Then I realized that the past, mine in particular, has uniquely shaped me for the career I want to claim. My writing career is largely shaped by what I've overcome, learned, and will continue to learn. I used to think if only I had not been sent on wild and crazy detours due to life, the circumstances I had to escape, and the education I had to delay.
Not anymore. I may not have an advanced university degree with all sorts of letters behind it, but I have something of equal or even greater value. I have a PhD in overcoming obstacles. Big ones for me, not so big for others.
And I'm so grateful for the lessons and emotions and experiences I've had because they shape the characters of my stories. And for kicks and giggles I've included my three favorite shots from eons ago. I feel they show all my sides and I just love the dress.
Here is a quick rundown:
*born in the Netherlands to two people who survived Japanese Concentration camps in the 1940s. Neither of them were equipped to parent but they did the best they could.
*Canadian National Science Fair 3rd Place at 13 with project about Pattern Recognition
*figure skater for 8 years, alto sax player/second chair
*grew up in Northern mining town & experienced daily bouts of bullying because I "used big words"
*semi-photographic memory, advanced reader, IQ high but never revealed to me by parents due their own feelings of inadequacy
*"bad girl" in high school long before I did anything "bad"
*smoker, back of the bleachers party girl, skipped school and forged my teachers' signatures on attendance sheets
*ran a mini-crime ring in forging teacher's names for other "bad" kids--got caught
*spent 10th grade English in VPs office due to arguing a test question with teacher and winning my point
*on my own at 16 due to difficult home life
*high school dropout
*worked in daycare, arena concession stand to make ends meet
*worked in diner
*waitress, gas jockey, maid
*drove without a license
*ice fished, snowmobiled, cross country skied
*got my GED, learned how to sign for deaf/blind people in hope of going to college for free as interpreter
*lived in Northern Manitoba, Winnipeg, Vancouver
|Taken at the top of the Sears Tower in Vancouver. So serious.|
*wrote poetry, loads and loads of it
*once wanted to be a foreign journalist
*once wanted to marry the Man from Atlantis--wrote an entire series about it long before fan fiction existed on the Internet
*read John Steinback, the Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings when I was in the 4th grade, reread them all later
*read Ginsberg, Kerouac and wished I'd been born in time to be a Beatnik
*kissed a French boy along the banks of the Seine when I was 13
*kissed a Physicist along the banks of the Seine when I was 30
*married young, grew up with the Physicist, made a beautiful baby
*traveled to Europe, ridden the Fast Train, been weighed on a witch's scale and deemed not a witch
*the Teen and the Physicist believe I am strangely psychic--my dreams are often prophetic
*I fly in my dreams. I want to fly in reality.
*I'm terrified of fire, drowning, death
*I almost drowned on my first anniversary--the Physicist saved me
*I was threatened by a bully with a lighter in the 9th grade. She wanted to burn my hair off my head. She had accomplices. I kicked her and ran away. She grew up and had a terrible life. I grew up and have a great life. Bad Karma is a bitch.
*I almost died 3 times due to anaphylaxis
*I never wear a watch, but I have an uncanny awareness of time.
*the Physicist married me before I had a college degree. He didn't know I could cook, but I can and I do it well.
|I love this shot. Very dreamy/|
*I never taught.
*I've worked in radio and television
*I was a part-time model--I was the Sunshine Girl of West Vancouver
*I have camped in the Redwood forest and in the Dordogne
*when I make up my mind to do something, I just do it. If it becomes boring or routine I stop.
*writing is the only thing that doesn't bore me
*my paternal grandfather was a biologist for the World Health Organization as well as a practicing doctor
*I got an A in pre-med genetics. Only 2 people got As
*I have an uncanny ability to diagnose diseases and illnesses
*I'm more serious than people think I am
*I'm more playful than people think I am
*I don't trust easily, but I am very trustworthy. If you tell me to keep a secret, I will. There are secrets I will die keeping
*I believe in many truths. My main belief is do unto others as you would have done unto you. I have broken this rule as a young woman. And I've seen others break it now. I wait for karma to act.
*I know what it is like to lose someone you love
*I live here in the now, but I am not afraid to sift through the past for there is where real emotion, raw gritty emotion exists, the kind that can strengthen my stories and my characters
*I play to win. Failure is NOT an option.
|I like how playful and free I look here. It's how I feel today.|
*never mistake my desire to be kind as a weakness--never
*I was once a dreamy, intellectual little girl who read big books and said big words because the mind was valued in our home
*I was almost drowned in snow banks for being that little intellectual girl. I know what it is like to feel cold snow melting on your skin while you're desperately gasping for air and there is no one, no one to help you.
*A boy in the second grade used to chase me and punch me in the stomach daily. I put my book underneath my jacket and he punched me and broke his hand.
*I learned to be a "dumb blonde"
*When I was in university, if you came up to me after a test, I could give you all the questions on the test verbatim as well as my answers.
*I worked as a night aide for a lady with Parkinsons disease. She told me her love story every time I came to sit with her. When I got engaged, she gave me her silver gravy boat which she had received for her wedding over 50 years earlier. I still have that gravy boat.
*I'm a dreamer, but I'm practical and serious. I believe in myself, but I also believe only hard work and tenacity will get me to where I want to go. But I WILL BECOME WHAT I WILL BECOME!!
If I, a person who started with so little could come so far and find such joy and a wealth of opportunities, then I'm proof that anyone with a little luck, some tenacity and brains, can succeed.
Follow your hearts, mine your pasts, become who you will become.