Welcome to Writing Stop Pit Stop! Milestones come around in all of our lives. They can be anniversaries of relationships, certain birthdays, and graduations from high school, college, etc. Today is one of those milestones for me. It was 40 years ago tonight – May 21, 1974 – on a Tuesday that I graduated from Delta High School. And, quite honestly, it doesn’t seem like all that long ago. I’m not just saying that because I’m older, but I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I was quite nervous about the whole thing…worried about making a fool of myself (I worried about such things back then – so see, getting older does have its perks!), such as tripping while walking across the stage, not holding out the correct hand to get the diploma; things that seem silly to me now.
I also remember receiving a phone call at home before going to the auditorium (Emens Auditorium at Ball State in Muncie, IN) for graduation (back in those days there were no cell phones – it was a rotary wall phone), it was a woman from Siena Heights College in Adrian, Michigan, telling me I’d been accepted to their visual arts program. That also was news that brought mixed feelings…excitement and fear.
It was a beautiful spring evening, everything went smoothly during the ceremony – except when I walked across the stage to get my diploma, one of my friends, Pam, let out a wolf whistle that made everyone laugh…including me. I’ve never forgotten that, or who my friends were back then – or the party that was at my uncle’s restaurant afterwards. It felt great to be able to leave there and go to other fellow graduate’s parties that night too…it was a feeling of being an adult; yet, still not being adult when one thinks about it – especially when I was seventeen when I graduated. I had my whole life a head of me – a clean slate, so to speak. I ended up going to Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, just a few miles away from my hometown. I dropped out of college after two quarters…because I was afraid I was failing English Composition. Life! So many interesting twists and turns.
So for, coincidentally, my 40th prompt here we will write about graduation milestones, whether they be high school, college, or the school of hard knocks:
“Pomp and Your Circumstance”
1) In your daybook write about the day that you graduated (from somewhere, even kindergarten), what do you remember? Do you remember the weather? Any specific moment that comes to mind? Who were the people around you then – friends, family? What were your plans on that day for your future?
2) After writing that, take some time and write about how your life has changed since you graduated. Did you follow your plans? Has life thrown you a few surprises? Have those surprises been bad or good? Are you doing what you thought you’d be doing? Why or why not? Write about any of these things for at least 10 minutes or until you exhaust the subject.
3) Think about what genre you’d like to write in – if you write poetry or creative nonfiction, you can utilize these as a form of a memoir – either in a poem or an essay. If you write fiction or plays – take one of the incidents, or life-changing moments and toss that into your story/play, or give your character some of the conflicts that have happened to you.
4) As always, once you’re finished writing – revise, revise, revise – until you’re ready to share your work with the world.
5) Once you’ve revised your piece, don’t hesitate to share it with me in the comments section or at firstname.lastname@example.org
See you next Wednesday!