On this date, some number of years ago, I came into this world kicking and screaming. I don’t remember it myself, but I am told by credible sources that I was about as noisy as a normal baby.
Since then, I have been exploring this great world of ours and dreaming of others. My mother is an avid reader – a trait I have stolen whole sale from her. I however was not content to just sit back and let others do all the work. My first foray into fiction writing came in second grade and the weekly journal assignment. No one told me I couldn’t make up the things I wrote in there – well not until I landed in the school councilor’s office. Fortunately it didn’t take much to convince her that I was just an imaginative child.
By the time I got to high school I had figured out that I had to label my fiction as such to avoid certain problems. I also learned that not everyone who claims to want young people to learn to write is as encouraging as that sounds. One of my harshest, and most damaging, critics was my eleventh grade creative writing teacher. Fortunately, he wasn’t the only one judging my work that year and others gave me the kind of praise that I needed. I don’t mean the mindless “you can do anything” kind of praise either. This was more like “You’ve got a good start, now here’s what you need to work on.”
In college I took a few left turns. I started out thinking that I loved science enough to make my life of it. A geology/chemistry double major seemed like a good idea, and I came awfully close to doing it too. It wasn’t until a titration in chemistry class that I noticed I was more interested in the pretty colors than the results. I had to do that titration six times to get usable results. Much soul searching and a few adventures in the wilds of Western Minnesota later I re-registered as an English/Theatre double major. That didn’t work out so well either for political reasons and I ended up transferring to ASL interpreting (which also meant a different school). Thirteen years after my high school graduation, I finally walked across the stage for my bachelors.
All the while, I never once gave up on my stories. There were times when I didn’t think of them as having anything to do with my career – but I’m over that now. I’m still struggling to get that first contract for publication, but I’m not giving up. I have stories that need editing, others that just need to find a home and many many more that are waiting their turn in front of the computer.
Looking back, I think that I’ve made a good life of it so far. The next “some number of years” is promising to be even better.
Happy Birthday to me.