me and gain their attention for short periods of time. Many people have encouraged me to do these things. I do my best to please them and myself concurrently.

I look back across forty years and see that regardless of what I did up to age nineteen, I turned out pretty well-off. You don't learn everything in school for sure. Don't think I don't appreciate formal education, because I do strongly believe in that discipline. However, from my own personal experience, I know what's inside a person, who they are, how they act, is much more important than grades and book learning.

I think my Dad and Mom would be proud of their youngest son who benefited from their lives in many ways.


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