It occurred to me this morning, that I'm right back to the first career I ever dreamed of as a kid.
It's a frosty 37° Pacific Northwest morning and I'm bundled up with a blanket daringly draped over my legs and the rolling heater. I’m sitting at my Pottery-Barn-by-way-of-Craigslist desk. The pup is in her rightful place, on her bed to my left. The cat is at my right and huddled up against the heater. Out one window I can see Lake Washington, and out the other (on a clearer day) I can see Mount Rainier.
Coffee's in a deep blue, clay mug--a remnant from my past life in Monterey. It rests on a tin coaster featuring a vintage Corona beer girl, a souvenir from my backpacking trip through the Yucatan. They’re accompanied by a pair of plum knit finger-less gloves, my pocket knife, phone, and all the usual office accouterments. In front of me is an antique globe of the moon that belonged to my grandfather, that for whatever reason, I can’t bring myself to dust. Beside it sits a jar containing a colorful collection of sea glass from my travels, a ceramic armadillo lamp, and a petite glass full of sand stolen from Australia. If I look up, I see my maiden name. A cubicle nameplate from my years as an education program writer hangs on the wall, reminding me of my roots and first content gig. Around it, there’s a black-and-white picture with the hubs, and some of favorite artists: a painting of a vampire squid by my college best friend who is also a scientific illustrator, an abstract tropical fish painted by my sister in middle school, and a bright watercolor unicorn painted by my husband years before we met. There is also a large comic featuring a girl and her sea monster by a Portland artist, a vibrant low-brow painting of a woman and narwhals gifted by my high school best friend, and a framed scarf featuring a number of Australian butterflies.
I am surrounded by nature, artistic inspiration, and furry, unconditional love. Some of my most treasured keepsakes energize and focus me. It is the best possible workspace. I am in the middle of a script for work, but stopped to write this because maybe I'm not as focused as I just claimed.
I first wanted to be a writer circa second grade. Mrs. Nicholas, a tall, tan white woman with braces and the most perfect side-part, fostered my love of reading. She gave me special assignments to take with me to Pakistan during a month-long visit with my family, where we traveled for my favorite uncle's wedding. I felt so honored that his beautiful bride let me have a sleepover party with her the night before the festivities, had my hands covered in mehndi, ran around my grandparents' palatial estate with all my cousins, and attended the glamorous affair covered in mosquito bites. When we returned, I wrote my first book, lovingly bound in a red report folder by my mom. It was a travelogue called The Trip to Pakistan. Staring cats. Just cats. They made for far more interesting characters and were less daunting to illustrate than people. I stand by my choice.
I remember writing it and thinking: None of the kids in my class are going to get this, but I don't care...I can’t say that my ideology has changed much.
Back to work, I go.
Keep on keeping on,