In Which I Try to Reconcile My Love of Children’s Books and General Discomfort Around Children

A truth about me:

I’m terrified of children.

There, I said it.

I often feel like I don’t have a nurturing/mothering bone in my body. When handed dolls as a toddler, I’d often throw them aside and pick up a stuffed animal instead.

“But Corrie,” you say, “Why are you trying to write a children’s book if you don’t even like kids?”

Another truth about me: in spite of the fact that I don’t particularly like being around kids and really can’t see myself having any (possibly ever), I really liked being one.

I remember the rush of having a wild imagination. I remember pretending that our pine tree island in the middle of our front yard was my forest home. Most of all, I remember spending nearly all of my time before kindergarten started reading children’s books. As soon as I could pick up a pencil and make something out of it, I started drawing books that resembled what I spent so much time reading.

I made up stories about dinosaurs getting dressed up to go run errands. I made up stories about where the moon goes when you can’t see it anymore. I made up weird, wordless stories that only a five year-old could understand about the adventures of a swan, a cat, and a blue jay. Seriously, I have a veritable library full of scraps of printer paper scrawled with crayons and pencil and really poor best-guess spelling, stapled together to resemble real books. Five year-old Corrie really knew what she wanted out of life (full disclosure: 29 year-old Corrie is a little jealous).

And then my school years started, and over those years my love for drawing and telling stories fell asleep to the structure of only drawing in art class once a week, and only drawing what you were supposed to draw in those art classes, and otherwise keeping your mind focused on social studies instead of doodling. I guess that’s a necessary part of life, for a while.

For most of my life after that point, I assumed that my path would follow my parents’: get married at 21, have kids shortly thereafter (this terrified me especially because I’m not good with kids; see above), get a job because you have to, not because you want to. Work at that job until your kids are grown. All throughout the majority of my grade school years, I prepared myself for a life that I would have to be willing to toil through, not one that I truly enjoyed.

Then, like a huge nerd, I watched the special features on the DVD for The Fellowship of the Ring. I watched footage of Alan Lee and John Howe creating the concept art for the films that would absolutely consume me for the next few years. And everything about my ideas of the future changed.

“Wait,” I said to my 8th grade self through my (probably lime green) braces, “This guy makes a living sitting in the woods and drawing what it might look like if Tolkien’s elves lived there? Like, he doesn’t have to stay in an office filling out spreadsheets all day? And he gets to play a key role in the re-telling of one of the best stories ever? AND I bet he got to meet Orlando Bloom??”

I ran into the next room and interrupted my mom, who was like, drying her hair or something (this is a vivid memory, but it’s not that vivid). “I know what I wanna go to college for,” I said. “I wanna be an illustrator.”

So I went to college. I learned that getting married at 21 wasn’t gonna happen for me (thank God). I learned that you don’t have to have two kids by age 24 (you don’t have to have them at all, actually). I learned that lots of life paths look very different from one another, and the older I got, the more sure I was that I had no idea what mine was supposed to look like.

I’ve never really been able to fit myself into a category or box, which is not to say that I am unique and special and beautiful. More accurately, I am an absolute fucking* weirdo who has way too many interests and obsessions and gets too excited about things like storytelling and camera shots and color use and composition but has no professional outlet for that excitement. I also find myself lacking the confidence to go out and find a job that lets me use that passion for things I may or may not be genuinely passionate about. I look at my art style and I don’t see it fitting neatly into any given category, so visualizing a role for myself in an already existing professional realm within reach seems impossible, or unlikely at the very least.

I’m also a 9(w1) on the Enneagram and have come to realize that one of my most dangerous flaws is falling asleep to my own dreams and passions and goals and development in order to support someone else’s dreams and passions and goals and development. This, importantly, is not because I don’t want to support someone else, but because doing only that is so much easier than working on anything for myself. I am not blind to the fact that this flaw may be the source of some of my feelings of inadequacy and “other-ness” listed above.

So. In the interest of reawakening my dreams and passions that I know have been planted deep within me since I was a child, here I am. Writing a children’s book.

Here’s to making the art good and the spelling a little less best-guess.

*Disclaimer: this is a personal blog where I intend to be fully vulnerable and honest to communicate as clearly as possible. Sometimes I use curse words for speech coloration because language is a social construct and “fuck” is one of the most versatile and fascinating words in the English language. I genuinely mean no offense. ❤️

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