Monday, May 28, 2012

if at first i don't succeed...

Once upon a time, I thought I wanted to write books. It was my senior year of college, and I had decided that two months before graduating, I no longer wanted to do the only thing my astronomically expensive education had prepared me to do. Instead, I was going to be a famous author.

My baby cousin (who actually is a really good writer), took me under her wing. She read every word I emailed to her and never failed to respond with any less enthusiasm than that one time my Grandma Dottie told me that I could totally open a breakfast-only restaurant because my scrambled eggs were by far the best scrambled eggs she had ever tasted in her life. I was delighted. Maybe I had failed at becoming a teacher, but there was no doubt in my mind that I'd be the next JK Rowling.

I spent my last semester of college writing my very first book. My cousin doted over it and told me how we were certainly both going to be spectacularly famous, despite the fact that (in retrospect) my book was complete hogwash. Soon after that book was rejected by every agent under the sun, I started writing my next book, and what-do-ya-know, it was actually kind of okay. Not publishable, but a good idea with some charming (if not fully developed) characters. Unfortunately, no agent wanted that one either. I'm officially the worst person in the world at handling failure, so I quit writing books and inexplicably decided to go back to the other thing at which I had previously failed: teaching.

This blog is basically an account of how I thought I'd make an awful teacher yet instead came to discover it's the thing that makes me happiest (this blog is also about how I think I'm Asian). These days, I spend my free time dreaming up what rules my classroom is going to have in the fall, and I'm stoked about the enormous amount of post-it notes I have in my immediate future. Friends, I diagram sentences for fun. I used to teach my kindergarteners big words just because I like hearing "facetious" as often as possible. I don't know that there's any other career that would make me as complete as teaching.


I've been reading a lot lately. Multiple books a week. And I'm starting to miss day-dreaming about seeing my name on the NYT Bestsellers List. I miss having characters acting out a story in my head, and I miss jotting down every silly phrase just in case it can somehow become dialogue. I miss finishing a chapter and reading it and thinking, "this is mine."

Sara's been not-so-subtly hinting lately that I should dust off my old story lines and see where those characters want to go. She's in the process of rewriting a series she worked on for nearly a decade because she's decided that the effort of tearing it apart and starting over will be worth it. She casually mentions every chance she gets how much she misses my characters, and it's making me miss them too.

As I said before, I'm not good at failure. I was never good at sports because I sucked the very first time, and I never wanted to try again to get better. I bombed one day of student teaching, so I quit being a teacher. I didn't get published right away, so I quit being a writer. Thankfully, I gave teaching a second try and almost exploded with how much I loved it... perhaps it's time to give writing another chance.