Growing Up

Me at age 7. I am really going places! (Photo by my dad, Bob Braithwaite)

It seems that whenever I read an author bio or interview, I find out that the author knew from a very young age that he or she wanted to be a writer. I could say the same thing, I guess, but it would be pretty misleading.

I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be a writer. That’s true. But I also knew at a very young age that I wanted to be an architect, an artist, an explorer, an Olympic gold medalist (preferrably in gymnastics or figure skating), a second-grade teacher, and definitely a pediatrician.

One of the lines I’ve read recently that had a great impact on me was this one from Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close:

“…sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”

When I first read that line, I had to catch my breath because I felt those words so deeply. There is so much that I want to do. Okay, I’ve given up my dreams of Olympic glory, but I still want to do almost all of the things I wanted to do as a child. I want to be the person that creates a beautiful, safe home and works of art and charts new territory and teaches kids really cool new things and fixes them when they’re hurt. There’s not a single one of those dreams that I’m ready to give up on.
 
And that, I think, is why I’ve realized in the last few years that what I want most of all is to be a writer. And why, specifically, I want to write for children. To build and explore exciting worlds for them and with them, to create something beautiful and truly original, to teach them brand new things and discover new things alongside them. To help them heal, and to fix at least a little piece of what’s not right in their lives.
 
Someday, when I’m all grown up, I hope to say that I’ve done all those things. That I lived out all those dreams because I knew, at a not-so-young age, that what I really wanted was to be a writer.

3 thoughts on “Growing Up

  1. There are so many things we each want to do. I think as we get older and realize it's not all possible we start refining what is most important to us and focusing on those goals.

    We were watching the Olympics once as a teenager and out of the blue my mother said, “I just realized I'll never have a chance to compete in the olympics as a figure skater.” At the time I thought “Duh, anyone could have told you that.” Only now am I beginning to understand exactly what she meant.

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  2. I don't plan on growing up 🙂

    I think that I always wanted to be a writer too, but it took me a long time to admit it to myself. It finally hit me that I really wanted to write when, thinking about not writing, I felt sick to my stomach. I'm chasing but dang life and its hurdles 🙂

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  3. I came over here to thank you ladies for your wonderful & helpful critique comments on my query over on QQQE. this post immediately caught my eye – because I DIDN'T know I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be everything else as well, and it wasn't until very recently that I wanted to write to give life to all the dreams I wasn't living out. Exactly this: “To build and explore exciting worlds for [readers] and with [readers], to create something beautiful and truly original, to teach them brand new things and discover new things alongside them. To help them heal, and to fix at least a little piece of what's not right in their lives.” Bingo. Beautiful. Thank you!

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