“Follow your passions.” That’s the advice that we so often get about writing. Write what you love.
So I look at the things that I love and I think … maybe. The list includes:
Textiles/knitting – Color and textures mesmerize me even if my skill level is so-so.
Science – biology, rocks, animals. I love it all.
History/Archaeology – I especially love what I call “fringe history,” the stuff that not everyone knows because it isn’t mainstream. Let’s just say that I was into diversity before it had a name.
Then this week I read a blog post by Karlin Gray who wrote a nonfiction picture book about one of her childhood passions — Nadia Comaneci. Gray was an Olympics crazed kid who loved gymnastics although it wasn’t something in which she excelled. She wrote Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still, and it is out in time for not only the current games but Comaneci’s perfect 10.
Gray came up with her topic after thinking about the things she loved as a five year-old. So what would be on my five-year-old list?
Fabric and thread. My mother and grandmother loved to sew. Mom made wedding dresses and suits. My grandmother did embroidery. She and I embroidered a quilt together.
Horses and, by extension, other large animals including cattle. Horses were my first love. I learned to ride when I was about 6 or 7 and so short that my legs stuck out and I had no hope of reaching the stirrups. This wasn’t a pony but a Tennessee Walker with a ruined mouth who couldn’t feel any of my signals on the reins. He would notice when I started to slide off sideways, walk to the fence or the barn wall and let me push myself back up.
Fort Davis. One set of grandparents lived in Alpine, Texas and I loved visiting this fronteir fort. I also loved visiting Cahokia Mounds, Ft. Bellefontaine and every other site I ever saw. I saw the cell where Geronimo was held at Fort Pickens. I spent the better part of an afternoon figuring out how I would have broken him out.
Hmm. Maybe just maybe the things that I loved as a child have fed into the things that I love know as an adult and there really and truly are stories to be had…