As a Person
So much of who we are is tied into our relationship to others: to family, to friends, to our community, and to God. Apart from these four relationships, I don’t believe it is possible to truly define ourselves. We weren’t born in a vacuum and we don’t live in a vacuum.
That being said, I am a native of Syracuse, NY, where I grew up enjoying the great outdoors. I, as a son and brother, enjoyed many summers camping with my family. I also enjoyed many winters trudging through the snow to and from school and delivering the newspaper. Neither of these could have been possible without my family.
Growing up, and now, I had no more friends than I could count with the fingers of one hand. As a bookish introvert who would prefer the wilderness to a party, I enjoy the camaraderie and loyalty that is born out of having a few close friends.
As a member of a greater community, I participate in things that interest me and, out of these interests, meet the acquaintance of others for the duration of that period of time or longer. I believe it is more important to make a lasting impact on the life of another, especially if that impact results in meeting a greater material or personal need.
Finally, and most importantly, none of this really matters if I am not in a relationship with God. I grew up in the Pentecostal tradition of Protestant Christianity. Later, as a college student, I came into the Catholic Church. This is only to say that I am, above all else, a child of God who is in relationship with the saints of past and present. They laid their hope in Christ alone and it is in Christ alone that I am saved, am being saved, and will be saved.
As a Writer
My journey as a writer began like most: in elementary school. I recall moments when teachers would assign writing tasks that included poetry, short stories, and non-fiction. Like I said, pretty standard.
In high school, I recall participation in writing workshops, the school newspaper, and the school yearbook. Some of my old work held space in my parents’ attic for years until they moved and decided it was time to send that work to me. I’ve stashed the work away on a bookshelf or in a drawer. It’s unlikely they will ever see the light of day again.
In college, I didn’t write for fun. That’s just not the nature of research writing (for me, anyway.) I took a few creative writing classes in my undergraduate work. I don’t recall any of the work I did, nor did I bother to save the work. I guess I didn’t have a passion for writing at the time. Perhaps I was too busy trying to finish and move on to a career to be bothered with writing.
Several years passed, during which time I wrote nothing worthwhile. I didn’t need to because I was working in retail until I decided to pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching. Thus, the onslaught of academic writing again.
Needless to say, I didn’t really pursue any form of creative writing on my own until five years into teaching. I had an idea and that idea took the form of a blog that became a platform for modeling the writing process to my students. It has since developed into what you see here today.
In 2016, I decided to go back to school again with the intention of becoming a better writer and, hopefully, a better teacher of writing. But, like any course work, you don’t really master the skill until you regularly practice the skill. That’s where I am today.
Today, I would define myself as a writing practitioner. I am actively engaged in the art and discipline of writing. I am working to hone my own craft and, in the process, working to help others do the same. I don’t believe I will ever master writing. Indeed, I don’t believe anyone truly learns how to write. We are all on a continuous path of learning to write. There are, however, mile markers in our writing journal. When our current writing project is complete and we’ve conceded that it can be no better than it currently is, then we can say that we’ve mastered the writing for that project alone.
As a Teacher
Long before I realized I had a vocation for teaching, I was actively doing the work of a teacher. Inspired by my own mentors, I spent many summers as a camp counselor.
Growing up, I had many camp counselors, youth leaders, and teachers who spoke into my own life. It was because of them that I looked forward to summer camp, youth group, and youth retreats. It was an opportunity for me to be away from my immediate family and be my own person. I made mistakes and got in trouble, but there was always someone in my life who was there to patiently guide me to become a better person.
Outside of camp and church youth group, I had those teachers who had a positive impact on my life throughout my school, including undergraduate and graduate work. From them, I saw what it was to invest time and energy into transferring one’s own passion on to others while meeting the multi-faceted needs of the human person.
It is my hope that I can have the same impact on my students as my teachers and mentors had on me when I was growing up and as I continue to grow up.