Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Back to the Fundamentals

I've got a confession. I'm a slacker. So there, word is out. I've said it and I beginning to feel better. When I say I'm a slacker, I don't me to say that I don't work hard because I do. But I am impatient by nature and I have to get to IT. Whatever I decide to do, I want to do it .... now.
When I started learning how to play the guitar, I didn't want to waste time learning anything about music, I wanted to play and let those beautiful notes come rolling out of the sound hole. When I get around people who play really well they assume I know things about music, but they'd be wrong. I can't tell a quarter note from a piccolo. I've bought several music books trying to learn more about music, but I find myself paging through to the back of the book to see if I can simply take the final test in the book and acquire the knowledge but it hasn't worked yet.
It's the same with writing. I dodged most of the really hard English teacher in school, opting to slide through by the seat of my pants. "Who in the world needs to know how to conjugate a verb?" I chided more conscientious students. "You may need to learn this stuff so you'll be able to write when your older," they often counseled. "I'd rather donate a kidney," I thought to myself.
Well here I am, trying to be a writer and I struggle with the English language. I've known Cubans that were better with English than me.
The defect rears its ugly head in other areas as well. When I get new software or new electronic equipment, I never look at the manual. I learn by fooling around. It's only after I smell smoke or hear some ominous fizzing sound coming from the innards of the equipment that I pick up an manual. "Oh, I probably should have read this first," I lament.
This is a heck of a thing to come to grips with when you're my age. One would think that as many years as I spent in school, I would have learned but that is not the case.
So it's back to the fundamentals for me. I bought some Style Guides, some basic gardening books, and a Music 101 book. It is my intention to root out this nasty habit as if it were thistle in my garden.

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