Sunday, September 19, 2010

School and the Impact on a Writer

Okay, I did it again! I'm participating in the blog chain (see links on the right for the full roll). This may turn into a regular thing, so stay tuned.

Photo from: LeoNn via DeviantArt
September's topic is "It's All About School".

I had what you'd call a "unique" school experience. From kindergarten through 5th grade, I went to public schools. After that, I was home-schooled until my parents split up, which happened to be in my senior year. Technically, I never finished high-school (there, I've said it publicly!) because my parents never ordered my final year's curriculum, and I don't have a diploma or GED. However, I did go to college and completed my degree in Journalism.

Having that "unique" experience has definitely shaped me. If I'm not careful, I revert to a hermit state, which is good for the writer, but not so hot for relationships. I hated being home-schooled, and spent much of that time as a hermit, leaving my house for the rare doctor's appointment, 4-H meetings, to go to the library, and when I was forced to leave by either of my parents. (That's probably an exaggeration, but not much.)

That alone time coupled with the fact that, since I was home-schooled, I had more time on my hands meant my imagination had a lot of room to roam. Most of my reading material consisted of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, thus feeding my mind with adventurous capers and mysteries, plus a little bit of romance thanks to Nancy and Ned, and occasionally Nancy and Frank Hardy in the so-called "Supermysteries" that were produced in the 1990s.

When the publisher began slowing down their output of the books, I had to do something! I turned to fan fiction. Shortly thereafter, when I realized what was happening and there wouldn't be any new books, I decided I'd create my own stories and characters. It was in my mid-teens that the character Amanda O'Flannigan was born, who stars in some of the stories I write now. While Amanda was most decidedly a clone of Nancy at the time, she's changed over the 12 - 15 years I've been working with her, becoming more sophisticated and complex. Other than physical looks, she's nothing like the original I wrote about all those years ago.

Photo from: IvanJS via DeviantArt
It's all because of school. Had I not been home-schooled, I may not have discovered my love of writing, at least not so early in my life. So while I still lambaste my own experiences, and I still wish some things had been different, I do have to acknowledge that I may not have become who I am now--a writer--had I not had those experiences.

And you know what? I don't think I'd change that one bit. Not even if it meant I'd been able to go to a prom, graduate with my peers, be able to go to a high school reunion (which my 10th reunion would have been this year, come to think of it.) I like who I've become.

Until next time,


TraciB said...

Great post, Liberty! I love reading everyone's take on this topic and how school experiences have shaped them.

Liberty Speidel said...

Thanks, Traci!

I really questioned stating the thing about my high school status, but it was nice to write a bit about it and how I got started writing.

KatC said...

I had no idea that you had been home-schooled. And even better, it's a good thing that you like who you are. Not many people can claim that.

Thanks, Liberty! It was very interesting!

Janalyn Voigt said...

We can always find things to dislike about our experiences. I hated going to public school and would have traded with you in a split second. In all of life we take the good with the bad. I'm glad you're in a good place about yourself and your writing.

Tracy Krauss said...

Isn't it great that our own unique experiences have shaped who we are? I'm glad we're not a bunch of cookie cutter images.

Sheila said...

Nancy Drew--brings back memories!
Homeschooling does have its advantages and it has made you who you are. Good post!

Suzanne said...

I never realized you were homeschooled either, Liberty. See, it really hasn't affected you as much as you think. You don't have "homeschooled" stamped on your forehead after all.

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