In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Futures Past.”
‘As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?’
Well, I still think I am a kid and wonder what I’ll be when I grow up, but I am now a lot closer to being grown up than I was a few years ago.
Since year 8 I’ve wanted to be involved in the editing/publishing/journalism/writing world – really anything that I can do relating to words and that I can get paid for (no desire to be a starving artist here). This all stems from one year 8 English project when I had to write a story over the holidays. My story was nothing spectacular, it’s about an engagement that goes wrong because the husband-to-be is sleeping with the woman’s boss. Not exactly what anyone else was writing about in my class, but maybe that’s why my teacher liked it so much, I was doing something different. I was told I was good at something – sure, I did well in pretty much every subject, but this was different, I was good at something that didn’t have a textbook for guidance, when I wrote that story it was one of the first things that was all mine, that had come from me and me alone. As I’ve gotten older my stories have developed in style and vocabulary, but they’re still all mine, with my voice and piece of my life scattered in them, little whispers of reality beneath the imaginary. I don’t know if I could stand being a writer though; I want people to read my stuff but I don’t want to know about it, and to make money as a writer you have to sell your work, deal with editors and publishers, and have people review your work. That’s a little bit too scary for me to think about right now. Which is why I think the editing/publishing route would be better, at least then it’s not my stories people are reading.
Before all of that though, I wanted to be an ambulance driver (I wanted to play the siren, that was all I wanted to do, literally drive and be responsible for the siren, I had no desire to be a paramedic), a fireman (yes, fireMAN, I was too young to realize that I would be a fireWOMAN, besides, all I wanted to do was live above the fire station, slide down the pole and drive a fire engine around town – I was a kid that wanted nothing more than to drive, clearly, but I never had the urge to be a race car driver, I somehow missed the one job that would have allowed me to do nothing but drive) and vet (I’ve had a lot of pets and when I was younger vets made them better, of course, vets can also be the ones to put animals to sleep, which quickly turned me off the job. Although, I didn’t plan on being a domestic animal vet, I saw myself in some African country, treating wild animals, being a world renowned specialist and having a pet cheetah. This later developed into me wanting to be a zoologist like Dian Fossey). There were probably a few fairy princess phases in there as well, and maybe even a desire to be one of Santa’s Elves, I also distinctly remember tying a skipping rope around my waist and wearing my dress-up cat ears, desperate to be a cat…
I might not save someone’s life or help an animal back into the wild, but literature can save a part of you that you don’t even know needs saving, novels can teach you things no tutor can and words can make you understand something you didn’t know you needed to. It might not be a heroic calling like a firefighter or paramedic, but I think, sometimes, it might be just as important.