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The essence of one-of-a-kind

May 5, 2016
By Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican

Dear readers: Due to an unfortunate meeting between my right foot and a wall, I am now nursing a collection of broken toes. So to keep the Moseys coming, here's a Golden Oldie from 2009. As for the toes, it could have been worse. I only broke four out of the five. Love, Joyce


Recently, I happened to catch an interview with a well-know author on PBS. The woman was talking about one of my favorite subjects, words.

"Most words can be modified," the writer said. "For instance, something can be described as slightly valuable or extremely valuable.

"But," she continued, "one word that can't be modified is the word 'unique.' There's no such thing as "somewhat unique" or "very unique." A thing that is unique is simply unlike anything else. It's an original, impossible to duplicate."

As often happens in my life, soon after hearing this talk, I came across a related quote that emphasized the discussion on uniqueness.

Attributed to John Mason, the quote stated, "You were born an original. Don't die a copy."

If you give this subject a bit of thought, you'll realize we each qualify for the description of "unique." There has never been, nor will there ever be, anyone just like you or just like me.

With that reminder, it's important that we each pursue our own path and do the best we can to fulfill the opportunities that come our way.

Last week I got word that my longtime friend, Debbie, had lost her battle with cancer. My first thought was, "How sad that she never realized her dream."

I had known Debbie for more than 20 years. She and I were drawn together by our shared love of writing.

In Debbie's case, that passion was focused on a dream she pursued all her adult life. Although she had written many pieces through the years, she wanted more than anything, to write a book sharing what she had learned about owning, caring for and riding horses.

Each time we got together, Debbie reported on the progress she was making with her project. Her research was ongoing and extensive. "One day, I'll publish this book," she'd say with the glint of determination in her eye.

When I heard Debbie had passed away, my sorrow was not only for the loss of a dear friend, but for a dream unrealized.

Through our lives, each of us has dreams that dance across the far horizon of our minds. Many of these dreams are the common stuff of life: marriage, a family, a successful career.

But each of us holds in our heart of hearts, unique dreams. These are plans we may even keep to ourselves, concerned that sharing might jinx them.

As a writing instructor, I often have the privilege of working with those who say one day they'll publish their works. Many spend their time dreaming and planning but not following through.

Their problem is the same one that held Debbie back all those years. They're afraid to take the next step in their project. But, in any group of writers, there is always someone who has taken that next step and can offer a hand up.

So, today, as I remember my dear friend Debbie, let me encourage you to work toward your own dreams.

If, like me, you're a writer, start to pen that poem or write that play or draft that novel.

Maybe your dream is entirely different. Have you always wanted to learn to fly? Or play golf? Or learn the piano or guitar? Is something calling you to enter politics?

Whatever your dream, take the first step toward your goal.

Remember. You are unique. Your dreams are a reflection of that uniqueness.

As John Mason said, "You were born an original. Don't die a copy."



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