“You’ve known the answer to that question since elementary school.”
– Maureen Taylor
(The next question I’m tackling in my Oprah inspired series: 20 Questions Every Woman Should Ask Themselves is this: What Do I Really Want to Do All Day?)
Tap, tap, tap, delete, stare, type, delete, tap, stare, type, keep typing, delete… ping! return. For those of you younger than 25, the ping, return is the sound a typewriter makes (which I’ve used purely for theatrical purposes since I don’t write with a typewriter anymore). But, nevertheless friends, this is what I get to do all day – write – and according to career coach, Maureen Taylor, I’ve known I wanted to do it since the second grade.
And she’d be correct. My first book, both written and illustrated by yours truly as a 7-year-old, was about a rabbit that found a magic hat. It was very Peter Rabbit meets Frosty the Snowman. The details of the story are vague in my memory (a castle, some magic, the rabbit eventually losing the hat) but the feeling of writing this thing, completing it, and showing it to an audience (my mother) is very clear; there was nothing better. I went on to write crappy, angsty poetry in middle school. All about love. All about Joe Gallo. In high school, when friends were choosing courses like Home Economics or Ceramics for “easy As” I signed up for Creative Writing 101… and 102. I was a slave to words. So of course when I decided my major in college, I chose the road of English or Journalism. Actually, I didn’t. I chose Communications in Mass Media. cricket. cricket. What?! Yeah, that was my mom’s reaction too. It wasn’t that far off, I guess, kinda close. But if you asked me what 2+3 was and I said 4, close wouldn’t cut it.
After that point, I lost writing. I barely wrote in college; I certainly didn’t scribe a thing once I graduated. (Nor did I do use my Communications in Mass Media degree either.) I graduated and worked at a salon (that I loved), as a waitress (and made money), and as a customer service representative (where I was comfortable) until I had driven so far away from where I was supposed to be heading that I just had to stop dead in my tracks and pop a u-turn. (Apparently, choosing that major landed me way further of course than I expected.) I applied to a teaching program, got my certificate in English (and SpEd), and this time drove in, at least, the right direction.
My first Christmas break as a teacher, I spent in the library, writing a story I would enter in a competition for a website called Wanderlust & Lipstick. Hours would pass and I wouldn’t notice. I’d arrive home on dark, cold evenings in December and feel alive, excited to do it again tomorrow. I swore that when I started school again the following week, I would make the time to feed my soul, to write, now that I was reminded of how much it was a part of me and as soon as school began, I veered off course…again.
I’ll fast forward through the gritty details. Teaching began to hunker me down like an elephant strapped to my ankles. No matter how good my work and how well-behaved my students, life was pushing me out of the classroom as life will sometimes do when you aren’t following your real calling. And this time, I listened. I finally made the decision that my 7-year-old self had known with ease and simplicity: I wanted to write. About a rabbit. About anything. About everything.
And now, this is what I do all day. I write. And you know who I write for… Wanderlust & Lipstick (among others). And finally, I understand that the rabbit’s hat was actually never magical at all. The hat was just a prop, a crutch that made the rabbit believe in what he had inside him all along. It was the rabbit who was magical. It was the rabbit all along.
What do YOU want to do all day?
In April’s 2014 issue of O Magazine was a feature titled 20 Questions Every Woman Should Ask Themselves. I’ve decided to ask myself these questions and give a sincere try in answering them. This is question 5 of 20: What Do I Really Want to Do All Day?