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Creative Every Day: Stay On The Learning Path

I have been writing for publication for about twelve years. Prior to that I earned an MFA. Prior to that I earned a BA. Prior to that I did all the typical educational stuff kids do.

Today, I’m still learning. My animals teach me things. My daughter teaches me things. My husband teaches me things. My students teach me things. My readers teach me things. My friends teach me things. My advisers teach me things. My local librarian teaches me things. And, of course, life teaches me things.

And not to break the poetic spell or anything, but people who annoy me teach me things, too.

I think it’s safe to say that I am compelled by something internal and vital to keep learning things. I teach. I learn. I don’t ever want school to let out. If I’m no longer learning, you’ll know that I am no longer here.

I have had some amazing teachers in the school of life. And I have also had to unlearn so much of what I’d learned at various points when it proved no longer useful. Maybe what needed to be unlearned had once been helpful or necessary, but at some point it was simply time to dump it. What had been light and grand became heavy and burdensome.

And so the learning path goes. You listen. You notice. You take things in. You take in things you didn’t know you were taking in. You gain some wisdom. You lose some foolishness. You say hello. You say goodbye. You say, maybe I’ll see you later.

Sometimes you say, Good Lord, I hope I never have to do THAT again. But most of the time there is something to be gained from every experience, every feeling, every fancy, maybe even every missed opportunity.

Earth is like school. I like school. I always have. And I always will.

How about you?

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  • Susie McCray March 24, 2011, 3:38 am

    I call myself a career student because I’m constantly in search of lessons that I haven’t learned yet. Sometimes I wonder if I’m crazy because I want to learn a little bit about everything, but I can’t help myself.

  • Cathywelch March 24, 2011, 4:16 am

    There’s so much to learn and so little time in life. The learning I love best is when I don’t think I’m taking any thing in. Maybe something mad me mad, or reading a book or I meet a stranger (my kids say there is no such thing to me). Just when I think it’s life as usual, I interpret what I’ve seen or heard and put it together with something else and a light bulb goes on. I love those moments…those teachable moments. Thanks for the post!

  • Heidi Smith Luedtke March 24, 2011, 1:40 pm

    When I finished my PhD, my mom asked “what will you do now?” I replied “I want to go to law school.” LOVE learning new things. Can’t afford another higher degree! Writing is my life-long classroom and I love every minute of it!

  • Lara March 24, 2011, 5:03 pm

    I like your point about “unlearning” too. Sometimes I forget part of the equation, which actually keeps me from learning.

    I’m learning *tons* right now, thanks to your skills as a teacher. And I’m having a blast at it!
    : ) Lara

  • Pam Asberry March 24, 2011, 8:28 pm

    I can definitely relate to this! I make a living teaching piano, but I learn from my students every day. In general, the longer I live, the more I realize I don’t know, and the hungrier I am for knowledge. Of course I have MUCH to learn about being a writer. Thanks for all you do to encourage and inspire folks like me!

  • Anonymous March 25, 2011, 3:07 pm

    Thanks for compliment, Lara. It’s a testimony to all of your hard work!

  • Anonymous March 25, 2011, 3:07 pm

    Shucks, thanks, Pam. You are kind to say so. 🙂

  • Lisa Ahn March 26, 2011, 2:36 am

    Same here — I love learning. I love doing research for my writing and homeschooling my kids (I learn right along with them). But some of the best lessons are the ones that take you by surprise — those “wow, I really can do this” moments.