I’m on vacation and part of the time I’m away I’m staying with my dear friend in Oakton, VA. Her mother is a super person and has come along to the pool with us (along with dear friend’s darling daughters aged 4 & 6) as we hang out. It’s been fun not having a regular schedule, floating through the lazy days of summer vacation with young children, smelling the scent of chlorine & sun block lotion. Playing games, coloring and reading stories with little ones is always a fun treat for this mom of a teen. And the hosts are beyond generous and super people.
As the lazy days progress, I have managed to write a little here and there, but I’ve been taking in life at a gentler pace, too. And that means getting into interesting conversations with interesting people like my dear friend and her parents. Her mother brought up a New York Times series that dear friend’s sister had forwarded to her: a series about the concept YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW. We’ve had a lot of fun with the play on words, but based on our conversations, it’s really about the human ability to deny the existence of problem before they undertake something or to not know what problems lie ahead of their efforts to perform some task.
Okay, she used a bank robber who believed if he rubbed lemon juice on his face, no one would see his face in a photograph. He didn’t know what he didn’t know. Obviously or he wouldn’t have attempted his bone headed attempt to rob a bank with lemon juice on his face. I know that lemon juice doesn’t prevent my face from being recognized. I know what I know. But had I known five years ago what I know now, would I have begun writing?
I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I didn’t know how hard it was to get published. I didn’t know how painful it was to revise. I didn’t know how frustrating the task of unthreading a story multiple times and sewing it back together again would be to perform. I didn’t know how much I had to know about plot, craft, POV. I didn’t know about RWA, writing chapters, and online writing classes. I didn’t know that I would stop doing everything I was into doing to give my heart to writing.
I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I didn’t know I’d meet amazing people who didn’t know what they didn’t know. I didn’t know that I’d grow tough skin and learn to deal with rejections. I didn’t know that I had more than one story in me. I didn’t know that I had something to offer other writers as a reader, a judge, a friend, a motivator. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
I’m glad I didn’t know what I didn’t know. If I had known about the hard stuff, I might not have started writing. And then I wouldn’t have learned about all the wonderful, good stuff about writing.
I’m sure I don’t know what I don’t know about many more things. I’ll leave the gathering of the knowledge to time, experience and the pursuit of knowledge.