by Julie, who thought about turning the heat on this past weekend!
I’m delighted to welcome Ginger Bolton back to the blog! Ginger has a new book–BEYOND A REASONABLE DONUT came out May 25. She was also inspired by our “8” conversations last month–specifically about being eight years old.
THE QUESTION THEY ALWAYS ASKED
by Ginger Bolton
Do adults still ask this nearly every time they see a small relative? “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
By second grade, I had heard it many times.
What did I know besides my hazy idea of what the adults I knew were doing when they were grown up?
Kids were (and are) kept busy with various forms of the arts. I had tried a few of them, so that’s what I knew about. Well, more or less . . ..
My so-called tap-dancing on the tile hearth in the living room, while satisfyingly clattering, was not something I pictured myself doing as a grownup.
The music teacher did not invite me to join the second grade chorus. I was devastated. I begged for, and received, piano lessons. That didn’t work well.
My worst grades were due to my inability to color within the lines.
Aha. Finally, we were getting closer to something I could, I thought, do. At the end of the year, I was given a minor part in a play put on in the high school’s cavernous gymnasium for the entire school plus our extended families. I had two lines to speak! And I spoke them. I was told afterward that no one could hear me.
I had learned to print and spell (well, mostly.) That meant I could do something that I thought was really fun—write. I started with a poem that I proudly passed around to the aunts and uncles at a family gathering. They laughed. I had meant the poem to be serious. It was about my kitten. I did not have a kitten and did not know much about kittens. Or about anything else. I thought the aunts and uncles laughed because I had used the contraction for “he will,” and they mistook “he’ll” for “hell.” Years later I realized that the line that amused them was “Then he’ll have kittens.”
However, the Big Thing that happened in second grade was finding out that books didn’t just appear. People wrote them. They put their pencils down on the paper and painstakingly drew each letter and spelled each word and created these wondrous worlds for other people, like me for instance, to enjoy. I discarded my previous career ambitions. I no longer aimed to be a cowgirl or astronaut. The aunts and uncles laughed at my desire to write books. Long after they were gone, I did it.
What were some of your earliest dream careers?
Ginger Bolton writes the Deputy Donut mysteries—coffee, donuts, cops, danger, and one curious cat. As Janet Bolin, Ginger wrote the Agatha-nominated Threadville Mysteries—murder and mayhem in a village of crafty shops.
BEYOND A REASONABLE DONUT came out May 25, and DECK THE DONUTS comes out October 26.
I wanted to be a lawyer like Perry Mason, that is until someone said I would be in school far longer than 4 years of college.
Ha! I know the feeling!
A teacher! My English teacher was my idol, and I wanted to be just like her. Outgrew that and instead had a career in state and federal government. I took tap dancing lessons too, hoped to be the next Shirley Temple lol! Congrats on your new books, they sound like a fun read!
Thank you, Kathy. My second grade teacher was wonderful, but she left halfway through the year. A betrayal!!!
As a youngster I thought I wanted to be a nurse or a teacher. Both would have been a disaster if I had followed that train of thought. As for nursing, I have always been easy to out cold faint, sometimes with no reason for it at all. Plus I don’t do well with others bleeding or hurting. I’ve had many major surgeries and I’m fine as long as it’s me and not someone else. Shoot when our daughter had oral surgery and the dentist brought us in to show and tell what he had done, it was me that ended up in recovery while my Mom stayed with Jenet in the dentist chair! As for teaching, well it took years of maturity to learn at least a small part of what is known as patience much less being the sweet wild mannered type person with a great deal of patience that a teacher needs to be.
Congratulations on the recent release! I’m dying to read it.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
Thank you, Kay. I might have managed nursing, but at the first sight of a roomful of students, I would have run screaming from the school.
Congratulations, Ginger, and that has to be one of the best titles, ever! When I was little I wanted to be a teenager. Seriously lame. Even though I wrote from an early age, and then had several careers involving writing of different kinds, it never occurred to me to want to be a Writer until I was over forty.
Thank you, Edith. Congratulations on achieving one of your goals by the tender age of thirteen! I worked with numbers in office jobs, and although I did some writing as part of that, I wanted to write fiction.
I’m not sure of all the things I thought I wanted to grow up to be but I do remember that I wanted to be the starting point guard for the Boston Celtics.
As I tried to say before, that was a very specific goal. But not surprising.
At first, I wanted to be a doctor. Then I rethought that and decided I’d never get through the heavy math. EVER! I dropped that ambition down to then becoming a nurse. Guess what? They still have heavy math courses to get through! So— no. I became an EMT and returned to college. I majored in English with a minor in Psych and I was chasing my elementary ed certificate too. I was 30, a Mom and housewife, and one busy chick! I never did get to teach full time, health got in the way. I’d love to become published, but at the moment, I’m a very scared duck, so I just read a lot and I’ve started to faithfully review the books I read. I guess that’s my creative writing outlet.
That was very specific!
The specific comment was meant for Jay. Lucky thing I didn’t have a career goal of commenting on blogs .
Tracy, you really were busy! Keep writing! It’s scary, but can writers help writing?
I also wanted to be a lawyer, then I discovered all those dramatic court room scenes in fiction were pretty much that – fiction. A lot of lawyering is paperwork.
Congrats on the new book.
Thank you, Liz. Paperwork and searching through dusty old tomes, or are they all digital now?
I’m not positive, but I bet there’s still a lot of dusty old tomes.
Congrats on the new book!
What is it about second grade? That year ignited my ambition to be a writer – along with reading Little Women. Then I wanted to be a writer and Jo March. I still remember the start of my first poem – Pop, Pop, Pop, here comes a cop. Yep, I was destined to be a mystery writer!
Thank you, Kait. Yes, you started out writing crime fiction!
I wanted to be a writer or a ballet dancer based on the books I read. I’m glad one of them worked out!
Ballet dancers’ costumes are enough to make any little girl swoon. I’m glad you’re a writer, too.
I wanted to be a secretary and I took the right classes in high school and college with ambitions of working at Digital Equipment Corp. I started as a temp there and worked my way up to the secretary to the 2nd in command of our division. I eventually was layed off and became the executive secretary for the Housing Authority in MA. I didn’t know a single software program but if anyone showed me how to do it then I was all set.
Another specific goal. Good for you for adapting. DEC laid lots of people (and, finally, everyone?) off, as I recall.
I love that line, Kait!
Ginger, what a delightful post! I always wanted to be a writer. I wrote a story in the second grade from a writing prompt comprised of a Marlboro man ad ripped from a magazine and taped to the chalkboard at the front of the classroom. I cast the man astride the horse as a thief. Crime novels seemed destined!
I do, too, but I fear it’s going to run through my head all day. All month, maybe . . .
Thank you, Jessie. The Marlboro man as a thief–I love it. And it started you on the right path!
Welcome back to the blog, Ginger! When I was in second grade I wanted to be a writer–so that worked out–in the most random-walk circuitous way ever.
I’m glad you made it to writing, Barbara.
Thank you for being on the blog today! Iove this conversation. I remember saying I wanted to be a lawyer maybe just to try and impress. I didn’t pursue the arts at that age, which is ironic since that’s where I’ve made my career since. Congregations on the new book!
Thank you for inviting me to this great blog, Julie. How wonderful that you made the arts your career earlier than (ahem) I did.
I have always wanted to be a librarian. Helping others find a book to read is such a joy. Turning children onto reading was my mission in life. And, it was so much FUN!
Judy, librarians are wonderful! And I can imagine it being fun.
Congrats on your book! I wanted to be a teacher in second grade. So excited to read this book!!!
Thank you! I would have thought you were very brave in second grade.
My mother wanted me to be a nurse. When I decided that wasn’t what I wanted, nothing else was acceptable. After spending a lot of time researching different careers, I decided the best choice was to be a physical therapist. My parents nixed that for a couple of non-PC reasons too horrible to go into. As it turned out, it would have been perfect for me and I would have made a lot of money. I worked all my life, but never truly had a career. I became well educated and did a lot of fascinating things. I’ve had a great life.
You must have a lot of stories to tell. . . .
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