Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Graduation Day Then and Now
I graduated from high school 20(!) years ago this month. That's me on Graduation Day! It's crazy to think about, especially considering I write YA. I am 20-25 years older than the characters I am writing about and I love every minute of it.
I had no idea what I would be on High School Graduation Day. I knew I would be going to college: Syracuse University, but that was it. When I entered my major was undecided. The reason why? Because what I wanted to be didn't seem like something I could admit.
I wanted to be a writer. I had always wanted to be a writer. I just didn't know how to tell people that when they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. It seemed too crazy to even dream for. Too hard to accomplish. Too far from anything I had ever done.
Until I was 23 years old the longest thing I'd written was twenty pages, maybe even less. How did people become writers? How did they tell other people they wanted to be them?
In my High School yearbook when I was asked where I wanted to be in ten years I said, "I hope to write novels that connect people from all places and times." I was drunk when I wrote it, but there was a truth there. "I hope to write novels."
Interesting that I didn't say "I will..." because unlike other professions I had no idea if I would ever achieve it.
I guess I'm here to say that dreams do come true. That the person you want to be, is the person you'll become if you just keep going.
And learning to be a writer? I have my MFA in Fiction, but being a writer isn't something I've learned. It's something I've practiced. It's something I've made myself. It's all about the hard work I put in and even if ten years from now, I'm no longer publishing. No one can take that away.