I wanted to be a lot of things when I was young: a vet, a gymnast, astronaut, Olympian. I even had a phase when I was trying to be a park ranger out west.
I might have been infatuated with the idea of living in a cabin in the woods and getting one of those Smokey the Bear hats.
(I might still be in love with that idea, hat included)
However, I don’t recall a time when I was going around telling people I wanted to be a writer. Writing was just something I always did. It was like the latent baseball stats some men seemed to have from birth. (How do they know all that stuff? Where does it come from?) Words were always in the background. I have journals filled with pages of writing in my scrubby childhood hand. I remember sitting on rocks by a stream or a log in the woods and watching the way sunlight moved and the shadows leaves made.
I took in sensory details like I was writing them in a notebook.
At some point, it became obvious. I should write! Of course it took a few more years before I actually put my butt in a chair with a notebook. And maybe five more years before I sent any of my precious words out in to the Big Bad Public Eye…
a.k.a. Magazine Editors.
But send them out, I did. A few rejection letters came.
Then someone said yes.
I was with one of my best friends when it happened. I read the email and started flummoxing about, crying, trying to talk and not make sense... He thought someone had died.
Instead, I was about embark on a career that the ten year old me, on a log in the woods, wouldn’t have imagined.
Today, when I tell people I’m a writer, the response is a wholesome mix of awe, respect and wonder at how I can support myself, forgo regular paychecks, insurance and the ability to plan a cool vacation that involves a balcony overlooking the beach instead of a friends couch.
To be honest, I have all the same responses everyone else does. Especially the frustration at planning awesome vacations.
On a daily basis.
But damn, the girl in my memory… the one on the log? She thinks this whole writer thing is pretty cool. She’s the only one I wanted to impress anyway.