Oh, the dreams we had in childhood! The other day, my granddaughter (age 8) was talking about what she wants to be when she grows up. She had a list of possibilities including a doctor, an entomologist, a geologist and an archaeologist – all within the realm of possibility, given her abilities and talents. My grandson (age 5) had much shorter list: either a superhero or a dad. Also in the realm of possibility, as most fathers are superheroes, at least in the eyes of their young children. The capes begin to get a bit tattered as adolescence takes hold, but the super powers recharge and superdad is back, once they realize that the superhero was right all along.
I, too, had a list of possibilities when I was young. The earliest I can remember considering was being a nun, part of my catholic school indoctrination. I couldn’t get past those habits they wore, though. They were heavy, dark brown, woolen gowns with headpieces that enshrouded their heads completely – all you could see were their faces and hands – everything else was a mystery. We used to wonder what color their hair was, hidden under that headgear. In second grade we had a novice nun, one who had yet to make her final vows. Her name was Sister Annette and she had a head of flaming red hair. Halfway through the school year she was whisked away to make those vows and cover that beautiful hair forever. How sad! Another minus for the nun choice – you couldn’t have a boyfriend or get married, so by fourth grade this career choice faded away for most of us.
I briefly considered nursing, as I read my way through the Cherry Ames, student nurse books, but all those needles I’d have to stick people with was a turn-off. I considered archaeology myself, but scorpions and spiders and hot, dusty places were not my favorite things. So I enjoyed the career vicariously through the Amelia Peabody book series about a woman archaeologist in the late 1800s, written by Elizabeth Peters. Just before I started high school, my Aunt Jeannie had a baby boy with Down’s syndrome. She became involved with the March of Dimes campaign to prevent birth defects, and I joined her efforts. This led me to my eventual choice of career in special education.
Also about this time I started writing poetry, and keeping a travel journal of my summer adventures with my family. In high school, I had great fun writing a parody of Moby Dick with my friend, Kathi. This was a class project and our revenge against a vicious literature teacher, who wielded a red pencil on our compositions like a sword, slashing it to bits and pieces. But despite this, I continued to write, took as many lit courses as I could in college, for they were easy As to boost my GPA.
I graduated from college, got married, and one day my husband and I, both science fiction fans, started discussing some of his ideas in politics and somehow we decided that we could fit this into a science fiction novel. It was designed to be a trilogy and I did finish the first book, but I got derailed along the way by a couple of kids and a full time job. I submitted it to several publishers without any luck. During this time, however, I began writing articles for magazines, and had some luck in the small press with that. My first published piece was on my experience as an extra in filming the movie, The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the book by Margaret Atwood. The article is on this blog page (see title on heading above). In the meantime, I continued writing and finished a children’s book. I enrolled in creative writing classes and online courses and finally finished and self-published (thank you, Amazon) another children’s book, Escape from Mount Sanctuary. I began this blog on May 2, 2012, and this is my 253rd post on this blog. As they say, the rest is yet to be written…