My mother keeps waiting for me to grow up.
She’s been waiting a long time, and, sad to say, me growing up isn’t going to happen anytime soon. You see, most, if not all of my family, define growing up as choosing one thing to do in life and settling in to do that thing.
Just shoot me now.
If that is growing up, then Peter Pan is going to get a sidekick.
For my entire existence (up until last week) I’ve thought there was something wrong with me, something immature, something missing that made me somehow defective. But, last week everything changed.
Now, I would like to share with you that I am addicted to TED talks. Fifteen-minute snippets from the best and the brightest—what’s not to love. And last week someone close to me sent me the link to a TED talk under the subject line, “this is so you.” Who could resist?
Well, was he ever right. The talk is by a young woman named Emilie Wapnick—a very insightful young woman. She proposes that there are two distinct personalities when it comes to life and work and all of that. The first is the person who knows their calling, they become a master at it, and they settle in to do it the rest of their lives.
My mother would say they are the grown-ups. Frankly, the thought makes me hyperventilate.
The second type of person, I call her the bright-shiny-red-object person, sees something that interests her, and studies that things like madly until she’s mastered it. Then she gets bored. So, she pokes her head out of the hole, and…you guessed it…goes off in search of the next bright shiny object, where she repeats the cycle.
So, I’ve been a bartender, a waitress, an accountant, a business owner, a pilot, a tax lawyer, among other things. Guess which group I fall into?
And, according to Ms. Wapnick, there are others like me.
And now I have an answer for my aunt when she asks me why I quit being a lawyer.
I didn’t quit… I finished.
So now I find myself imminently unemployable :). After all, there isn’t much demand for perpetual students. Or is there?
That’s where writing comes in. It is, in fact, the perfect profession for someone like me. I can study all kinds of different things, then write stories either about them or set in that world. It’s PERFECT! I’m FREE. I’m ME!
I was wallowing in my luck until someone said to me, “You know, Deb, to make it in the writing business, you’ve got to pick one genre and just run with it. Don’t write anything else.”
Ten years ago I would’ve had a meltdown. Oh, God, they expect writers to be grown-ups, too.
But no meltdown—not today. Today, I spit in her eye (not really, but I do love a colorful cliché) and said, “Just watch me.”
So, once again, flying in the face of conventional wisdom, I find myself with a funny romantic mystery series set in Vegas, a character-driven romance set in the wine world of Napa County, an upcoming thriller with a female helicopter pilot set in the gulf of Mexico in the contentious world of Big Oil, and another thriller with a cutting edge medico/psychological twist.
Just letting the stories take me where they want me to go.
That’s the adventure of it.
So, as readers, will you follow a peripatetic writer if you like her voice and storytelling style, or do you like the one genre idea?
P.S. Here’s the TED talk on being a multipotentialite. It’s a brilliant way to spend fifteen minutes.