Because I am NOT an expert.
I tried to toy around with some things I’m good at. I like to write. I like to think I’m pretty good at it. But an expert? Hardly. I read books like Click Clack Moo or Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or The Chronicles of Narnia and I think, “Wow. I wish I wrote that.”
But I didn’t. And I never will. In fact, any attempt to write whimsical barnyard tales for children, sci-fi comedy or fantasy will forever be tainted by the book I can’t write. And those authors’ thoughts and phrases would bleed onto the page until I gave up.
Then I tried to take a bit of a cop out. How about me? I could be an expert in myself. Except, seriously? Whoever thought I’d be here, on some hobby farmstead in Nebraska milking cows, planning sheep breeding, fighting weeds in a massive garden and dreaming up more ways to anchor myself here, to this land. And making sure I can never again leave for more than 12 hours because the horses need fed and the poultry need watered and the cows need milked and someone needs to let the dog out.
I wanted to travel. And write. Have intellectually stimulating conversation about politics and art over coffee and wrestle with just the right words to describe the way the mist rolls over the sheep grazing on the dike on the coast of the North Sea. I wanted to travel and write and teach and explore and bind myself to ideas but not to places.
Back in kindergarten — KINDERGARTEN! — I wanted to marry a farmer and milk the cows and feed the chickens. But what does a KINDERGARTNER know about the kind of commitment and sacrifice that takes? What does a kindergartner know about anything?
Thing is, I’ve never aspired to be an expert in anything. I’m more of a generalist by nature. I know a little about a lot of things. And some things I even know well enough to know my knowledge barely scratches the surface.
Because knowledge is like that. It humbles you.
I mean, I can’t even be an expert at something simple like reading the directions. Or I would have noticed that this topic was actually for Monday because weekends are for free writing. But I’ve done gone ahead and written my very first post in six months and I’m not about to try for two. Especially not at, ahem, 3:30 in the morning.
So here it. My one kernel of wisdom: Knowledge is humbling.