Finding your own mine as a writer

I read a very funny, but insightful poem by William Plomer, “Father and Son: 1939.” The author, 1903-1973, was born in South Africa, I think, but at least lived in South Africa and England and various other countries, as well. From his earliest years he felt like a “misfit,” he said, which leads me to wonder how many writers felt (and feel) similarly and if that experience is almost a prerequisite for the career choice. The poem captures the two main characters’ foibles so humorously that we can’t help but see that we possess the same flaws to some degree. “Conversations at parties by the “sponges and bores,” “spouting half-truths,” passing life in a “lazy, hazy” manner.
Plomer said that he considered his first efforts at writing as a kind of “prospecting.” In the beginning he found rocks and pebbles discovered by everyone else, and occasionally some flecks of gold within those ordinary stones. But the key, he said, was to discover his own “mine,” and that, to me, is the challenge.

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About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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