Today was slightly less productive than yesterday, but somehow I feel like I’ve done more. The day has felt longer, which is nice. Because sometimes, on these summer days (since I can’t get a real job, due to all the time off I’d need, and oh yeah! the moving thing), there are times when I feel like the day just flew by. Like I just got out of bed and then I’m going to sleep.
Anyway, today didn’t feel like that. I got a lot of walking in, actually- or, I thought I had, but now that I look at my steps counter, it doesn’t seem so spectacular. Bummer. Oh well. Somehow, I don’t feel like I just got up. Moving on!
Got caught up on a lot of my correspondences, sending emails to people I should have emailed months ago, and I did Lesson 5 of Swiss German, which was good though confusing! ^_^ At least now I know how to say “Take a right, then a left.” when giving directions. Didn’t do any writing, though I did reread Chapter 2 (which I mentioned earlier) and did some minor editing before shipping it out to this round’s trial readers. Thanks again guys (whether you’ve read it or not)! I know everyone’s really busy, but it makes me feel more sturdy on my rough-draft feet.
Probably the most productive thing I did today was to go through a huge bag stuffed with all my 5th grade papers. My mom hauled it down from the attic. I’ve gone through almost five or six of these bags (from various grades) over this summer, so I wasn’t terribly excited about going through yet another one.
However, I found some interesting stuff. Besides old plays and stories I’d written (or started), I found the pop-up book I made, along with the lyrics for the Mr. Dendrite song (from our Nervous System project), besides a bunch of other stuff. I did find two things that I think hold more importance than I realized at the time. One is a self-evaluation form. On it, they ask what I thought were my biggest weaknesses in school that I needed to work on. I wrote: Math. Definitely math. Because I want to be an astronomer. The other is a print I made in art class (you know those hard rubber blocks you had to carve into in order to create a pattern?) that has a star, a planet, and a moon, and these three words: “Need a PH.D.”
I don’t know why, but somehow seeing those two things made me kind of sad. I remember, long ago, wanting to be an astronomer, and realizing to my great distress that to be an astronomer meant I had to be good at math. I hated math. I don’t remember why, exactly, because I wasn’t horrible at math. I just wasn’t great at it. And I remember trying really hard to like math because I loved outer space and planets and stars, but I could never quite get it to agree with me. It was always a battle, and it frustrated me constantly. At some point before leaving elementary school, I know I gave up my goal of being an astronomer. I consciously remember a sinking feeling of dread when I realized that I would have to love math to do well enough to be an astronomer, and I remember thinking something like, “well, that’s it, then.”
And then I looked at myself now and I can’t help but wonder if that 5th grade me would be at all pleased with the way I turned out. I’m certainly not an astronomer, but I’m a much more serious writer than I used to be. Even back then, I was passionate about writing; 5th grade was the year I went to my first writer’s conference with my teacher and a few other students. I met Lois Lowery there, and thought she was very scary, though I think the poor lady probably just had a terrible cold. Anyway–5th grade was also the year I won my first writing competition ever, even if it was only between three classes. 5th grade was the start of my more serious thoughts toward a career in fiction writing, and simultaneously the year I gave up wanting to be an astronomer. I guess I just worry sometimes that I only gave up the astronomy thing because I was lazy. I am a lazy person; it’s something I have to really fight against. I half wonder, upon meeting my little 5th grade self, what she would think if I were to tell her that she wouldn’t be an astronomer.
I still love outer space and planets and stars. I’m an adult now, but I still feel that 5th grade me inside, fascinated by space, but also by castles and dragons and wild magic. Strangely, after thinking about all this, wondering if I could or should have turned out differently, I think I’m in just the right place. Storytelling is something I have been doing since before I could write. Back then, my mother wrote down the stories I narrated to her. No matter what hobbies have overshadowed writing at various points in my life, I have always come back to writing. I’m a lot better than I used to be, though I’ve still got a lot of work to do and a lot of progress left to make. Maybe my 5th grade self would be pleased that her college-graduate self, her almost-married self, ends up being a writer of SF and fantasy. It certainly does capture all of my interests, doesn’t it?
Yep, thinking back to who I was then, I think I’d have been thrilled to know that in the future, I’d be seriously pursuing a career as an author. It just may mean that I need to ramp up my research on space/planets/stars, a subject I am still very passionate about–though I’m not knee-deep in the math of it, so that I can write killer YA science fiction. ^_- (and some fun fantasy stories too!)