If only I’d learned one thing.

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

What is one thing that you would like to learn?

There is so much I wish I knew. Before I answer the prompt, here’s a bit of background.

I couldn’t really describe my time at school as a raging success. In fact, I failed all my exams at the first time of asking. With that, I lost myself the chance of a job that was conditional on my passing them.

I was faced with a choice, leave school and find another job or go back and take the final year again.

In the end (because I really wanted the job), I managed to swallow my pride and ask my prospective employer if I could start a year later, provided I passed the exams. Surprisingly, they agreed that I could join the next intake and I retook the school year, eventually gaining enough exam passes to get the job. I can only assume that my interview and school reports showed enough promise that they were prepared to give me a second chance. I (much) later found out that one of my teachers had put in a good word for me.

In my defence, while I might not have been the ideal student, I missed a lot of lessons due to my father moving for work.  In the space of a year, we moved from Devon to London and then to Kent, which meant three schools in three different local authority systems. I spent a lot of time with no school at all when we were in London, while the council decided which one to put me in. Meanwhile, I had missed large chunks of the curriculum in every subject.

I only really discovered the extent of what I didn’t know when I went to college to obtain professional qualifications. It was all a steep learning curve, if you’ll pardon the expression.

All that meant a lot of extra work while everyone else was at the pub, just to keep up. And while I could catch up with the math and make sense of the sciences, my lack of a good grasp of basic English has always made me hate writing official reports, essays, and letters.  

That’s my story. Back to the prompt.

What I’d love to learn is English grammar and how to use it. Sure, I can muddle through but it’s all a bit hit and miss. Thanks to technology, I have an automatic grammar checker watching my every move, time and a good editor have helped me present my writing in a much better way. But I still feel self-conscious in writer’s groups when everyone is discussing grammar with an easy familiarity.

How did I end up writing novels, you might wonder. I ask myself the same question. That’s a story for another time.

Before I go, I’d like to wish you all a happy Christmas, however you choose to celebrate it.

Let me know what you think about this week’s subject.

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8 Responses

  1. Stevie Turner

    Yes, I’d like to study for an English degree, but my parents always told me that ‘people like me’ don’t go to university. Hmm…

    • Richard Dee

      I ended up in university by accident, which was ironic considering that I didn’t want to go or have the qualifications to get there anyway.

    • Richard Dee

      Very true, but like a foreign language to me, thank goodness for editors.

    • Richard Dee

      I want one of those, much better than an Interrossitor 🙂

  2. Roberta Eaton Cheadle

    I enjoyed learning more about you from this post, Richard. My father also moved around a lot and I went to 14 schools during my life which is more than one a year. Grammar has a horrible way of changing, so even when you think you know it, you have to keep checking for new changes.

    • Richard Dee

      In a strange way, having to work harder for it made me appreciate the result more. I’m sure there was a reason for it, my life would have been different if things had not been as they were.

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