Monday, August 9, 2010

You Are What You Love

Our theme for this month is back to school, and although it’s been many years since I sat in a classroom, it made me nostalgic for the excitement of a new school year. Yes, I’m one of those odd kids that actually enjoyed school and learning. And my favorite subject? Well, as you might have guessed, it was English.

Actually, I really enjoyed all subjects…except for math. I never quite ‘got’ mathematics. Oh, I managed to get good grades, and the lower math made sense to me. But once I got into quantitative theory and algebraic equations, I felt lost. I sensed the concepts, but I never truly had that complete understanding of the principles.

English, on the other hand, was intuitive. I didn’t even need to know all my prepositional phrases or adverbs. I just ‘got’ it, deep down in my gut. Whereas I had to work at math, I barely had to try in English to get a good grade. And I loved it. Which makes me wonder: do we love something because we’re good at it, or are we good at it because we love it?

I did a lot of creative writing in grade school, but not so much in high school or college (I majored in business—there were just too many practical applications for that degree not to pursue it). But in almost every class I had to do book reports…and I loved them, no matter the subject. I loved structuring them, writing about a subject to make it fun (I actually had to do one for math, and illustrated the word problems). I even loved creating covers for them (I did one for science where I used aluminum foil with cutouts for the cover. The teacher loved it, the kids all looked at me like I was weird.)

I guess I should have known then that I would one day become a writer. The rest of the students would groan whenever the professor mentioned a book report. And I would secretly sigh with delight.

And now, I’m writing books of my very own.

So I guess you are good at what you love…or maybe you love it cause you’re good at it.

Oh, heck, I don’t think it truly matters, just as long as you find it. Is there something you loved in school that you wound up pursuing in your career? I’d love to hear about it!

My Magical Best,


  1. Great post, Kathryne! Like you, I excelled in English. I was a fast reader and was done with all the lessons halfway through the school year so was able to read in the library the rest of the year. That's when I read White Fang, Call of the Wild, Last of the Mohicans and other great stories. But I loved the sciences like botany, biology and geology and history and math too. But not political science or chemistry or physics!

  2. Kathryne,
    I love poetry. I love to read it and I used to write it, but not so much anymore as I simply don't have the time. I don't know that I was ever any good at it, but I think I've always loved just putting my feelings down on paper.

    Thank you for an excellent post!

  3. Hi Terry! I'm having a feeling that most writers excelled in English, loved the written word, and were fast readers. :} It's wonderful to see the stories that you loved to read, and how you have taken those elements and created your own unique world of shape-shifter romances.

  4. Hi Amelia! It takes such a romantic soul to appreciate poetry. I'm not surprised that you love to read it. :} And so very glad my post resonated with you!

  5. Interesting question. I used to wonder if I liked certain things because I was good at them until I worked in scientific research. A professor in college encouraged me to get my PhD in biomedical research--fascinating subject and very rewarding if you discover something new and profound (which I did. Scientist are still using my work to advance the field). BUT... you knew there was a but didn't you? BUT...even though I was good at it, I didn't like it. AT ALL. It did not fit my pesonality type. So I left the PhD program, earning a Masters degree instead, and followed my original plan to teach. This I love. AND I'm good at it.

    Science has always been my favorite subject. I didn't really enjoy English class, except for diagraming sentences (yes, weird I know, but I like the logical orderliness of it). Reading literature and trying to identify themes and symbolism, etc was pure torture. I've always loved to read for enjoyment. English teachers tried to take all the joy out of it. I'm glad they didn't succeed.

  6. I had a love hate relationship with English classes. I loved reading and writing, but I hated the dissecting all the books we had to read (though I usually loved the books themselves) and I despised the book The Lord of the Flies which I was forced to read over and over because I moved around a lot. If I could take a class and read what I wanted to read (which was sooo not Lord of the Flies) I would have been in heaven.

    I was like Terry in that I got all my work done early (usually in the first 5 or 6 weeks) but instead of being allowed to go to the library, I had to grade everyone else's work. The library would have been fabulous, grading, not so much.

    I always loved Math because it was always a challenge for me. I knew that if I worked hard, I could get an A. I liked knowing math was black and white, right or wrong. There were no gray areas. I liked knowing it was all up to me. Not whether or not the teacher agreed with my assessment.

  7. Like you, I loved English and was always a great writer. But I never thought of being a writer. I was going to be an opera singer and then a clinical psychologist. It wasn't until I decided to be a teacher that all the comments saying, "You're a damn, fine writer" made me think about writing as a career. But I didn't end up writing about psychology research!

  8. Hi Olivia!
    I'm truly impressed by your scientific achievements, but we only have one time around here, and I'm glad you pursued something that you were not only good at, but loved, as well. That was a hard decision to make, and I admire you for it.
    And the fact that you enjoyed diagraming sentences makes perfect sense, for you seem like you have a logical mind.
    On the flip side, I actually loved digging into themes and symbolism, although sometimes I felt that it was...reaching, if that makes any sense. But since I enjoy that so much, I do try to incorporate it into my stories...although I may be the only one to identify them.
    Great to learn more about you! What an amazing group of people we have here at Casa!

  9. Oh, Robin! Shudder! Lord of the Flies! I swear that book disturbed me so much, that I never forgot it. Talk about exploring the worst of human nature--and the fact that it was children was even more disturbing. I never understood why that particular book was required reading for a kid, but I do think I take something new away from every book I read.
    Oi, the math. You sound like my son, who adores the logistics. He must have got that from my DH. :}

  10. Hi Shana! I envy your psychology background. It must give you a powerful edge on creating your characters! And it's fascinating that you were going to be an opera singer. Great to learn more about you!

  11. Kathryne,

    I've often pondered the question you pose. Obviously there's a connection, but since I am astonishingly mediocre at many things I love (playing the piano comes to mind) I don't think there's a perfect correspondence between what one loves and what one is good at.

    Fundamentally, I'm in Olivia's camp.

    I think we love those things which engage us at a heart level--a circular sentence if there ever was one!LOL. For instance, I didn't love arithmetic--not because it was hard, but it was impossible for me to feel anything at all for numbers.

    Numbers didn't DO anything. They had no personality, no quirks, no surprises. The very dependability and orderliness, which others praise about numbers, turned me off.

    On the other hand, I loved words. I loved puns. I loved logic problems that demanded one think about all that was said and all that wasn't. And when I found out that words themselves were time capsules that when opened showed evolution of ideas--ah! Bliss!

  12. I majored in Spanish in college b/c I loved it so much in high school. Did I use it? Well, I became a professional convention and meeting planner, so I used it to talk to many of the hotel workers. But, no, it wasn't the focus of my career.

    But I still love it.

  13. Life is never perfect, Mary Margaret. :} But I sure am glad to be able to do something I love.

    Hi Judi! It's fascinating to learn that you loved Spanish!

  14. I was one of those "odd" kids too, Kathryne. I loved school. Not so much the social drama or being forced to do PE when I was decidedly NOT athletic. But, I loved all the school work. I loved learning in all its forms.

    Your question of whether we love what is easy or find easy what we love is interesting. I think it is a chicken/egg kind of thing. One cannot exist without the other. I got good grades in everything - I know, weird - but definitely had to work a bit harder on subjects I did not care for.

    Great post! Frankly I am glad I am not sitting in classrooms anymore, unless I could take a fun class like art appreciation or literature. LOL!

  15. Hi Sharon! I was never a fan of PE either. ;} So glad you enjoyed the post! And I do like your chicken/egg analogy.

  16. I think a lot of us love something that isn't considered "practical" as far as job prospects go, so we pursue something else we're "good" at in order to pay the bills. LOL

    I've always loved words, and books, and that probably made it easier for me as I pursued other careers. But writing is my first love, and I love devoting my time to it now. :)

  17. Hi Donna! You're absolutely right. And it's a pleasure to be able to work at something we love. :}

  18. I loved school. I liked a lot of subjects, especially English and History, but most of all I enjoyed goign to school. Maybe that's why I stayed in school so long (about 22 years). Finally I had to go make a living (and pay off all those loans!). Like many of you I never considered writing until recently. I'm so glad I found it because I finally found something I enoy even more than being a student!

  19. I loved Biology, and I use it in my nursing career as well as in my writing. I was never a big fan of English class, but I did like to write even then. Great post!

  20. Like you Kathryne, I LOVED reading and English when I was in school, and luckily I've found a job where I get to talk about books all day :-)

  21. Hi Amanda! So glad to know another school chum!

    Hi Cheryl! Thanks so much!

    Hi Danielle! We are the lucky ones to have you!