When I was in third grade, I wrote an A++ essay about Leonard daVinci. My teacher, Mrs. Sweet, invited me to come to a night school class in which she was enrolled so I could dazzle her peers with my powerful insights about the artist/inventor/Renaissance man. In my memory, she had a reaction to my brilliant writing similar to this one. (No doubt the real reason she brought me to her class was because she had to do some sort of presentation about curriculum design or writing instruction, and I was a well-behaved guinea pig. I like my mis-remembered version better.)
I dreamed of being a writer then. Books were my safe place, refuge from the confusing world around me and portal to a thousand other better worlds. They told me I wasn’t alone, and promised me a future my own present circumstances never could.
Other vocational plans layered themselves on top of the writing dream during my teens: I imagined I’d be a history major, then a special ed teacher, or perhaps a sign language interpreter. All the while, I was writing – journaling, helping my husband write papers, putting together bits for the church newsletter. An invitation by a friend to try writing some radio scripts swept my other half-realized plans aside for good. I spent my 20’s and 30’s changing diapers and teaching my kids to read while writing plays, skits, occasional articles, kids stories for a Sunday School publisher, curriculum reviews for a home school magazine, and PR bits for chiropractors and art galleries. Tiny checks for some of my writing efforts were like breadcrumbs on the path showing me the way forward. I didn’t know where I was going, but I was glad to follow the One coaxing me forward.
He was at work in all of it: the little girl who lived in her books, the teen who loved history, teaching, and making language come alive; the adult who never wanted to tell the people who paid me $50 here, $100 there for my writing that I would have done almost every bit of it for free. [Read more]