Tuesday, February 07, 2006

When I grow up...

"When I grow up, I want to be..." Do you remember what it was? A doctor? An astronaut? A veterinarian? Truth be told, my list included an olympic gold medalist, a neuroscientist (not kidding), a lawyer or... a marine biologist -- who writes books (of course). And what was stopping us from becoming any of those things? As far as we were concerned, we could do anything, be anyone we wanted, right? Until we got our first credit card (mine was at 14) and realized we'd need something to help pay the bills, put food on the table... something a little more practical.

Growing up with the "mouth I had on me" as my father called it (referring to the fact that I never shut up), I was always told I'd be a politician. I didn't quite know what that was, but from the way my dad said it I knew that it was something bad. Given my tendency to always try to make him see the other side in every argument (for which I was always called "contrary") he eventually declared that "this kid" was gonna be a lawyer. I don't know how much that influenced the path I chose, given he was not in my life much when I was making these decisions, but it was not before long that I was mailing out my law school applications, ready to take on the world. Until I came to Washington D.C. in the Summer of 2001. Much in the way Jimmy Stewart's character in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" did, I fell in love with this place and knew it was where I belonged.

For 2 years, I've been working in government/public policy here in our nation's Capitol. I have the privelege to say that I work for the most influential Conservative thinktank in the country. As my workload increases and my tasks become more demanding, I only feel more empowered and proud to work here. Though this is a non-profit organization (which believe me, means there is no profit to be made), it has been the most fulfilling job experience I've ever had. Yet still, I can't brush aside my childish dreams and give up on going to law school entirely. Eventually, I'm sure I will, whether this year or next. But what about all those other dreams?

While I'm sure that in the physical state I'm in now I won't be winning (or competing for) any Olympic gold medals anytime soon, and that I won't be using my political science degree to operate on anyone's brains (I hope!), I still have always kept that desire of being a writer. Yes, my job has given me the opportunity to do a good deal of writing on environmental, energy and regulatory policy, but there is still that creative side of me that I've struggled to maintain while working in the policy world. Today, those childhood dreams came true for me.

This morning I got a call from an old professor of mine writing to let me know that he selected a play I wrote in college to be in his upcoming book - a sequel to "From the Heart of Brooklyn" (my hometown). I recall the play "The Interlude" vaguely, if only because I still can recall how my heart pounded when he stopped me after class and asked me to stay and perform it with him for his advanced class. I was so excited. In my thick Brooklyn accent, I shouted out the lines from where I sat. "Angelo what are you tawking about?" My professor put down his page more than a few times to wipe his eyebrow and laugh. He told the class that I was a promising playwright and I remember it striking me so funny because in all the writing that I'd published at that time (mostly poems and short stories -- and none in novels of any kind), none of them were plays. It's funny... how sometimes you forget your dreams, but they don't forget you.

I'm glad I had a big imagination as a kid. I'm glad to know that just because I chose one path doesn't mean it's the only path. There's still so much possibility. That goes for you too, you know...

15 comments:

green said...

So did you actually apply to the law school?

That is so cool that the prof thought enough about your play to include it in his book. Hopefully he will give you some credit in the book for it.

I too love the Washington DC area. Every time I visit I fall in love with the place all over again. I think it would be cool to live there.
Speaking of dreams, I actually finally got around to applying to my grad school. Hope I get accepted. Check out my blog post for today (which I'm writing & editing).

Hope all is well for you and M.

Nunzia said...

Thanks. Yes, I did apply but I'm not sure if I'll defer or not if they accept me. Thankfully there's time! And yeah... My name will be in the book so that's pretty cool :) it's certianly a start!

elmo said...

yeah that list is derived from what i've been dreaming of in a man and got that wish came true in my man...hehehehe!

wow that sounds great! being called up after years n opportunity knocks. u should write a book too! thank God for childhood dreams!

martie said...

Congratulations on having a play published in Prof. book. Our dreams as children sometimes do come true so hang in there regarding becoming a lawyer too!

Kristi said...

Good for you. I'm sure you will reach your dreams to become both a lawyer and a writer. You go, girl!

Corry said...

Proven once more how God works in mysterious ways:-)

God's Grace.

Sycorax said...

I didn't realize that our childhoods were so much alike. I was always told to be a politician. I was always told that I could covince someone that a line 'this' long, was longer than a line 'that' long! LOL! Although, at that age, I didn't realize how unscruplous they were!

I always wanted to do something involved with advanced science, or archeology.

Hamel said...

What a great memory, performing your own play. That's more than most playrights ever get, never mind the laughter of the professor .. .

Great story. If only all of us kept dreaming.

audrey` said...

I'm so proud of you, Nan.
To God be the glory!

Matthew said...

Congratulations! That must be quite exciting.

I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. It sounds as though you have a great job, but I think lawschool would be a good route to take, even if you don't want to practice law.

Floyd's Lists said...

Floyd recalls, as a young lad, telling his parents: "someday, Floyd would like to write an obscure blog". Wow, dreams really do come true...

Nightcrawler said...

Congrats and good luck! Hopefully, this will open up some doors that you never knew existed!

Pia said...

congratulations, nunzia. you can reach your dreams. just believe it. so proud of you!

Damian said...

Having an achievement like that is really great, it's your fifteen minutes of fame in a book that will be around for a long time. I hope this is a positive encouragement for you and that anything is possible even if you don't see the outcome just yet.


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audrey` said...

Happy Valentine's Day Nan!
Jesus loves you very much.