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WOW! I just came across this letter - my first assignment in a writing course in 2008/9. For some reason, I am going to share it with you because, for those of you who are students, you might learn a thing or two. It is not an epistolary novel but it makes for good reading, if I may say so. Remember that since writing the letter (below), I have moved from country to country until settling down here in Canada.

Happy reading!
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AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL LETTER

Dear ...

It is with excitement that I write this letter about myself because it means that I have opened a new chapter in my life, a chapter that will lead to the fulfillment of my dream. My dream…I’ll get to that shortly.

Whenever I am required to talk about myself, I feel like I am being put on the spot – sitting on the ‘hot’ seat, so to speak. However, when it comes to writing about myself, it is quite a different story. I guess I could write a whole book about myself. while I don't enjoy talking about myself; I do enjoy writing. Also, it is not that my life so far has been very interesting but it has not been totally one boring routine either. What is particularly appealing to me is the requirement that I use an informal style in this letter. Making this letter informal (and informative) would guarantee that the kind of information I reveal is not considered appalling rather as all in the course of the day’s work.

After that preamble, let me tell you a little about my writing interests, experiences, and goals. My interest in writing was evident by the time I was 13. I realized that I could create stories (from holiday adventures to romantic stories) in my head within seconds in a classroom. I often surprised even myself. In the last two decades, I have written at least five unpublished short stories, three or four short stories for a Christian women magazine, a collection of poems, and of course many academic papers. The academic papers are published in various academic journals; the poetry collection is in press and should be out soon. Also, I have written two short soon to be published books. The first one is motivational and the second one talks about relationships. Recently, I have tried merging the two but I have left that for a while because I am focusing on writing chapters for my doctoral thesis now that I have completed gathering data. Having spent all my working life so far in academics I value credentials; consequently I am certainly planning to seek college credits for this program.

My writing ambition is, above all, to become a full time, professional writer. My interest is primarily in the area of fiction, particularly novels. Nonetheless, I have the ambition to write biographies, for example, of various groups of people such as pastors’ wives, women in the corporate world, women in academics, female novelists, female politicians, and so on. Furthermore, I’m interested in writing for teens – mostly didactic but humorous stuff. Lastly, while being a full time writer/novelist, I would like to continue to have a feel of academe by being a visiting university professor in creative writing, thereby training others to become professional writers through their university writing programs.

Regarding my career, travels, special interests and activities, there is not much to put to pen. My career as a university lecturer has been bittersweet. It is the only kind of job I have done since graduating with a B.A. (Hons) degree. I started as a graduate assistant and rose to the position of senior lecturer in Nigeria. I enjoy teaching. Whenever I’m in class, I’m happy, relaxed and it seems like I have no cares. My students’ end of semester evaluation of me and my teaching reveal that I have what it takes to be a good teacher – knowledge and a heart/human face. You might even add a subtle comedian streak. My students learn and they do so in a lively environment we create.

However, my job as a lecturer is particularly challenging. As a prolific writer, the “publish or perish” adage never hung over my head. In fact, I find the researching and writing parts of academia very exciting. One snag in all of these is the large classes I have to teach. In Nigeria, I sometimes had over 500 students in a class. Grading papers was horror!!! It is a “pain” that has continued. In Botswana, I have about 35 students in a class and have to teach at least four such classes many hours a week and grading their essays, reports, letters and other assignments is daunting.

The strain is such that I can hardly wait for the time and place I’ll be teaching about 15 students in a class and not more than two classes that I have to see just twice a week. I can even see myself stopping teaching altogether and focusing on a successful writing career. And as my zeal and inspiration increase in recent years, I know I will certainly get there. It is this ambition that has propelled me to pay for this writing course in order to make my dream of becoming a successful writer come true.

In terms of travel, I haven’t done much of that – even for an academic – due to my family constraints. I missed many opportunities to take sponsored trips around the world mostly for conferences because I had to stay with my children since my husband was often away. So far, we have lived in Nigeria and Botswana, though we have visited Ethiopia, South Africa and Ghana. My two proposed visits to the UK and one proposed trip to Canada did not happen because I either had a baby or they were too young to be left to the care of a helper for weeks and months. Now my children are not that young, the youngest is in grade 9. And I am beginning to see myself doing things for myself. For example, I would like to take a working holiday, attend conferences even if I’m not going to make a presentation.

I guess I am one for a steady, predictable routine. I’m happier doing things unnoticed than standing in front of crowds talking. Strange and contradictory for a lecturer, don’t you think? Well, when I’m in class, I have a rapport with my students and don’t see them as strangers. Anyway, writing is more my thing than talking. I enjoy reading novels, watching movies and listening to all kinds of music. And I love writing, writing and writing. Have I mentioned writing?

When I was a child, I had no clues as to what I wanted to do. By the time I was in high school, I thought of becoming a lawyer (my Dad and teachers' advice), a fashion designer and even a caterer. Overall, I never gave much thought to what I would be as an adult. Maybe, it was the level of enlightenment that pervaded the time. I say this because by grade three all my children had one or two possible career choices they were considering. Lastly, if I could travel anywhere in the world, I would go to Canada. If I am given the opportunity to add two more locations, I would choose USA and Australia in that order.

On the subject of reading interests and taste, I do not have a prompt, ready and fixed answer. For one, I do not have a favorite book. Odd? That’s me! I can’t even think of a role model in writing because I seem to enjoy most of the novels I choose. I must say though that I like fiction and find many biographies boring. I like romantic fiction, children mysteries, comedy/humorous novels and stories about the goings-on in peoples’ lives. So my interests are not so clear-cut. I have read a few novels by Danielle Steele, e.g. Vanished, and I really like her work. I like John Grisham, Ted Dekker, Frank Perretti, Francine Rivers, Janette Oke (and her Canadian Prairie set stories), and Enid Blyton’s Malorie Towers series. Although I have been editor of two magazines and currently review manuscripts for academic journals, I do not read many magazines. I read more novels than magazines. In fact, I only buy magazines based on topic interests.

I’ll end this letter by giving you a gist of my personal history. For starters, I am the fourth in a family of ten children from the same mother and father. We are five boys and five girls. All my siblings ....

I feel privileged to .... I’ll stop here and get on with the next task in this first assignment.

Regards

Faith A. Brown

The End

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www.faithbrownonline.com
"It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot

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To think that I'm now in Canada as I read this! So thankful!

Remember: If you can dream it, you can live it.

To myself and to you, I say: KEEP BELIEVING!!!



Ciao!!!

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1 comments:

  1. this blog was really great, never seen a great blog like this before. i think im gonna share this to my friends..
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