In many ways, you could say I have My Dream Job right now. As a self-published author of science fiction romance, I do something I love as a vocation. My work has produced four mainstream novels (and one short story) of which I am proud, all of which have won recognition from my peers in some way. I have a voice, a platform, and a (very) modest following on social media. I set my own schedule and make my own creative and marketing decisions (for better or worse!). I’m not bad to work for, either, compared to some other bosses I’ve had.
Although I’ve been writing stories since I could hold the big pencil, I haven’t always wanted to be a writer for a living. As a kid, when I wasn’t dreaming of running like Jim Thorpe or using sign language like Helen Keller (two of my childhood heroes), I was telling everyone I wanted to grow up to be an Egyptologist. Not just an archaeologist, mind you, but one that specializes in the ancient treasures of Egypt. I was a weird kid.
By middle school, my teachers were pushing me in the direction of using what was clearly a talent for writing. But no one was starry-eyed enough to think fiction should be my weapon of choice, least of all me. I saved the Beatles (and, later, STAR TREK) fan fiction for my spare time and focused on essays for school contests and journalism as a career goal. My Dream Job by the time I graduated from high school was Foreign Correspondent, or maybe Ace Cub Reporter for a decent-sized urban newspaper.
As I planned for the right college course to land that Dream Job, I got a great piece of advice from a reporter at the Nashville Tennessean, my hometown daily newspaper, then edited by the legendary John Siegenthaler. That reporter (whose name I don’t remember) told me no one could teach me how to write—I either had it or I didn’t. But I needed to know all the other stuff about how the world works—history, government, philosophy, science. He advised me to get a broad liberal arts degree and soak up all the job experience I could in journalism. So I went for an International Relations degree, worked for my school newspaper and radio, and interned at a major religious publishing house in Nashville.
By the time I graduated in 1975, though, everyone wanted to be Woodward and Bernstein. Jobs in media were hard to get, and, in fact, I never did succeed at snagging one. I’ve often thought that was a blessing in disguise, in this time that has seen the greatest disruption of the news media since the years preceding World War II. At least I’m not scrambling to keep my newspaper job now!
Instead my “Dream Job” just kept getting redefined over the years. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer, then Peace Corps staff. A freelance editor and writer. An organic farmer. A stay-at-home mom. A community activist. A karate instructor. A taiji instructor. A wannabe romance writer. And, finally, an honest-to-God published author. At times, I’ve been all these things at once. I’ve been thankful, very often, for that reporter’s advice. My liberal arts education gave me flexibility!
I love my regular (author) job, though I could wish for the cursed Amazon Algorithm to stop throwing up outdated editions of my books when I search for my titles. And it would be great to actually get paid. Still, I have another Dream Job that hangs just out of reach. If someone would pay me to review movies for a living, now, that would be the Dream Job of all Dream Jobs. I get to do some of that here on Spacefreighters, but I’d love to have a blog dedicated just to film reviews. Or a podcast! What about a podcast?
Well, a girl can dream.
NOTE: I'll be taking a break with family for the Thanksgiving holiday next week. See you all in two weeks!