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Thursday, August 19, 2010
7:53 PM | Posted by Maureen | | Edit Post
I must admit, I am not an expert. Of anything. But I find I’m quite impressed by those who are experts, of just about anything. I guess I’ve never developed the obsession with any topic to consider myself an expert in it.
Yes, I have read Lord of the Rings more times than I can count, but I am not an expert.
I have seen a lot of movies, but I am not a movie trivia person. Or can speak of movies with anything more than everyday words. No education in the nuances of the theater. Same with soundtracks. Same with television shows. No matter the genre. I like ‘em, I watch ‘em, listen to them… But it’s not the same.
I’ve got a degree in language and literature.
Still not an expert of either. Granted, it’s an Associates of Arts Degree, but it counts as somewhat higher education.
I found when I used to attend science fiction/fantasy conventions on a regular basis, that what I knew of the genres, no matter how big a fan I was, did not make me an expert. There is always someone at a convention that will be able to quote dialogue, character trivia or something that will make it plain to any small bit of personal ego that I know nothing. Absolutely, fricking nothing. (Geeks can be extremely hung up on the idea of expertise, ya gotta love that about them.)
I attend Renaissance Fairs…not a historical expert on anything. (I probably drive the experts crazy at the fairs. I wear earrings, the color purple, mix eras...but what the heck! It's for fun!)
I attend Pirate Festivals… I am an expert on my own pirate world. But the reality of historical pirates? HA! Took an online course on the subject once and again, was humbled to realize I knew less than more. (So glad the festivals don't care about authenticity. They're pirates!)
All in all, as I age, I embrace the entire concept that the more I learn, the more there is to learn.
And I accept the simple truth that I enjoy learning, but am totally uninterested in dedicating myself to reaching expert status on … well… anything.
But I really admire those who are struck with this sort of dedication in regards to whatever it is they are interested in. Those who dive into those intricate degrees, or simply those fascinations that spark them to memorize, to understand, to make it part of their mental treasures.
I’m more of a flutterer. I flutter here, I flit there. I’m the sort who read the table of contents, the appendices…but seldom read the book in depth. I have a dozen books or more on pirates. I really like to look at the pictures and read snippets…
But I like experts! I find them fascinating. Generally, when I admit to an interest, they encourage questions and I learn. (Sure, some are jerks. But there are jerks everywhere.)
I know a bit about a great many things. I know wild flowers. I know mountain ranges. I know old school adventure books. I know fabrics (thanks to a Mom who sews.) Thanks to years at a metaphysical bookstore I know a fair amount about the new age and some of the old age religions.
Nope, not an expert on anything. I’d like to be an expert on any number of things. Irish history, geology, astronomy, astrology, archeology, dog training, baking, cooking, architecture, yoga, snorkeling, blades…
I love it when a book teaches me something. And I wonder whether these authors are experts or just good researchers. For example, Annette Blair has a series featuring vintage clothing and she sprinkles a wonderful amount of information about this topic in the books. Nora Roberts had a series featuring a glass blower that astounded me with the depth of detail she wrote. Made me want to learn glass blowing!
Eloisa’s series taught me a lot about chess in history. So many books with cooking heroines have honed my interest in cooking. Nevada Barr stuffs her books with information about national parks, some I’ve been to, some I haven’t. They are fascinating!
And it’s a nice passive sort of learning. I like that!
I remember watching Fiona of “Burn Notice” trying to entertain a child. Something she was woefully ill equipped to do. So what did she do? She played GI Joe with him, discussing the weaponry with him. Teaching him about what she is an expert in.
My most recent book? I did some research into the details of how a book is put together. The paper folding, hand stitching, etc. I have no idea if I put enough information into the story to entice a reader about the craft. But I enjoyed reading up on it, as it is something I have always wanted to do. One of these days, I’ll take a class.
What about you? Are you expert on anything in particular? When you write, do you use that expertise to add depth and detail to your stories? Your characters? What would you like to be an expert of, given any choice? Have you ever read anything that inspired you to take a class? Look for a teacher? Explore on your own? And for the sake of starting a fight, is being an expert necessary to a writer’s credentials?
Labels: Loader's Logic (2nd Chance)