December 2nd, 2005

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

Another contemplative one

A friend emailed me today with something called the "philosophy of Charles Schultz", the guy who wrote "Peanuts". The first quiz involves your recollecting the last five winners of things like the Pulitzer Prize, the Miss America Contest, the WOrld Series. I certainly can't, not even with honours and awards that mean more to me than Miss America or the World Series, about whose winners I couldn't really care less. But the second half of the quiz is this:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

That, I can do.

1. The English teacher who insisted that essays be handed in with "a plan", and took off marks if they weren't, and because I don't write or think that way I kept on getting docked until I hit on the simple method of writing the damn essay and THEN writing the plan and simply copying the plan out into my homework book before I wrote the essay there. Bingo, everyone happy. How did this aid me through my journey through school? Well, 9 and 60 ways - so I was cheating to make him happy, but I was also learning about how *I* worked and functioned with the words which were to become my friends. Then there was the teacher who invited Lynne Reid Banks as a guest speaker to my school in Wales. That was a seminal moment. That was the moment in which I knew I wanted to be a writer.

School? The rest of school? I sailed through it, just by listening in class and turning in homework on time. University...? with no work habit? don't even ask about my first year of university. It was a very rude awakening.

2. Maggie Forest, my husband Deck (he IS also my best friend) and Richard McIntosh. The times in question... are better left where they've been buried.

3. My grandfather - who taught me that I would always love language. Folks like my friend David, whom I've now known for over a quarter of a century and who taught me that friendship endures. Roger Zelazny, who once told me (bare months before he died) that I had a voice unique to myself and that nobody else would ever write like me. One of my editors, Ruth, who showed me how good can be made better.

4. My grandmother, when she was alive, was the ultimate one for this. WIth her, for her, I was always something special. She's been gone for nearly 20 years and I still miss her fiercely as though she died yesterday.

5. Donna McMahon, (again) Deck, Jim Longo and Barbara Lange.

Pass this on, the email says. So - I have. Pick up and distribute, as you wish.

It ends with this cheerful thought:

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." (Charles Schultz)

Did you know, Australia, about your role in saving the world? It can never come to an end TODAY, because it will always be TOMORROW down under. My thanks for that! [grin]