Personal essay...supposed to say why I'm an English major.
"Hey. How do you spell 'ack-sessories'?"
"How do you spell what? Accessories?" I was busy-watching a movie my teacher had lent me because I'd missed it the previous week at school. The flu messes up schoolwork, even if I was just in the 6th grade.
"Yeah." I could hear my mom's boss chuckling at her as she repeated the word a second time, but I knew he was probably a little embarrassed-he was, after all, a doctor, and he couldn't spell it either. Maybe it was because they were calling a twelve year old to spell a word that really wasn't that difficult.
"Okay. It's A-C-C-E-S-S-O-R-I-E-S." I spelled it back again so she could make sure she had it down.
"I guess that looks right. Thanks. Bye." She hung up, so I figured that was all she wanted me to spell for the moment.
It wasn't the first or the last time she called to ask me to spell something 'right quick,' and it became routine for pretty much all of the adults in my family, sometimes neighbors as well, to ask me how to spell something, what a word meant, or if a sentence they'd written made sense. I attribute my so-called 'way with words' to virtually incessant reading. I can recall reading books I didn't really like-but those have been few and far between.
When I was younger, I never thought about what I'd be when I 'grew up.' I had no ambitions of becoming a writer, a teacher, or anything else, really. Junior high brought new opportunities, and in eighth grade, a poem published in a state-wide anthology. It wasn't until a friend's older brother commented on one of my high school essays that I realized I was a pretty good writer. I began buying books about writing and publishing. Several of them have been helpful-but more have been junk.
Meeting successful writers through various functions has proven more helpful, and more inspiring, than any book I've ever read. Thanks to one of my instructors at Murray, I have met several authors, all of whom are Oklahoma natives. I think my experiences with them-whether it was in a seminar, a dinner, or one-on-one conversations-not only inspired me but also made me believe that my dream, no matter how long it may take, can come true.
Even though my dream, my ambition, is to become a writer, I know it's not easy. I decided a few years ago that my best bet was to continue college and pursue higher degrees so that I can teach English, literature, or even writing to others. The idea was that, while I was learning to be a teacher, I would also be improving my language and writing skills, as well as picking up new vocabulary and exploring other areas of study. I have also been working as a freelance writer-which, as a full-time student and a full-time mother, has been more of a summer job than a profession. While home, work, and school may seem like at least one too many hats for one person to wear, I think freelancing has helped me learn to branch out and adapt as a writer in ways school simply can't. As an English major, you don't often get assigned technical manuals for architectural firms or business plans or website text for small businesses. Come to think of it, I haven't written any press releases for school yet either. Ah well, I can only hope that eventually all these things will come together one way or another. Who knows? Not me. But I can spell accessories.