Syd Locklear enjoys all aspects of creativity and a good story in whatever form. He is a lifelong writer, composer/ musician, filmmaker, web developer, photographer, and creative spirit.

If God created Man in His own image, then we are first and foremost creative spirits.

As a creative spirit, Syd has performed and recorded with regional and local bands, portrayed the role of Shrek in Shrek the Musical, and served on staff in creative positions in the workplace, churches and theater. He has served as a musician, worship leader, film/video director, media tech, lighting and sound tech. As a former pastor in the United Methodist Church, he wrote (and still writes) messages, lessons, and essays on faith. He has produced written and video newsletters, operated a recording studio and video production company.

For most of his life, Syd’s writing has remained on a laptop unseen except for a select group of friends and other writers. But writing has always been a part of his makeup. He encourages people to follow their dreams and creative aspirations, to question authority and accepted paradigms, and to push themselves to do what is at the heart of their individual identity. He took the long road to “be true to thine own self”, and shared the following story with his own daughter who aspires to pursue music as a career.

I attended Georgia Tech and Southern Tech, studying computer and information science. His first composition class at Georgia Tech was taught by the head of the English department at that time, Dr. Jim Beatty. On the first day of class, Dr. Beatty announced that he never gives an “A” on the first assignment. The highest possible grade is a “C”. I determined to get him to break his rule and give me an “A” on my first paper.

When he returned the graded papers back to us, he called each student by name to come to his desk and get the paper. Naturally, my paper had to be at the bottom of the stack, my anticipation intensifying with each name called. Finally he got to the last two papers. He called the other student to the front, then laid the last paper, mine, on his desk.

“Mr. Locklear,” he said evenly, “I will see you after class.” With that, he turned to the black board and began teaching. That agonizing hour of class was one of the most nerve wracking ordeals of my life.

After class, I approached Dr. Beatty’s desk as the other students exited. My paper rested face down under his hand. “Mr. Locklear, did you write this paper?” This unanticipated question blindsided me. Yes, sir! As I defended the paper as my own ideas and my own work, a smile worked its way onto Dr. Beatty’s face.

After a few moments, Dr. Beatty again shook me. “I never give higher than an ‘C’ on the first assignment. That’s my policy. But this is one of the best papers I’ve ever read by a student at any level, and it made me question that policy. I considered giving you an ‘A’.”

I muttered softly, “I wouldn’t tell anyone if you did.”

He chuckled, flipping the paper over to show the grade. Above my handwriting, a large red C+++ graced the top of the page.

The following year, a similar incident occurred in a composition class at Southern Tech. Again, my professor was the head of the English Department, Dr. Carol Barnum. After our first couple of papers, Dr. Barnum asked to speak after class. Again, I found myself standing uncomfortably at the professors desk waiting for the rest of the class to exit.

Looking at me earnestly, she asked, “What are you doing in an engineering school?” Studying electrical engineering. She gave me a knowing smile. Years later, I realized she had taken an interest in my writing and had the insight to see my talents leaned more to crafting words than engineering. Dr. Barnum encouraged me to consider changing to a liberal arts degree. “You won’t stand so far above the crowd in a liberal arts program, but you clearly have a gift and a passion for writing more than engineering.

What I didn’t tell her was that I had already expressed the desire to switch majors. My father responded, “Fine. You don;t want to be an engineer. Do you want to go to law school or medical school.” I responded, None of those. Maybe journailsm or communications. What happened to my father next could only be described as an emotional meltdown.

He ended up taking me to a psychiatrist to see what was wrong with me for not wanting to go to engineering school. Among the tests were interest inventories and the MBTI questionnaire to determine psychological preferences and personality type. The conclusion: the kid isn’t interested in engineering. He would be be more successful pursuing a career in teaching, communications, journalism, or other careers in media, publishing, and arts.

Don’t let other people’s expectations drive you to a career or activities that leave you miserable. Above all, be true to thine own self, true to the gifts and talents God gave you rather than what other people want from you out of their own unreasonable expectations.