Thank You

hard hat grad hat

I dropped out of college when I was nineteen. I thought I couldn’t hack it; I was drinking all the time. I thought I was a failure, and maybe I was, but someone close to me went away to prison for life, and I didn’t realize how deeply that affected me until years later.

I went to work right away building air cleaners, then locating utilities, and finally (after a second, weak attempt at college) I began a career in construction. And that’s where I would’ve stayed if the industry hadn’t totally collapsed in this state.

I never gave up trying to write. I wrote short stories and terrible poems here and there, and even sold a couple stories, but I just couldn’t seem to get things going. After my third lay-off in two months, my wife at the time convinced me to do something I swore I never would: go back to school.

So I went. I obtained loans, swallowed my pride, and sat in classrooms with people fifteen or more years younger than me, trying to relate and learn something at the same time. I learned some stuff anyway.

I graduated this month, thanks to the generous support of my family and friends. I couldn’t have done it without y’all, and I want everyone to know how grateful I am. That scholastic failure that lingered in the back of my mind for decades has been put to rest. I am also grateful to the writing teachers at UNR who gave me the tools to become a better writer—tools I’d likely not have developed on my own. And I want to also thank the Writing Center at UNR, where I was able to further practice my craft while tutoring other students. Lastly, I want to thank the few readers of my blogs and stories—an artist needs an audience, at least this artist does.

I wish y’all a good holiday—stay safe and feel loved.

About Jeff Opfer

Jeff is a carpenter and freelance writer born and raised in the Reno area. View all posts by Jeff Opfer

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