26 September 2010

Banned Book Week: Dan Walker (guest blogger)

The Giver by Lois Lowry.  ISBN: 9780440237686.

So the main plot involves Jonas approaching the beginning of his Twelfth year, and the accompanying ceremony, in which he'll be given his Assignment, a post that he'll train in for a few years before working in the job the rest of his life.  The Assignments are made by the Elders who've watched the children, carefully recording what their strengths are.

Boy do I wish someone would do this for me.  Yes, choice in Jonas' society has been removed, to keep people from making mistakes, and that's part of the point: making decisions, even bad ones, is part of what makes us human.  Amy can sure tell you that I am severely hung up about needing to do things correctly, to the point of not trying if I don't think something can be done right.  But it has always seemed to me that everyone else in the world has always known what they want to do with their life, except for me.

See, I've got all these talents -- little things, mostly, like my penchant for making voices -- and I have no idea what can be done with them.  Something tells me I could be making a living doing something, but I don't know what that something could possibly be.  I may be missing my calling, for crying out loud, and not even know it.

For instance, I didn't discover my talent with languages until I took German in college, and that was after four years of high school Spanish.  I've bounced around from language to language, picking up bits and pieces of Swahili, Chinese, Russian, and French, to name a few.  And while I feel like each experience is helping me move toward some greater fundamental understanding of language as a whole, I can't exactly do anything with what I've already learned.  Unless there were, say, someone out there who just needs a little knowledge of a lot of languages.

Speaking of which, I didn't discover linguistics, now my passion, until my third or fourth year of college.  I could have been working toward a degree in that from a much earlier time if I'd known it even existed as a field.  Instead, I feel like I've wasted the last eleven or so years, and in some ways, I have.  A lack of direction in my early life plagues me now.  Maybe if someone had been there to say, "Hey, you're good at doing this, maybe you should try this," I would have at least been able to work towards a real life goal.

Dan Walker (pseudonym) is a writer from Northeast Ohio, who would be teaching ESL if he wasn't unemployed. He received a BA in Creative Writing from Wright State University in 2004 and a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language from Kent State University in 2009. He will make some lucky librarian a wonderful husband someday. 

for description of drug use by children, lethal injections of babies and the elderly, suicide, and other reasons.

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