by Donna MacMeans
I was on the University of Cincinnati campus this weekend to see my two star general (retired) brother receive an award from his alma mater for achieving the highest rank of any UC ROTC graduate. That's him in black accepting a plaque (below) ...guess I needed a zoom attachment on my ipad (grin - you should see the one of him officiating the coin toss at the football game that followed this presentation - talk about tiny!)
Classes start midweek on campus so besides the football game, there was an excitement in the air of moving in, new beginnings, and new challenges.
I loved my college years for the new experiences. A lot of growing up occurred in that environment. One of the reasons I chose
journalism as a major at Ohio State University, was that the program encouraged their students to take a wide variety of courses. After all, you never knew what sort of story you'd be asked to report about. Good to have a broad base of knowledge to draw upon.
Alas, I didn't graduate in journalism, though. Life interfered...and marriage...and moving - you know how it goes...so I ended up graduating in Accounting. However, the need to keep learning, to maintain a broad base of knowledge, never went away. Life seems to continually teach us new lessons - especially once children come along (grin) - but even if they don't, we travel, we learn to exist in new environments, we make new friends that challenge us with new skills.
Writing is especially challenging in this regard. Not only do we learn alot about ourselves in terms of sacrifice to create and write a story, but we have to learn about other things in the name of "worldbuilding" as well. It's called research. Such a dry academic name for an exciting challenging passion (grin). I once told a reader that I'd be able to generate books much faster if just once I actually knew what I was writing about. Maybe that's part of the joy of writing, doing the research and learning new things.
For Redeeming the Rogue (sorry, love that cover and so had to post it again - grin), I had to learn about the politics and specifics behind the assassination of President Garfield, the layout of Washington DC in 1881 when it was comprised of a great deal of swampland, the process and utensils of an eleven course meal, something about tramp steamers of the nineteen century, coffins, and the Irish movement for Home Rule.
For Casanova Code, my next book which I believe is to be released June 2012, I studied secret codes and how to break them, Victorian personal ads, Victorian pubs, rifles used by the army in 1890, rifle scopes, and Japanese erotica. (Y'all know I like a sexy book - grin).
I'm currently learning about Scotch whisky, the Highlands, and the temperance movement. I'm still early in the book so I'm sure that list will grow.
What about you? Do you find the process of learning exciting, or a chore? What life lessons have you learned? What research would you like to do (wink, wink). Let's all go back to school for the day to explore learning. I'll give away a copy of Redeeming the Rogue to someone who leaves a comment so they can experience the benefit of my research. (If you already have Redeeming the Rogue - just let me know and I'll send you one of my research books that I no longer use).