I should have been an English major

Written September 2004

I should have been an English major — at least, that’s what Glenda told me in freshman English.

I didn’t tell her that I couldn’t take the pay cut.

Who was Glenda and why should she care about my major?

Glenda was the lady who was teaching the class and the wife of the dean. She later taught freshman English to my wife and high school senior English to both of my daughters.

Now I don’t really know an adverb from an adjective, but I can usually tell a noun from a verb. Conjunction and participle are just words to me. I probably knew what all of them meant at one time, but not any more. If I need to know what they are, I can learn them for a class, for a short time, but that knowledge is just that, short term retention.

What I learned and retained long term was functional English. I passed English in high school and earlier – did okay, in fact – but I’m sure that I didn’t excel. However, I did learn how to use the tool that is English.

Today, my use of the English language is what feels right for me. And usually, not always, what feels right is right… because that’s the way I learned it.

I find it difficult to read material that doesn’t follow the standard rules that I learned, material that is consistently grammatically wrong. (Unfortunately, this includes almost all poetry, which requires addition concentration for me to get through.)

Glenda’s comment that I should have been an English major was in reference to what was done in class and turned in for credit. It was about what I wrote and how I expressed myself.

I like to write, but I would hate to do it as a job.

I’ve imagined writing a novel. Who hasn’t. I’ve even started a couple of times, outlining the story and even starting with the first chapter. I’ve written a short story that I never shared with anyone and poetry that was lost to my youth.

Writing for a living is hard work.

I could have been an English major.

If I had, I would probably ended up as an English teacher.

I couldn’t take the pay cut… so I didn’t major in English.

September 30th, 2007 addendum — so here I find myself retired and writing material that I self-publish online. Ironic or what?


Though not lost, archived version was found on Internet Archive WayBack Machine review 2/25/2011, page, and 2/26/2011, page.  Was not restored to the originally published date since there were comments for the 2007 updated post. (written September 26, 2004; revised September 30, 2007) However, in the effort to find the right place for this post, the comments were lost and, subsequently, restored.


training, Uncategorized, writing

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rose DesRochers Oct 1, 2007

    Perhaps your teacher was right. I think that you write very well. Want to be my editor? lol

  • JoLynn Braley Oct 3, 2007

    I believe it's never too late to write that novel or short story if you still want to do it. Just look at all of the blogging that you've done, what great experience for a book! 🙂

  • Mike Goad Oct 3, 2007

    There are two problems with writing a book.

    The first is that there is only a small probability of ever getting published.

    The second is that writing a book requires hard work and I've got too many other things that I need and want to do.

    Seriously, though, this writing in blogs and in the comments of this and other blogs is enjoyable and satisfies me. Who knows? Maybe there will be something more.

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