Humbled

From the time I could, I wanted to write. I kept diaries, was loyal to all my pen pals from Girl Scout summer camp, and was the only person in seventh grade excited about the introduction of the essay exam into classroom testing. And even through that period of time when I thought I wanted to be a National Park  ranger when I grew up, I knew, in my heart of hearts, that I always wanted to be a writer.

In the beginning, I thought being a writer meant having a cozy desk with warm lighting and cranking out novels that would enlighten and inspire, while waiting for the postman to bring me my big checks for doing so. Later, I thought it could also mean being a part of the glamourous world of magazines, with their slick, glossy, beautiful covers, which people would open just to see what I had written for that month’s edition.

Sure enough, at UT, I could almost taste it. My boyfriend-now-husband was going to set Madison Avenue on its ear, and I was going to go from publisher to publisher in NYC until they let me be what I always wanted to be—a writer.

Life has its twists and turns, though, and let’s just say, I took the scenic route to get to copywriter. So have most of the other people I know—I mean—in regards to taking the scenic route.

I have cousins who have some crazy mad skills, abilities and determination. One is a Sgt. Major in Special Forces. He went ahead and chose the scenic route, via Kuwait, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and other places that if we knew about, he would have to kill us. Another is an FBI Agent. After being born in the Everglades where his father was stationed as a National Park ranger, Agent M. went from being a deputy in Tennessee, to a rookie in Charlotte chasing down bank robbers (literally, he chased a few on foot), all the while working on his nth degree black belt. He knows how to put the hurt on people who deserve it. Now he’s in Guam figuring out how to keep people from putting the hurt on us. I have another cousin who is a historian for NASA, by means of  a tour of duty in Vietnam and writing for small town newspapers back in the day. Another cousin, in a quest to pay off her student loans in one fell swoop, worked underground for the U.S. scientific research something or other in Antartica for three months.

It’s humbling to have family and friends who continually blow me off the highway with their accomplishments and how they arrived where they are now. I have friends who are award-winning teachers in inner-city schools, PhD’s (and I wish they would stop it), reverends, missionaries, dentists, engineers, IT geniuses, and one high school friend is a real, live rocket scientist.  And my husband. I’ll just hit his scenic highlights—ad man, business developer, creative director, entrepreneur, designer, writer, idea guy, peacemaker, rabble rouser, minister, singer, songwriter—music. Sweet music.

They each have travelled through their own challenges. But for me, I gladly continue down this writing road. I love being a copywriter. Love it, love it, love it. Be it ever so humble. Which it is. As I’m reminded of daily, even on Sundays.

Yesterday in church, someone stopped me to say she had looked at one of “my” websites. That’s cool. Never mind that she got the name of it wrong. I gently said the actual name of it as she continued. She wanted to know if I did graphic and web design for other companies. “Oh. No, I’m a writer. I don’t do any design at all. Can’t even draw a stick figure analog.”

Her face fell, shoulders drooped. “I write website content and other things,” I continued helpfully. “Just about every single word you saw on that website? I wrote.” Smiling. Hopeful that important piece of information would make all the difference. She tried. “Oh. Well, my husband’s company sometimes needs designers.” I kept trying, too, “Well, I certainly know some great designers I could send your way.” “Well, yeah,” disappointed, she drifted off,  “they just hired someone…okay, see you later.” I stood there for a moment. Run over. Humbled. Not everyone holds words in high esteem.

It’s not the cloistered path to fame and fortune I envisioned as a girl in love with English class (and John Boy Walton). It is certainly not going to save the world from some unforeseen calamity. It’s probably not going to win me a Pulitzer. I can’t even say it’s everything I dreamed it would be because I didn’t even know how to dream this life. Sometimes—most of the time—it’s hard work and not everyone gets that it is. I don’t care. I love it. I do.

And as I continue on this path laid out before me, I keep going because I am so thrilled to have the chance to see what it’s like. I just keep driving down the highway with this song playing on the radio, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

Humbly, and with the certainty of the uncertainty of what’s down the road, around the next bend, “Thank You.”

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3 Responses to “Humbled”

  1. Barb McMillen Says:

    Wonderful article. It is such a gift to take a talent, something of your nature and turn it into a career. For one to be made for the life she leads is such an honor. And, to lead the life for which one is made such a happiness. Well, said, Aprill. As expected 🙂

  2. Kayla Says:

    Well, just so you know, I think working with HSTS is the coolest thing ever. You’re one of my heroes, Aprill! 🙂

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