My First Scary Thing
When I was five years old my family lived in Montreal, Canada. I rode the bus to school every day--my mom walked me to the bus stop every morning and met me there every afternoon. One day, I got on the bus, she said, "I'll see you after school." Somehow, I thought that meant my dentist appointment was that day and she would be picking me up at school. When school got out, I told the bus driver my mom was picking me up and, after much cajoling, he left without me. My mom, of course, never showed up. (My appointment was the next day.) After waiting a while I decided (at five years old, mind you) that I needed to walk home. Several miles away. Across the busiest intersection in Montreal. Finally, as it started to rain, I asked a young woman at a bus stop how far it was to my street. When she realized how far from home I was, she took me home with her and called my parents. Needless to say, I do not recommend taking this kind of risk--if for no other reason than it makes your parents a little overprotective for then next twenty-five years.
Other Scary Things
- When I was 17, I graduated high school in Springfield, Missouri (about as Midwest-ville as you can get) and started college in New York City. I met amazing people for other cultures and countries and realized just how broad the spectrum of the world really is.
- Halfway through my sophomore year at said college, I decided to give up my Ivy League education and transfer to the University of Colorado. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. I grew more emotionally and socially as a person in Colorado than at any other time in my life.
- For my graduate program (at the same aforementioned NYC university) we had to do a summer internship. The one I landed was being site manager for an historic dude ranch in Rocky Mountain National Park. My housing was an on-site cabin that had been built in the 50s. It had electricity and hot water, but no phone and my cell service was spotty at best. There was one other couple in another cabin, but other than that the nearest people were at the visitor's center ten miles away. It was just me, 1" of June snowfall, a Hanta-virus toting mouse population, and a valley full of elk and moose. You learn a lot about yourself in that kind of solitude.
- During that graduate program, my thesis adviser said something that changed my life forever. "Tera," he said, "you are a very effective writer." I'm sure he meant in the academic writing world kind of way, but those words gave me the courage to believe that writing really could be my (forgive the dramatics) destiny. From that tiny seed of courage, I set about learning as much as I could about the writing profession and industry and, eventually, sent my stuff out. I think letting others read something as personal and emotional as your writing is a huge risk--but oh so worth it.
At the end of the summer I'm moving back to my beloved Colorado. That's it, that's the extent of my plan. I have no day job lined up, no close friends or family in the area, I haven't even decided where exactly I'm going to settle down. But I know that Colorado is my home--a place of inspirational beauty--and that writing is my path. So, I'm jumping in there, with every desperate intention of making writing my full time life. It may be a little bumpy along the way... but I bet it's worth it in the end.
So, question of the day is: What scary things have you done? And did the rewards outweigh the fear?
Growing Up Godly, Summer 2008
Dutton Children's Books
what I'm reading ... Two For the Dough by Janet Evanovich (yes, still!)