Saturday, May 28, 2011

You are you!

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..." Dr. Seuss

ROBERTA: Having sat through two family graduations in the past week, I've got aspirations on the brain. My sister and I were talking about what we remember wanting to become back when we were kids. She has very distinct memories of wanting to be a park ranger, and later on, a veterinarian. (Instead, she's a nature writer and environmental activist.) I can't recall having a clear passion as a kid--other than doing really well in school. (Nerd City, I know.) Never in a million years would I have predicted becoming either a psychologist or a writer--though they both kind of make sense looking back.

How about you all--how early did you "know what you know?"

ROSEMARY: I still don't know what I want to be.

HALLIE: I always knew what I wanted to be. A torch singer. Slinky black dress, dark eyes, deep soulful alto. I was under-endowed in more ways than one.

JULIA: I can recall donning my turtleneck and pleated plaid miniskirt to play stewardess when I was ten years old. That was my first career ambition, fueled by Pan Am flights and sneaking my mom's copy of COFFEE, TEA, OR ME? Then when I was twelve, I read the first few James Herriot novels, and was determined to be a vet. That lasted until I cracked open F. Lee Bailey's FOR THE DEFENSE. That made me want to be a lawyer (which I eventually did after side trips into acting, museum curatorship, and fund-raising.) The only careers I wanted to pursue were things I read about in books. That was probably a tip-off right there.

ROBERTA: Well, okay, torch singer, me too Hallie. In fact my father always hoped one of his daughters would end up singing on a piano, like Edith Piaf. Zero for three:).

ROSEMARY: That's it...I want to be a torch singer, too. I want to do everything Hallie and Roberta do. Do you all know that Donald Bain, the author of 37 Murder She Wrote books also wrote COFFEE, TEA or ME?

JAN: This is how boring I am. I decided I wanted to be writer in first grade -- which, when you think of it, is when you learn to write. So I picked pretty much the first thing that came up and stuck with it. Having been in my junior high school musicals, and I later toyed with the idea of being a an actress and singer - but -- even before People Magazine, knew I didn't want to lead that kind of exciting life. (That's how boring I am.)

HANK: Oh, gosh. Me, too. I used to practice singing "WHy dont you Come along with me, down the Mississippi...". Oh, and Stormy Weather. Very big on Stormy Weather. (Very small on singing talent.)
I wanted to be a stewardess, too! What cool job.
My goals, after stewardess: disc jockey, geneticist,Shakespeare teacher, actress, lawyer for the mine workers, political activist. Reporter. Ooh, reporter was good. Very good. That seemed to take. At age---25? And now...

DEB: Oh, gosh, what did I want to be, other than English? Just about everything imaginable except a writer . . . I always loved reading but only discovered I liked writing as a teenager. Julia, I wanted to be a vet, too--I was SO smitten with James Herriott (actually got to meet him and get books signed!) And I wanted to be an Oxford don, like CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Then a female jockey (influenced by Dick Francis, anyone?) And an historian. Um, and a geologist. And an archeologist. And an oceanologist. Just about anything with an "ist." No surprise that my undergrad degree was in biology and I wanted to be a field biologist. I later thought about writing a mystery series about a female park ranger, but someone beat me to it :-)

ROSEMARY: I love that you wanted to be English.

HALLIE: Oooh, great question - what would you want to be other than American? French. Definitely French. Can those women knot scarves or what?

ROBERTA: Me too, French! Deb, you are almost English, aren't you? How about you, JR readers? Who did you want to be?


  1. I always wanted one of those research/science jobs where you walk around in the wilderness all day looking for stuff -- rocks, fossils, new flowers, something hard to find. I swear 100 years ago I would have a gold prospector. Even now I want a big magnet on a stick so I can join the cast of METEORITE MEN.

  2. Hi - Even before James Herrit I wanted to be a vet. I became a nurse! I have been reading since age two, but never wanted to write, except poetry which I do for me.
    Thank you all for writing so I can keep reading! Dee

  3. Oh, absolutely, French. And then, hey, not only could I look great all the time, I could speak French!

    Things I NEVER wanted to be: a nurse. (Even after I read and loved the Cherry Ames books). A doctor. A vet.

    I wanted to be a chemist (What do they do, anyway?) until I took chemistry and was BAFFLED.

  4. Deb should remember that I also only wanted to be English -- thus the "Ann Oxford". Well, that is until I read "Trinity," by Leon Uris. Then I took the Irish side for quite a while. But mostly I wanted to be a ballerina, almost all the way through sophomore at university. By then it was interior decorator, artist, artist, artist. (Which I still am.) I'm sure there were times when I wanted to be a writer. I was first to start a "newspaper" in grade school; wrote it and passed it around the room in third grade. Our teacher was wise enough to let us continue, but with Xeroxed copies for all.

  5. Me too on Cherry Ames Hank! I had a brief period of wanting to be a doctor until a guidance counselor discouraged me--and then I ran into chemistry and physics. Made it through but not with flying colors. Had to buy product from some of my co-students for the second experiment after mine burst into flames.

    thanks for reading Dee! And Jack, we can see you as a prospector...Ann, good for you for sticking with your passion!

  6. I still want to be English or Scottish. I'll settle for Scottish.

    Archeologist - Blame Indiana Jones for that one or my sixth grade teacher's Egyptian vacation photos.

    Vet - UNTIL I helped my friend take her psycho cat to the vet.

    Architect - I would steal my dad's graph paper and draw my future house plans. For my birthday one year, my husband gave me a computer program for house design because he remembered I did that as a kid.

    Writer - I written stuff since I was a kid. The only thing I have stuck with.

    My five year old son wants to be an astronaut and live in space.

  7. French, definitely. Not just because of the scarves. The food, the language. Except the men. Never date a French man -- take it from me.

    Jersey jack -- Those wilderness jobs look awesome. But where do you sign up?

    I must be the only one who never wanted to be a vet. Although, I think being a dog groomer might be okay.

  8. I never wanted to be a vet either. Lets see, I wanted to be a cowboy first, then a jet pilot, a rock singer, a sewing teacher. Later a wife, mother and grandmother.

    I started as a cashier, then a car hop, then an engineering clerk (where I met Hubby), back to a cashier. Did the wife, mother thing and became a camp director, a janitor in a school, a life guard and pool fitness instructor, then a writer for pay (I'd written all through grammar and high school), worked the 2000 Census and became a law clerk. I ended up teaching fiction writing at the local college which is pretty funny since I did end up teacher, just a different subject. Along the way I became a grandmotherand retired from the college. My goal now is to get a story published in Woman's World magazine. So far I'm stacking up the rejection slips.

  9. I wanted to be a champion ball-bouncer. Of course, I didn't know there were no championships for ball bouncing, but I kept practicing.

    Then we got a blackboard and I spent so much time drawing pictures, I decided to be an artist.

    Finally, I decided to be a secretary like my favorite aunt. Which, eventually, I was.

    Strangely, although I started writing my first book (completely unfinished) as a child, I never planned on being a writer until I was a non-working (hah, hah!) mother of five children.

  10. Pat, you get a prize for job variety! Woman's World--that is such a hard market to crack. Seems like 800 word romance or mystery should be easy peasy, but it's not! I'm resting from it--will keep fingers crossed for you.

    Norma--and you, good luck on finishing that book!! it was meant to be...

  11. If I had to change my job at this point, I'd definitely want to be a librarian. In a small town library, like the one I volunteer at. I can't figure out why that never occurred to me when I was young!

    As to different nationalities, I wouldn't be English or French (although I love visiting both countries.) I'd be Feline. I don't care how pampered you are, no one has it as good as a beloved house cat.

  12. I wanted to be an artist and a teacher from second grade on. I wasn't able to really learn to paint until college, but I became an Art Teacher. My other real interest was in running a store, so after 9 years of teaching I decided to teach art in my own art studio/store!! How boring is that, still doing that except for now I have my own 1100 sq. ft. studio in our walkout basement. Blessed and spoiled!

  13. I always wanted to be a writer. I just never imagined I'd end up an instructional designer writing custom training courses for corporate clients. I should have fantasized more about fiction writing. ;-)

  14. I gave that book to my freshly minted college-graduate son last week! And then he read it aloud to us after dinner that same night.

    Weird. I have no memory of what I planned to be. I know I wanted to look exactly like the teenager down the street (and didn't, ultimately). I liked to write and my mother told me at about age 8 that I was good at it. So I've been making a living at writing the rest of my life, in one way or another (journalism, academia, editing, writing technical manuals). I've even made a tiny bit of money on short fiction! Now to get that book published...


  15. Hey, Missy - I did that for years! Instructional design is so satisfying: creating clarity out of chaos. I sent the pages of my first (and BTW unpublished) novel surreptitiously to the printer when I was working at Digital.

    (Edith, we already knew we were kindred spirits.)

  16. I wanted to be a cowgirl.

    But I lived in a mill town in New England, which made acquiring the necessary skills a challenge. So like Jan, I decided early on to become a writer. Fiction, plays, poetry, journalism. As long as it involved writing, I could see myself doing it.

    I wrote for newspapers until I was in my late twenties and loved it, then took a detour into law school for practical reasons (i.e. making enough money to live.)

    I enjoy my law practice, but it feels great to be back writing fiction.

    I never imagined living in another country, but I did yearn to live out West because then it would have been possible to become a cowgirl.

    Brenda Buchanan