Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Twenty Years Ago...

The cliché is that I am supposed to "learn" from the last 20 years. At least I have a great wife and cool cats… but it has been a long 20 years since leaving USC. I believe 1988-89 was the last "good" year. (Like many people, I still view a "year" in academic terms.)

I need to get back to the path I was on then: writing and more writing. I stopped giving my all to the journalism and English programs my last year at USC. I quit the Daily Trojan, ended my journalism internships, and shifted to the school of education for several complex reasons (including hubris). The basic thought was that teaching would be a secure "second choice" since I decided against journalism as my career path. I still love journalism, but I know I'm opinionated and passionate about the topics I might enjoy covering. Of course, a columnist or analyst can be opinionated, so there's hope.

I have been unable to focus since leaving L.A. in Dec 1990. I did finish the English and journalism degrees, at least, before leaving USC. I didn't complete my student teaching, so I never obtained a "clear" teaching credential.

Every few years, I remind myself that I am a writer. Period. I've tried too hard to be something else in return for elusive "security" that never materialized. Drifting from writing, in the name of security, has never produced happiness. Instead, I end up anxious. For a time, I blamed the impulse to write, as if it was my passion for language that made me miserable.

USC was an opportunity squandered by youthful pride. I wanted to prove something to people who shouldn't have mattered to my self-worth. My dream was the LA Times or SF Chronicle. Never, never give up a dream to prove a point -- you'll neither prove the point nor find happiness.

I've spent most of 2010 writing again. Now, I am swearing to not surrender that passion to "security." If I'm going to succeed at something, it will be writing related.

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