by Susan Sey
It’s 1994. I’m twenty-one years old, student teaching 9th grade English. In the four months I’ve been on the job, Tonya Harding has put out a hit on Nancy Kerrigan’s knee & Kurt Cobain’s committed suicide. It’s a pretty accurate barometer of how my pursuit of a teaching certificate is going, actually. But since my dad has recently informed me I can’t be a camp counselor forever, I feel compelled to augment my imminent English degree with an actual skill set. Hence the teaching certificate.
My cooperating teacher is napping behind a barricade of books on his desk. I am three inches shorter & twenty pounds lighter than my smallest student, a fact that has not gone unnoticed. Kids are actually singing & dancing in the aisles. I have completely lost control of my class, which is bad enough. But then something in my head snaps—what the hell am I doing spending my senior year of college in high school??—and I lose control of myself, too.
At the top of my surprisingly formidable camp counselor lungs, I bellow, “STOP!”
There is an instant of shocked silence. I find this immensely gratifying & am about to perform a hostile take over of my own class when somebody gets there first. Two beats into my hard-won silence, a girl yells, “Hammer time! Doot, doot, doot-doot…”
(It’s a song, for those of you too young to get the joke. MC Hammer? See, there were these crazy pants, too, & this little dance he did, and...okay, never mind. You'll have to trust me on this. It was a big thing.)
Anyway, the class about injures itself laughing—admittedly, her comic timing is exquisite—and there goes my brief flirtation with efficacy.
Okay. So. Not a teacher. Sorry, Dad.
And why am I telling you this story?
Because I got invited to my 20 high school reunion this week.
Because in my high school year book, I predicted that by now I'd be living on my own private island with an iguana named Issaac writing best-selling novels. (I have a husband, two kids & a house in the suburbs, in case you were wondering how that worked out for me.)
Because while my dad didn't specifically include writing romance novels in the "camp counseling is not a career" talk, I understood it came under the same heading.
Because after thirteen years of trying other things, I sat down & started writing anyway.
Because after five years of writing, I sold a book.
Because after two years of waiting, that book--Money, Honey--is finally going to hit the shelves.
In exactly one week.
Ladies (and gentlemen, I know you're out there), today I am here to testify. If yesterday's post didn't convince you (and congrats again, Suz), maybe today's will tip the balance.
Dreams aren't impossible. Only improbable. And this is coming from a woman whose toddlers used to blurt out, "Rejection letters!" every time they saw a mailbox.
Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs, people. But you kiss the right one?
Worth it. Totally worth it.
So what about you? Have you ever dreamed the impossible dream? Longed for something so outlandish you didn't really allow yourself to hope for it? (I include Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, & a tremendous singing voice on my list, so don't be shy.) Did you ever pursue it? Even a little? How did that work out for you?