I did not blog about Christmas (which was good, more or less) or New Year’s. I made no new resolutions: I have made little headway on those I made for 2011, so I until that happens, I am not going to bother with new ones. The resolutions I would today make are pretty much the same.
I am going to concentrate on blogging everyday this year. Yes, I know at this point I am five days late, although I did have a couple of small non-consequential posts earlier. I want to hone my writing skills; although I doubt I will ever be published, there is joy in being the best that you can be. I have a small band of followers (I once compared this blog not to a small fish in a big pond but krill in the Pacific), and while I do not necessarily expect to get more (barring an important media event happening to me, which is unlikely), you deserve my best efforts. (I also need a very good proofreader. And an editor.)
Competence has its virtues. I am a competent writer, albeit not a great one. I am working on it.
I am realizing that my voice is most often narrative. I can write formally, but I am most comfortable making my points through storytelling. And, interestingly enough, I have discovered that the Red-Headed Menace shares this trait.
I have never taught him to write. I left that to the professionals (which I regret — they seem uninterested in teaching niceties like grammar in middle school anymore, and leaving it to high school makes it difficult to pick it up) and somehow, in the middle of that, he found a voice. He is a narrative writer, like I am.
He has been writing college application essays. It is tricky, because, as I said, he is a storyteller, like myself. Fortunately, several of the writing prompts allow for him to write in the style he is most comfortable, including one he wrote for the University of Chicago. The University of Chicago has both the best and the most challenging prompts, in part because many of them are culled from previous applicants’ essays. (One of the options is for applicants to write their own: RHM came up with one that I think is wonderful. Not that I’m biased, or anything, being his mother.)
The application process is fraught with insanity for everyone involved, and thank God, is nearly over. A couple of schools with January 15 deadlines are left, but the bulk of them were due January first. (Had the UC and CSU school not had a November 30 deadline, I’m not sure how we would have coped.) Most of them were for “reach schools,” which he would love to get into and where he would shine, but which for one reason or another are even more unlikely than they would be normally. (Still, as one school’s application blog said, if you don’t apply you have zero chance of getting in.) Most of them used the Common Application, and all of them had online submissions. Watching the Common App servers crash at quarter to nine (fifteen minutes to midnight Eastern time) was slightly amusing, mainly because he had gotten the last of his East Coast schools submitted ten minutes earlier. (A whole lot of seniors submitted their applications at the last possible minute. I can only imagine the hysteria in households across America when the Common App servers failed under the onslaught. Poor kids. Poor parents. Fortunately a lot of schools extended their deadlines by a day because of the Common App problems.) While the Common App and online submissions (one school did not have the Common App, but did have online applications) reduce the amount of FedEx fees one has to pay, they ruin the holidays. At least when you have to send in physical applications you have to get them sent off by December 30th, leaving New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to celebrate.
I am both dreading and looking forward to his college years. Dreading because I will then be an “empty-nester,” which will be stressful. Not to mention that I will really, really miss him. I think of all of my kids, he is the most like me, and although I love all three of them equally, and appreciate them all, his view of the world resonates most closely with mine.
I think he will do well in college. He will find his tribe. Once, when he was bemoaning the fact that he was unsuccessful in finding a young woman to date in high school with the same interests as himself, I reassured him that in college somewhere he would find someone who “likes red-headed athletic guys and who are willing to spend hours talking about the ontological arguments for the existence of God.”
Back on topic: I am not looking forward to 2014, necessarily, but it will bring me more stories to tell. I may use some of the college writing prompts as jumping off points for my own essays. One of the difficulties with being an easily distractible blogger is that all the wonderful things to blog about in the world tends to be paralyzing. Ooh, shiny! So many stories! The prompts help to keep one focused, or as focused as I am likely to be at any given time, which is often not very.
We will see. Thank you for going along with me on my journey thus far, and I hope you enjoy the upcoming ride.