What did you want to be when you grew up?

April 27, 2010


I wanted to be a writer. Who didn???t? Who doesn???t? From childhood, I had visions of writing novels for a living. That, or raising horses. The two interests dovetailed one time only. The only novel I have ever finished was a short one about intrigue on a Thoroughbred farm, completed when I was about thirteen. When I discovered the author Dick Francis around the same time and my mother hesitantly let me buy one of his books, I thought I was in heaven. Unfortunately, my writing career did not parallel his.

As late as my seventh year in college, I still sort of thought that the writing thing might come together.??

I had an eight-year effort in getting my bachelor???s degree. My parents both zipped through in four years and were horrified when I dropped out two and a half weeks into my first semester, and not much longer into my second semester. Then I tried it out at a couple of technical/vocational colleges in the area before returning to the university for a couple of more or less successful years, if you were judging by the fact that I actually completed semesters.

I got the bee in my bonnet that I wanted to live in Minneapolis and so decided that the easiest way to accomplish that would be to transfer schools and move into the dorm. Nothing to it. But it soon became apparent that I???d have to graduated eventually and thus would have to choose a major.

What all did I pass by on the way? Communications, music, computer programming, journalism, graphic design, and a few that I???m forgetting. I eventually settled on English as my major, just English. I never had any desire to teach but I needed to pick something. I was good at reading. I???d worry about the rest of it later.

I did graduate but found that without the journalism or communications angle, there were no writing jobs. So I went back to school and ended up getting a commercial art degree from yet another technical college, and thus began my graphic design career.

I guess I lucked out, because at my current position we do most of our work for book publishers, and one of those publishers put us in charge of everything about a new imprint they created. That meant we were responsible not only for the graphic design and production of those books, but also for finding the authors. It happened that I and a couple of other people were interested in writing, and thus began my writing career.

I am not writing novels. I am writing supplemental materials for beginning readers, as in, five??? to eight-year-olds. I have to my credit such scintillating titles as It???s K, The Jelly Bean Machine, and It???s a Baby Gazelle! It gets fun when I both write and design a series (the books are always in series of at least six).

I backed into being a writer and I guess I shouldn???t knock it; I have technically achieved my desire to be an author. How many people can say that they???re immortalized in the U.S. Library of Congress? I can!

One Response to “What did you want to be when you grew up?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    That’s pretty damn cool.

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