a teacher worthy of praise

To learn, or not to learn, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous teachers,
Or to tune them out and study all alone.
And by ignoring, end them?  To grow, to quest;
No more; and by a quest to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That school is heir to, ’tis an understanding
Devoutly to be wish’d.  To grow, to quest;
To quest: perchance to learn: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that vast knowledge what dreams may come…

I wouldn’t say that school was wasted on me, and while I thought it at the time, I no longer believe I was smarter than all of my teachers.  (Ah, to be young, arrogant, and foolish – invincible, immortal, and untouchable.)  However, partially due to my perception, outlook and attitude while in school, and partially due to the teachers I ended up with, there was no single teacher that ever stood out and changed my life.

In the school setting that is.

An outsider, a victim of bullying, school was not the sanctuary of knowledge and learning that is for so many others.  I dreaded the minutes between classes.  I abhorred the agonizingly dull seconds in classes when I was forced to be present in the class and walk through information I had invariably covered on my own weeks before.  It was only a place of excitement and learning when I was allowed to look ahead and study on my own, when I was allowed the time to quest after knowledge at my own pace.  Those stolen moments of brilliance were rare.

Since my escape from the confines of the classrooms, life, and living it, has taught me, changed me, shaped me, inspired me, influenced me.  And behind all of those experiences you will find my parents, who set me on my path pointed in the right direction, gave me guidance when it was needed and gave me the freedom to make mistakes and learn on my own too.  They have been my most influential teachers.

My mother, an English Teacher by education and a mother by profession is ever my guiding light for all things writing.  She continues to read and edit my endeavours in the written word and offer suggestions and corrections as needed.  She encourages me.  She pushes me to strive for me.

My father, a physicist and engineer by education (yes, he is a rocket scientist) and mountain man and world traveler by choice is often the spark plug for my mountain adventures.  It is those sojourns into the wild that have so often become the muse for my stories.  It is those experiences that have taught me how I want to live in this world.

Thank you both for being there for me when I rebelled against the conventional structures of education.  Thank you for your patience and your guidance.  Thank you for continuing to be teachers even as I embark on this new journey in my life: my own family.


I couldn’t actually remember all the words to Hamlet’s speech, so I looked them up here.

Daily Prompt: My circle(s) of influence

Another day and another interesting Daily Prompt.  That’s three in a row I’ve done this week.  It’s getting to be a habit.

I did some research (consisting of a Google search) and it seems that the quote the daily prompt is referring to came from Jim Rohn.  Which is neither here nor there, but interesting all the same.  Then again, maybe he stole it from someone else.  It’s that kind of world.

Anyway, on to the heart of this post: I can definitely see how I am the average of the five people I spend the most time with.  I talk like them, I think like them, I enjoy the same activities; and that all makes sense, really, as we’ve grown together over the years, each of us influencing the other.  I’m happy with that.  I’m happy with who I am.

But, if I wanted to change-up my key 5 and interact with different people to become a different person, then who would I pick?  I’m going to cheat a bit and put together a couple different lists. 

It’s not like you could stop me anyway. 


List the First:

All of these are authors who’s writing styles or stories have influenced my own writing styles and who I aspire to be like (in terms of what they have been able to achieve through their works).  If I’ve been influenced as much as I have by them simply through reading their stories, imagine how much I could learn if I could interact with them on a more personal basis. 

1.1 – Stephen King
1.2 – William Shakespeare
1.3 – Terry Pratchett
1.4 – George R.R. Martin
1.5 – Margaret Weiss

What if I could kick back in Maine with Stephen King and share ideas over a beer, or in London with the Bard and a pint for that matter?  What if I could swap jokes with Terry Pratchett?  What if I could spend hours working with Martin on storyboarding and plot outlining?  What if I could come up with new fantastical characters and worlds with Weiss?


List the Second:

I’m a sucker for sports, but I thoroughly enjoy playing and watching pretty much all varieties of them; but I lacked the drive and the skill to really advance to a high level in any of them.  But, if I could have surrounded myself with some of the following, would that have turned out differently?

2.1 – Karch Kiraly
2.2 – Michael Phelps
2.3 – Ryan Giggs
2.4 – Phil Mickelson
2.5 – Mia Hamm

Each of these athletes exudes passion, skill, and determination.  They’ve all risen to the very highest levels while also balancing other aspects of life.  They may have been surrounded by others who helped them get to the top, but that’s sort of the point, isn’t it?  If I’d had them coaching me, offering advice, training with me, then maybe I could have found my own inner drive to excel at the sports I love.  If Karch had taught me how to pass?  If Phelps had taught me how to train?  If Giggs had taught we how to handle pressure?  If Phil had taught me how to drive?  If Mia had taught me how to shoot?  (Yes, two soccer references, that’s just the way it is.)


List the Third:

Music, music, music, music, music.  I guess if I boil down the things in life I am most passionate about they are (aside from my family and camping/backpacking – which we’ve already removed for the purposes of this exercise) writing, sports, and music.  I learned a couple instruments when I was younger and had aspirations of being in a band at one time, but I never really sought after that dream and eventually it got pushed to the side.  If I’d had these people in my life that would have been different for sure:

3.1 – Bruce Springsteen
3.2 – Bob Dylan
3.3 – Tijs Verwest (Tiesto)
3.4 – Billie Joe Armstrong
3.5 – Dave Grohl

Consistency and quality have marked all of these artists’ careers.  They’ve produced chart topper after chart topper and have continued to perform for decades with zero sign of their own passion or creativity declining.  If I’d had these people in my life that dream of being in a band would have been realized because they would have helped push me along that path, with Springsteen and Dylan helping me write songs, Billie Joe teaching me all about stage presence, Dave Grohl helping me learning pretty much every instrument ever used to produce a song, and Tiesto guiding the production side of everything.


So, to recap, I love my life.  But, if I’d had the people from the above lists to interact with on a regular basis then I would be even more amazing than I already am, right?  Right?