As another school year winds to a close, another birthday passes, and May looms ahead on the road of life, I have to say things have been quite a whirlwind already this year. I managed to finish one novel, some poems, a couple short stories, and got tons more ideas. I have gotten several wonderful local opportunities, including being the first author featured in a local art gallery (St. Paul Va Small Art Gallery in St. Paul, Va), and I feel truly humbled by the immense support I’ve gotten from those who follow my writing and photography. On top of that, I have the undying support of my amazing wife, and we have gotten to go on several adventures this year that we will never forget. In all, life is good. The positive definitely outweighs the negative, and I thank God for that every day. It is because of His blessings I have the talents and passions that I do. I am incredibly thankful for everything I have and I want to make the most of these chances.
In light of that, I have to admit there is one area of my life I have long wanted to improve, to grow. My college experience is something that holds a huge place in the journey of making the man I am today. It was there I met my wife, where I first got to work in journalism and the creative arts for a meaningful production. But something still felt incomplete. I completed my Bachelor of Arts program nearly ten years ago and I have had a wealth of career opportunities based on it, but I also have a strong desire to do more. My love of the written word goes deeper than I can even explain without ranting for hours on end. My dive into literature was the deepest it has ever been during my undergrad experience, leading me to have a paper included in the COPLAC undergrad research conference in 2013. That feeling was always exhilerating and after graduating I have wanted to experience that deep educational dive again. It’s easy to say it was high school that helped me narrow my focus to literature, but it was college where I feel that love blossomed to a never-ending obsession. Because of that I have always felt a desire to teach at a college level and be involved in higher education. In short, I have always regretted not going on to get my Master’s Degree.
I’m proud to say I no longer have to feel that regret. As of April 26, the day after my 32nd birthday, I have officially been accepted into a graduate program at Liberty University. I will be completing a Master of Arts in English Literature through an online program, and I could not be more excited. I could also not be more nervous. Short of a few continuing education classes to maintain certification to teach high school, I have not been on the recieving end of formal education for nearly a decade, so the idea is a little daunting. Regardless, this is a venture I have been wanting to take for a long time, and I finally kicked myself into gear and got it going. I am beyond excited for this and I can’t wait to see how it goes.
In addition to furthering my education I am still working endlessly on spreading my name and my art far and wide both in the Appalachian region and beyond. I have recently grown to more than 610 likes on my Facebook author page and had a fun giveaway opportunity there and I am ever growing in my viewership on TikTok and other apps. To say I am blessed to be given this platform and my talents and passions is an understatement. I offer another huge thank you to everyone who supports and encourages me in all of my adventures, from education to beyond. The underlying message behind all of this is simple, and one that we might hear a lot but not always listen to. It is never too late. I’ve been out of school for nearly ten years and I’m going back. I come from an impoverished region where many of the people I have known are either in the grips of addiction or know people who are, and I rose above. There is no obstacle too big, no desire too great, no end too impossible for you to overcome. Especially with prayer and God on your side. I fully respect everyone’s right to a religion, or a lack of one, but that is my own experience talking. I rely on God, I’m thankful to God for all I have, and I feel like that is the right journey for me. Overall, I must press the fact that if you have a desire (as long as it is a good desire, and not one to harm yourself or others -i.e. Asimov rule one) you should chase it. Dreams are powerful, and we have them for a reason. No one is exempt from that. Walt Disney said “If you can dream it you can do it,” but I think no one says it better than Dr. Frank N Furter:
“Don’t Dream It, Be It”