I first said I wanted to be a writer when I was five years old. I was in kindergarten and Madame Ouellette (I went to French Immersion kindergarten) had just asked a group of us what we would like to be when we grew up. Fireman. Nurse. Teacher. Then it was my turn. I remember thinking that being a fireman might be fun—I’d get to ride on a big truck with flashing lights and train Dalmatians—but what actually came out of my mouth was, “I wanna write and illustrate books.”
To this day, I’m not entirely sure where those words came from. I liked books, but I wasn’t yet a voracious reader (that would kick in sometime during the fourth grade). My parents didn’t know any writers. I’d never seen Robert Munsch do a public reading.
Still, those words were the ones that came out of my mouth—like my little four-year old self had some sort of direct line to the future.
And I clung to those words for a long time.
Through all of elementary school and junior high and the bulk of high school. I was going to be a writer.
And then reality set in. The odds set in. The pessimism and fear set in.
And so I put the dream in a trunk. I decided that I would probably never make it as a writer and to do the practical thing and study graphic design—since art seemed to be the only other area where aptitude matched interest.
Years later, I started a blog about body image and pop-culture. I built a decent following. I got comments (sometimes lots of comments). And every once in awhile, I’d get a comment from someone who assumed I was a professional writer. And even though I always took pains to correct them, I was secretly really pleased.
Now this entire time—through art school and my career—I had always been daydreaming stories and getting snippets of ideas—I just hadn’t been writing any of them down. One day, I wrote a couple of paragraphs based around this idea I’d had in high school and never quite forgotten. When I sent them to my then-boyfriend (who I’d never told about my childhood ambition), he asked if I’d gotten a new Neil Gaiman book.
And that’s when I took the dream out of the trunk.
Kathleen Peacock is a semi-reformed vampire addict and unapologetic geek who has taken to writing about werewolves. Her debut, HEMLOCK, will be published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, in Summer 2012. Visit her website at www.kathleenpeacock.com.