Saturday, June 25, 2011

To Follow Knowledge Like a Sinking Star...

By Kerry Schafer

"And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought."
(Tennyson, Ulysses)

What are you going to be when you grow up?

Good question. I haven't decided on the answer yet. My long suffering husband asked me this, when I enrolled in grad school to become a therapist. My answer?

As many things as possible.

I still think this is a good response, and very true. I have filled a lot of different roles in my life, some for fun and some for profit. I'd like to try out a few more. I have a distinct sympathy for Tennyson's Ulysses, who despaired at the idea that all of his adventures were over:

"How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rest unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little..."

Some of the things I have been:
  • lumber piler
  • housewife
  • registered nurse
  • secretary
  • substitute teacher
  • case manager
  • counselor
  • crisis worker
What's next? Well, the jury is out on that one. If somebody would only pay me, I might opt for professional student, but the lottery tickets I buy stubbornly refuse to be worth the paper they are printed on, and I have no rich relatives waiting to die and leave me a fortune.

I do have plans to begin an RN refresher course in the immediate future, and have been mulling the idea of adding a nurse practitioner designation to my repertoire. That would be a long, hard slog though - and all long hard slogs take time away from writing.

Ah, yes. Writing.

The one thing that has followed me through all of my different phases of being. In fact, as I look back on what I've written here I'm realizing something.

I have not answered the question that I asked. All of this blog post has been about something entirely different, an answer to THIS question:

What do you want to DO when you grow up?

The answer to the first question, the real question - what do you want to BE - is different.

I want to be a writer, of course, and a writer I am already. I was a writer when I wrote that very first little poem about the wild roses in spring. (we will NOT be discussing whether I've always been a good writer.) All through grade school and high school and everything that came after, I have been a writer. Not being a writer would be as inconceivable to me as the idea of sitting around waiting to die was to Ulysses.

Will I be able to make a career out of writing? Only the writing gods know the answer to that one. I'd like that, of course. I would love for the BEING and the DOING to join forces and create a writing based career.

There are things I can do to increase the probability of that happening. I don't know what happens next, only that somewhere in the middle of whatever it is, I will be making stories out of it and putting words on the page.


  1. "As many things as possible."

    That is a great answer to the inescapable question. Bravo!

  2. Looking forward to the future - can't wait to see where the adventure takes you next. :-)