Monday, October 30, 2006
I remember as a teenager and young adult in Iowa the fascination New York City held for me. I don't recall ever wanting to move to Los Angeles, or anywhere west for that matter, but longed to move to the East Coast. I'm not sure why I was so intrigued by New York City, but there was something about it--at least as I had conjured the city to be in my mind--that seemed to draw me there.
When I was about nineteen, I had the chance to move to NYC as a mother's helper. Not exactly the glamorous job I had envisioned, but I thought that once I moved there, I'd be able to find that glamorous job an begin to live the life I had long imagined. Long story short--I didn't go. Instead, I went to junior college, then college, and finally graduate school in Syracuse, New York. Then began a series of jobs, not a one of them glamorous and none in NYC. I did get to go there, and it was as exciting as I had dreamed it would be.
Then things changed. Somewhere I began to want different things. The bright lights and potential glamour of the Big Apple waned. Instead, I dreamed of a Jessica Fletcher-type life in a small town in Maine. Or living and working in Portland Head Lighthouse in Maine. Though I plead for anonymity, there is an increasing part of me that wants to be part of something. I think I'd like living in a really small town where people would know who I am. Of course, they could think of me as that strange woman with all those cats. But--they'd know who I am. If I could make enough money writing or editing, I think I'd go for it. It wouldn't have to be in Maine, just a small town somewhere.
This change in dreams and attitudes has also manifested itself in my writing. When I was a child and early in my writing career, I wanted to write that hugely successful novel that would become an Academy Award-winning film starring the "big name" of the moment. Now, I'm happier writing nonfiction, but I still have dreams. I want to write nonfiction that will make people look at a subject differently, with more curiousity and more understanding. I want to make a difference.