Serendipity | Writing

SANDRA DEMPSEY POST

SANDRA DEMPSEY POST

Students’ complaints about writing assignments in grade school were in sharp contrast to my enjoying them. I tried to mask my feelings because being different wasn’t comfortable. Neither did I express apprehension about science, art and anything geometry related. Writing, English and speech were my preferred subjects even through high school.

Uncertain about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I didn’t plan to attend college. A great job that included travel benefits, and later enrolling in two night courses at ICC convinced me college wasn’t my main interest. Plus my mother told me I was expected to help pay for my higher learning so I chose to forgo the classroom. Some 10 years later, a friend and I took a night class in writing at ICC that peaked my interest, and an article I wrote was published in the student literary publication. But any passion for college was postponed until 1985 when an early mid-life crisis caused dissatisfaction and a genuine search for new opportunities.

Deciding stimulating college classes could be comparable to counseling, I enrolled in two classes. Puzzled looks and unspoken questions were responses I received when telling others about my curriculum choices. Introduction to Philosophy and Contemporary Moral Problems intrigued few people but me. I enjoyed the lectures, reading assignments and interacting with students even though I could have been their mother. I wasn’t, and found their reasoning and decisions very interesting.

Two classes led to four, then summer school, and detailed plans for a degree. Ivan Sparling, a returning retired teacher at ICC taught Creative Writing. He was interesting and encouraging, telling students to have their work published, even in an area publication. I followed his advice, earned experience and in 1988 while a student at Bradley University, approached Dr. Jack Fought about writing for the West Bluff Word, now the Community Word, that he and Dr. Joe Misiewicz had recently purchased. I wrote a few assigned articles, later asking to write a monthly column on varied topics. Jack gave me the opportunity to name the column, and I chose Serendipity.

For 30 years I’ve enjoyed the privilege and pleasure of writing about life and its miracles, sadness, contradictions, inspirations, ordinary happenings and life-altering joys and sorrows. Serendipity means “an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.” Having people tell me they like what I write and can identify with it is beyond rewarding for me. Such making of desirable discoveries is not necessarily something writers can cause for readers, but it’s great if it happens.

A huge thanks to the people who make this paper a reality each month and give me the opportunity to share 550 words with others. Years ago I read, “a writer writes so he (she) can understand.” I agree, and encourage others to enhance their understanding of situations through writing. The discipline is helpful and therapeutic even if reflections are never shared.

The changes in seasons and daylight now mean less time outside. Writing and reading can beautifully compensate, allowing words to inspire and educate. May my telling of incidents and life stories in Serendipity grace your life as it has mine. I’m grateful for the privilege of sharing insights and especially grateful for those who read and enjoy them.

Sandra Dempsey Post



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