Living my Childhood Dream

I’ve wanted to pursue many careers over the years – concert pianist, President of the United States, actress, professor, and librarian. I actually did teach at the college-level for several years, but never became a full-fledged professor.

However, my first answer at six-years-old to the immortal question “What do you want to be when you grow up” was “a writer like Laura Ingalls Wilder”. I got the idea in my head that only rarefied talents could be successful writers and that successful meant “rich and famous”, so I only sporadically attempted to write seriously over the years. Keep in mind that this was before the Internet broke down the barriers between aspiring writers and the audience waiting for their words.

I never took a writing class. I tested out of the two required to graduate from a public university in Texas and actively avoided others, due to a terror of criticism. I discovered a talent for academic writing and decided that was the right path for me. Hence, the Masters degree in English that now graces the wall of the office/guest room in our house. I thought the well-defined rules of academic writing provided a framework in which to display my talent. I failed to notice that I was actually using them as a way to hide, until the walls of the prison I created were closing in so tight I could barely breathe.

The horrible anguish of my nervous breakdown ended up releasing me from that prison. I couldn’t bear the idea of entering a Ph.D program. I knew I needed a fresh start and I somehow just knew it was in Austin. A circuitous path through the Information Studies program at UT-Austin, a position as teller at Regions Bank, a receptionist/office assistant at Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association, and adjunct faculty in the English department at Austin Community College finally led me back to my first dream. I am finally able to say “I am a writer”. I always have been a writer. I can’t promise that I will never run from it or simply let it go for awhile again. But I will always come back to the words, because I am never more fully myself than when I send parts of my soul to the world through them.

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