Hats

I don’t remember much. Often if I don’t write something down I will forget it. My room is covered in old lists that say things like “do laundry” and “buy Dad a birthday gift” and “you have a job, don’t forget to go to work”.

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In spite of my horrible memory, I distinctly remember my kindergarten graduation. In the classroom, before we got in line and marched two-by-two to the gymnasium, we had to pick a hat to wear during the ceremony. We were to choose between police hats, doctor’s head mirrors, cowboy (or girl) hats, fireman hats, princess crowns, etc. The headwear was symbolic of our futures, of course. Of the great destinies we had ahead of us.

When it was my turn to choose a hat, I chose the princess crown. Even if a writer hat existed, I inevitably still would have chosen the princess crown.

I’d like to imagine that five-year-old me was standing there contemplating the choices my peers made as we congregated in the classroom, wearing these new identifiers.

Does Sarah like the doctor’s head mirror or is that what her parents want to see her wearing?

Does Emily really think she can pull off the police officer thing? I saw her steal that extra cookie at snack time.

Does Luke actually want to be a firefighter or was that just what that was left?

I wasn’t. I think I was probably standing in front of a mirror, admiring the sparkly crown on my head. Past me wasn’t as astute and observant as her present counterpart.

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I hope that at some point during the short walk to the gymnasium, I at least asked one person why they chose the hat they did. Did Michael love Westerns so much that the cowboy hat just called to him? And if so, does he own a ranch in Texas now? Or is he out in Hollywood producing Westerns with the memory of that cowboy hat still weighing heavy on his head? Has he forgotten that moment entirely and lives his life without harping on insignificant memories from childhood? Likely.

To me, being a princess meant moats and castles. It meant dragons and unicorns. It meant happily ever afters and magic. It meant that I was incredibly naive but also that my imagination was flourishing.

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In some ways, that princess crown was my writer’s hat.

One arbitrary choice made at the age of five does not define me. But, it is a part of who I am.

If you had asked me at 5, 10, 15, 20, or 23 what my life would have looked like at 25, I most certainly would not tell you something remotely close to the life I lead now. But, you would see it. It’s there. It was in that princess crown I chose. It was in every subsequent book I read. It was in every horrible essay I wrote for school and in every time I picked up a pen and unleashed my imagination.

You may see a princess crown but I see a writer’s hat.

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I Lied.

My intention upon finishing my last post (when I declared that I was finished writing my thesis but that it was the start of a longterm novel project) was to actually keep writing.  I said I was going to do it and I really thought I was going to keep writing. I lied. I haven’t written anything.

I hate lying. I’m the kind of person that though I’m twenty-four years old, when my Dad calls to check in and asks “How was your weekend? Did you have fun?” I respond, “It was fine. Nothing exciting to report. Well…I went out. I may have had something to drink. Okay I had three beers but I promise I was responsible! I’m sorry! I swear did all my homework!” To which my dad says, “Oh, okay. Well, I’m glad you had fun.” No, but really, I’m unnecessarily honest sometimes.

So every day that has gone by since my last post and I haven’t written anything, I feel like I have been living a lie and it makes me anxious that this lie is so public.

I’m sure you’re all thinking, “Well, just because you haven’t written anything in a week in a half doesn’t necessarily mean that you lied.”

But I have a confession: I’m not sure I want to keep writing.

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Whaaaaaat?

Okay, calm down. I don’t mean I want to stop writing forever but I don’t know what I want to write anymore. A little history on my life as a writer: I’ve always written young adult or middle grade. It’s always been fiction and almost always fantasy. It wasn’t something I ever gave a second thought to. Somewhere along the way I neglected to make the transition to “real” books in both the books I read and was trying to write. But lately I’ve been wondering what I’ve been missing by living in my children’s literature bubble. Between these blog posts and a few creative nonfiction classes I’ve taken in my college career, I’ve gotten a taste of a different kind of writing. And I think I like it.

I feel stuck in the crossroads between this direction I’ve always been heading in and the potential for something else I’m starting to feel passionate about. Maybe I try something new? Maybe I stick with what I know? Maybe I do both? Gasp!

So who knows what I’ll write next. I think maybe I’ll start with trying to read some different book–books outside of my comfort zone. We’ll see where that takes me. I just maybe won’t make more promises I don’t know if I can keep. 😉