Can one turn a facility for a good turn of phrase into a writing career? I hope so.
By the time I was in seventh grade, I thought of myself as a writer. “You can write better than that,” I remember my twelfth grade teacher saying when I expressed admiration after hearing a college student read a piece of original writing. Another teacher was disappointed when she couldn’t find me in time to ask my permission to copy a regents essay before she had to turn it in.
I continued to write over the years but didn’t really give it my full attention. I believed I needed to find something to support myself instead of studying writing. I took my Liberal Arts degree and went on to a state college. I studied English… Education. I had no intention of becoming an English teacher but I knew librarians did a lot of teaching and I thought being a school librarian would be a good profession for me. I loved books and I wanted to bring that love to young people.
One of the first classes I took was in research skills where I was required to write an annotated bibliography but I didn’t understand what was wanted so I wrote book blurbs, making them as interesting as I could. When my paper was returned, there was a note at the top saying that the teacher hadn’t been able to find them, but she was sure that I hadn’t written them. I was shocked. Plagiarism was a serious accusation. I took my writing portfolio and went to see her. She ended up enthusiastically telling me how to find grants and fellowships to write. I thanked her but didn’t take it seriously. I didn’t have time to take off work or school and go off to write!
I continued working my way through my Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree. I wrote when I had spare time between college, work and starting a family. I managed to draft a middle grade mystery, write several short stories and essays, and start several other novels that I would still like to finish. Now I wonder – if not now, when? I want to write!
This past week I’ve been listening to an interview of Joseph Campbell recorded back in the 1990’s. He explains that the hero is always fully qualified for the journey he is undertaking though he may not, and often doesn’t, realize this. Sounds like someone I know. Are we the heroes of our own journey? I hope so. Life would be darned boring otherwise.