When I was a kid I went to school. I learned the regular stuff that is taught, all of the way through high school. I even did a little college. Yet often the things I learned that I value most were learned largely on my own. Oh, I used the skills taught in school. You know, reading and such. Most of the time I used these skills to learn stuff I found interesting. Not necessarily school stuff.
I recall in elementary school going to an assembly. I don't know if they do those the same way, now. In those ancient days they had guests in to entertain and instruct. One guy did magic. He did a trick called the Die Box. I recall being fascinated. That was the idea, of course. Years later I studied magic and learned to do a few tricks. I even learned sleight of hand for vanishing small objects and creating illusions.
Steve Martin began his career in the Disneyland Magic Shop. According to his autobiography it was the performing he liked, more than the magic. For me it was the opposite. I did a little performing, but what I really liked was learning the secrets and practicing until I got some of them down. I have never been a good performer in the artistic sense. I have, however, learned how to learn stuff.
Most of it was on a hobby level. The idea of doing much of anything for the amounts of time necessary to earn a living at it seemed to rob an activity of it's magic. Work was work, and turning something fun into work seemed to be moving in the wrong direction. Turning work into fun would have been a great bit of magic, but I seemed to have failed in learning the trick of that.
I have enjoyed dabbling in wood carving, though I call myself more of a whittler than a real carver. It is an amazing hobby. I have played with calligraphy, the art of writing in its physical form. I have also done writing for content and style. Poetry? Yep. Done a bit. Some computer coding here and there. Languages, a little. Some photography. Other stuff.
Books and videos are fun to read and watch on the subjects which interest me. More than network television I prefer instructive and informative video. Lately it has been woodworking, from hand crafting to lathe turning wood. Fine furniture and art pieces. I would love to do a bit more of this kind of work, but so far work obligations and a lack of funds have precluded more than reading and watching videos. Even so, it has been fun.
Jillette Penn (of Penn and Teller) stated in a video visit to his home in Las Vegas that he loved to learn something new every year. At that time his hobby was learning to play slap-bass. That is the bass violin played so as to provide the bass in a small band. This is the instrument used before the invention of the bass electric guitar. Penn has a lounge in his house, a miniature night club, where he practices and performs. He said he enjoys practicing. I found that interesting.
For some people, exploring and mastering a specialty to the optimal height and breadth and depth that can be reached is quite satisfying. Others like to sample broadly, gaining some skills in a variety of arts and activities, yet constantly moving on to something new. I think I fit more properly in the latter category. There are a great many more things I would sample, if I could.
What am I exploring right now? Making beer, and loom knitting. Not at the same time, though a beer and some time working the knitting loom makes for a pleasant evening. Along with the loom knitting I have done a bit of crocheting, largely for finishing and connecting pieces. For beer I have played with the Mr. Beer system, and presently have a beer recipe I created in fermentation.
Learning stuff can be fun. What's next? I can't wait to see.
I am currently 62 years old. At present I am a retired correctional officer with 20 years of service. (My real job these days is being a Grandpa.)
I am married to my long-suffering wife, Linda. I have three children; Matthew, Beth, and Jon. I currently have six grandchildren; Alexandra, Madelyn, Wyatt, Lucas, Abigail and Landon.