My job is to learn stuff and tell people about it — more or less, anyway.

When I was a young kid, the professions I fantasized about (Paleontologist and Marine Biologist) certainly had that quality to a degree.

Between the ages of 12 and 15 or so, I wanted to be an actor.

During all of that — say from the time I was 12, I was also writing. I didn’t think of it so much in terms of work. I just… did it. It just felt natural to put thoughts on paper and play with them until they communicated something.

The first “serious” piece I wrote was a script for the Dukes of Hazzard. It was bad. Okay, no…it wasn’t bad. It was appalling. I tried some ten years later to write a script for Star Trek: The Next Generation. My husband at the time still has flashbacks from having to live with me through that.

Not long after that, I got a job — a work for hire deal, writing a manual on how to open a business. I remember clearly writing it and being scared because it was “too quirky” and was wondering if it would work or if I’d piss off my client. This was before the “For Dummies” manuals became as popular as they are, but it was written in that chatty style. In school, I always got fussed at for turning in chatty work. (I know, you can’t write like that academically!) But I used to get mad because it felt right somehow when I would write it. I really wish one of my teachers had pulled me aside and explained that chatty had its genuine and real place.

He liked it.

Why I didn’t pursue that at the time, I do not know. Part of it was that I wanted to write fiction. Honestly? I’m a hell of a lot better at non-fiction — teaching someone how to do something or poking at an illogical thought directly.

I wish I knew why. It kind of depresses me. I feel like Salieri when I read really good, moving epic pieces. And I don’t write epic well.

Maybe I oughta take a page from John Varley’s writing style. He makes it work. I just don’t see how I could write Stoneflower from a first person perspective and make it work.

The first novel I ever wrote was in the style of Heinlein’s Number of the Beast — shifting first person. It was easier to write, but I don’t think there’s any way in hell I could live some of the characters in Stoneflower for the time required to write them first person.

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