Pedestrian– (adjective) lacking inspiration or excitement; dull.
It was the best of times; It was the worst of times. I was an undergrad in my first technical writing course. I had a middle aged, balding, over-weight professor who over compensated with an excessive egomaniac façade. I was a Biology manor, posing as a technical writer.
I had a random calling by God (upcoming story) to change my major while taking the next to last course of my bachelor’s in biology. Microbiology was always my favorite, and I had just realized my unknown bacteria was a fish neurological toxin when I stood up and walked to West Hall at Valdosta State University to speak with the English Department head. That first day, the head of the department laughed at me and sent me away. The second day, he explained that I would never find a job. The third day, he signed my request to add a double major.
I believed technical writing was an excellent segue into the English world since I was a Science major, posing as something else. Honestly, I was horrible at it. I found my hope in Grammar and Editing because I had a flare for the code of language, yet my work as a fledgling technical writer could “cut the mustard.” We were assigned our final paper at the beginning of the course, and I knew I must choose a topic to write a technical report over, followed by a oral presentation and a shabby power point. As a Biology major, I chose melanoma and skin cancer prevention as my topic.
I wrote my first draft with images, footnotes, and charts. I turned it in for review and revision suggestions. When it was returned, it had such a simple word at the top: PEDESTRIAN, scribbled in horrifying red ink.
I am so thankful, looking back on this day, that it was a Thursday because I went home and cried uncontrollably for three days. I remember grasping the wall and catching my breathe in the hallway by Chere Peguesse’s office. I may have made it over to Diane Howard’s before flinging my sad body downstairs and to my car. I admit that I have always had the flare for dramatic exits.
Ultimately, I drug my PEDESTRIAN (&%%) back to school and rewrote the paper. That day would not be the worst day I ever had as a writer. There were several times during my master’s thesis that the outcome was seriously more SEVERE. Today, I spend time on my laptop producing PEDESTRIAN blog posts and children’s books. I work (when I have time) on a very juicy adults only novel project, and I make an uneducated stab at poetry. My professors probably cringe each time I post a poem because I never did take any creative writing courses, and literary nonfiction and journalism are my strong suits.
After seventeen years of teaching high school English with no education courses to speak of in my repertoire (only English courses until my doctoral studies), I daydream of imaginative children as characters, and I sit and listen to my four -year-old son for writing fodder. Children’s stories are the least PEDESTRIAN pursuit. I realize that I have taken my gift of Southern story-telling (or so said Jeff Vasseur) and condensed it into short fiction with added frilly illustrations.
I seriously stepped out of my personal and financial comfort zone today, and I hired the freelance artist that I have stalked for a week. He accepted my proposed job, and he is drawing the illustrations for “A Purposeful Day,” my only Christian Children’s book to date. I gagged after the first installment posted to my checking account, but by the end of the day, I have grown more and more excited to complete this project.
I may not be the best writer. I may not be a posthumous genius. However, I am the most determined. I will continue to write and to make mistakes until I get it right. I may cry and grasp my chest or call everyone I know to whine. But, I will carry on. I will try again. Please, without further adieu, meet my illustrator, Joshua Wichterich:
P.S. How PEDESTRIAN is this illustrator?!?