The world is so full of such wonderful things…

Right now I’m reading “Get Known Before the Book Deal” by Christina Katz. I’m one chapter in and bogging down already. Where I’m bogging down is area of expertise.

It’s not that I don’t have one, it’s that I don’t have one.

Maybe some people get to be my age with one area of expertise. I can’t figure that out; with so many interesting things to do and study in the world, how could you stick to just one? Here are some of mine:

Animals; herbs and herbal medicine; textiles, including historical techniques; manuscript illumination, including how to make parchment; pottery; printmaking; folklore and myth; paper; language and words; magic, as in fantasy and witchcraft.

You see what my problem is here – how am I going to choose one area of expertise to emphasize? Different people know me as expert in different areas. I have a list of non-fiction books to write, from a pop-up book to a series on exotic pets to one on my life as a shepherd. I have a list of fiction books, too.

I worry about a world in which one has to be an expert in some one thing. A liberal arts education has this advantage – it introduces you to many, many subjects, each of which may well have some bearing on the others. What I know about reptiles feeds into my science-fiction writing. What I know about making leather and about natural dyes and plants and animals has enriched my fantasy works. I resist being pigeonholed, because I have too many pigeons.

To quote Robert Louis Stevenson:

The world is so full of a number of things
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

I’m not sure what advice Ms Katz would have for someone like me. If I started a blog or a website to raise my profile in each of my areas of expertise, I’d be writing blog posts all day! But I can’t choose.

On the other hand, what a great problem to have. I’ll never die of boredom.

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4 Responses to The world is so full of such wonderful things…

  1. Lucinda says:

    Hoo-ray! let’s hear it for the Liberal Arters! Frustration, exasperation, irritation at the World at Large, particularly families, I get. But boredom, I don’t. There are souls who are bored and boring, God knows. I can’t imagine it though with the things to read, to see, to do and explore even if its only in our writings and minds. Astounding isn’t it to hear someone say, “I’m bored.” An exception to teenagers natch! You got me thinking about being Grateful for a Curious Mind. Thank you for yours EC!

  2. ecreith says:

    Nice to see you back on line, Lucinda!
    When I took my second-most-useless-degree-in-the-world (Fine Art and Mediaeval Studies) I knew I’d be living in my mind for the rest of my life. I want it well-furnished!

  3. Tom says:

    Feeling surprisingly good this morning, excited by the number of excellent books calling me to read them, with a good cup of coffee, one of my favorite verses suddenly surfaced into consciousness. “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” My 2nd grade school teacher made the phrase into a sign above her desk, the letters cut from colored papers; it made an impression on me then, and I’ve always remembered it. So I looked it up on google and found your page.
    And I would just like to add my comment, Yes! Curiosity about the world is wonderful. Like you I have many interests, and I’ve managed to resist becoming a stodgy expert of only one thing. I love to learn new things, to read, to explore ideas.

    Robert Louis Stevenson wrote “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy” , and, “The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light before your eyes, flowers at your feet … ” Yes!

    I am rediscovering my simple intrinsic orientation towards joy. I realized that in the past few years I’ve become way too involved with the discouraging world of politics and the dismal state of affairs about the world, bombarded by the news. After a close friend died 3 months ago, I’ve totally cut back on the political world and news, and I’ve recommitted myself to finding my own world, my own mind, my own interests, and feel much better for it.

    “To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.”
    ― Robert Louis Stevenson, An Inland Voyage

  4. Great post! How much more satisfying to have many interests, many areas of expertise! You and I are wildly divergent except in the area of herbs and herbalism. Just think how much we could share, and how much we could teach each other . . .

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