Confessions of an Former English Major

Tonight I find myself wishing for a TARDIS, a souped-up DeLorean, or some other time-traveling device. Why? You see, I  want to go back and rewrite every half-effort paper I've ever turned in. I want to re-do school. 
What prompted this Time-traveling, rewriting, second-chance scheme? Well, it all started when I stumbled across some old documents on my computer. A title, "Faerie Queene" to be precise, caught my eye and immediately I was thrown back to my first semester at Bryan.

But first, some back story. When I graduated from high school--Peden Academy, Class of '09--I decided to go to community college for a little while. I wasn't ready to leave home yet, and Nashville State was a good fit at the time. Two years and 48 credit hours later, I was almost a junior and needed to move on. So I came to Bryan.  Bryan had the Liberal Arts degree option that I wanted, and so I changed my major from English to Liberal Arts with an Arts and Humanities option.
Coming to Bryan, I had, as a good transfer should, completed most of my General Education courses: Freshman English, Intro to Literature, Fine Arts, Western Civilizations etc. The schedule I received was made up for me by the registrar, and I came to Bryan a naive social sophomore, academic almost-junior.
Having all my core English classes out of the way, I was put in British Literature. At Nashville State, I can hazard a guess that I was probably one of the more well-read students on campus. I was published in the creative writing journal and had won a writing award. At Bryan, I was out of my league. I could write, in that I could string words together in an order that came across as a passable sentence, but at that time, I didn't know how to think. You must be able to think in order to write.

I was young, unseasoned, and slightly immature. I started strong but quickly became overwhelmed. Dr. Jones, who regularly teaches Brit Lit at Bryan, is one of the best professors we have here. His passion for Spenser and Chaucer should have inspired me to great lengths, yet I didn't try. He gave me every last chance to succeed, but I chose instead to give up. I'm not proud of it, but that's what it is. I look at the "Faerie Queene" interpretive paper I wrote for him and cringe. I don't even know what I was writing. I didn't fail the class; I passed it with a gracious D+, but I wish I could go back and do it again now. Now that I have a little more experience and a little less self-assurance, I'm starting to learn how to read, how to write, how to think.
But I know that life doesn't work that way; I wouldn't be where I am now without having been where I was then. I'm thankful for people who don't give up on me, even when I have.

If I Were a Book

I was daydreaming the other day, and wondering what I would be like if I were a book, so I imagined it all out in my Notebook, and sketched a visual to go along.

If I were a book, I'd be a volume of familiar essays--my favorite genre to write. My Dewey Decimal number would be somewhere in the 814's. (The hundreds place stands for Literature, the tens  denotes it as American, the ones places it in the essay genre.) I'd be bound in durable leather, grey-blue in color with my title embossed in gold on a sturdy spine. On the front cover, there'd be some fitting symbol, either an open book, or a swallow in flight (seeing as that's always been my favorite image.) Sewn in to the spine would be a soft satin ribbon, for I'd want my readers to treat me well by not dog-earring my pages, yet I wouldn't be so mean as to not provide a way in which to track their journey with me.  Of course, a well-loved book is going to show a little wear, and I hope I'd be well-loved, so to have the corners of my cover beginning to round and no longer brand-new sharp,would be a sign of a happy life. 
 I hope that I would be found by readers that would love and treasure me, and that in some way I'd be able to provide that type of friendship that only a good book can provide. I hope that I'd be an instrument of Naming in my readers lives; that as that twenty-somethings girl sat propped up against her bank of pillows late at night with me in hand, the truth in my words would speak to her heart, helping her become more the person her Creator intended to be. I hope that the young student bent over his desk late one finals-week night would find a refreshing beauty in my pages despite the pages of analysis and criticism he's written; that he'd not put me away after finals, but come back to read and enjoy again and again. 

If I were a book, I'd want to be the classic that people think of fondly; authored by the great Storyteller, I want my story to be shelved among those that stand the test of time.

Afraid to Write

I'm afraid to write.
There, I've said it. Its not true all the time, only just recently. I don't know how many times in the last month I've pulled up my Blogger Dash to start at new post, only to write a sentence, then delete everything and walk away, just because I'm afraid of not getting it right.
Isn't that the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard? To be afraid of the thing you most love to do? I fear not doing my thoughts justice... so much that I don't even try. That goes from being fear to laziness. I know that if I start the process of trying to get my thoughts out, It'll take time; it'll be hard; it might even hurt. Sometimes just ignoring the thoughts that are poking at my brain, begging to be scribbled out, and taking a nap is an easier (and more practical, considering the amount of sleep I get these days) option. But I don't want the easy life if it means ignoring a God-gift. When I write--and finally start to tie up loose ends in my brain--I feel alive. Writing Names me. It makes me more particularly the particular me I was meant to be.

The problem is, I read--(recently L'Engle, Woolf and Charlotte Bronte)--and am inspired and discouraged all at once. I ran across this quote on Goodreads which expresses the first half of my feelings:
“The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours” --Alan Bennett
 When I happen upon these moments in reading I'm elated sometimes to the point of wanting to get up and dance about the room.. Out comes the journal to write down that significant passage, or I might break the silence in a study room to share my epiphanal joy and read it aloud. But this elation is soon followed by the despairing thought of, "Great, someone else has already expressed what I couldn't express in terms far better than I could ever imagine." I want to give up. I wonder why I even try.
What I have to remember, is that I have to be me. ME. I will never be L'Engle or Woolf (I don't even know how to use a semi-colon properly half of the time) nor should I want to be. I'm Sarah Peden; I need to be the best me I can possibly be. And that means getting over my fears of imperfection, pushing through the hard times, and writing till I feel fully alive. After all, "the glory of God is man fully alive," and for what other purpose was I put on earth, than to bring God glory?

A Sock Story

I just pulled on my  valentines day socks. Yes, its two days early, but I saw them in my drawer and decided to wear them early. They've got pink toes and heels, and red and silver dots and hearts on a white background. My bonus dad sent them to me last year in a surprise package. My friend and I were unpacking  backpacks and getting settled down to study, when absentmindedly, I started to describe all my holiday socks to her (it's been long day folks, so don't judge!) which got me thinking on the joy of having colorful socks... and just socks in general.
If you look at my sock drawer, its almost overflowing with the heap of messily rolled, colorful footwear. It's NOT organized at all. Once upon a time, my sock drawer was full of white athletic socks--All of them very boring, and very 'ctional. (That's functional minus the FUN.) They were constantly getting lost in the dryer or misplaced in a siblings drawer. Wearing them was just routine. I would grab a pair of socks in the morning and not think about them till I took them off at night. Then one day a few years ago, I was at Target (the mecca of all socks beautiful) and saw this amazing three pack of knee-highs. They were stripey, ribbed and argyle. I bought them. Like guppies, they multiplied quickly. As my boring white athletic socks eventually got holes and were thrown out, (or eaten by the dryer) they were replaced by colorful ones of all themes and styles. Some I bought myself, but many were given me by my bonus dad. You see, he likes giving random gifts and he's quirky, and what's quirkier than giving colorful socks? He hid them in my costume box during summer musical rehearsals, he left them on the seat of my car with crazy poems when he came to visit the library where I worked, and he's mailed them across the state to me when I'm at school. They usually go along with the closest holiday or season: Valentines, St. Patrick's, Christmas, Autumn, Going back to school, Coming home from school, Random visits or whatever else he can think of.
Since making the switch to colorful socks I have found  that there a quiet a few benefits to them.
1. They make a ordinary day extraordinary. No one but you may see them, but if the day is dull and grey, just glance down at your feet, and let the pop of color brighten your day.
2. Making the choice of socks first thing in the morning may sometimes be the only thing you have control of in your day (especially if your life is that of a crazy-busy college student), but just remember, there will be days when choosing which socks to wear will be the hardest decision you have to make that day. Look forward to those days. They WILL come.
3. Everyone needs a pair of lucky socks for test days. I wear my blue and silver striped ones. They're Ravenclaw.
and last but most certainly not least:
4. When you come from a large family like I do, folding laundry--especially the fourteen billion pairs of sports socks that all look similar--can be a fate worse than getting your teeth drilled at the dentist. When you have colored socks, with not a single pair duplicated, your task becomes fourteen times easier.

Wear fun socks.

Enjoy life.