It’s a little weird knowing that I’m almost halfway done with college, that I’m turning 20 in two months, and that right after my birthday, I’ll have been with my best friend for two years (and going strong). I look at where I am now versus where I thought I would be and, I have to say, it’s a hell of a lot different than what I had in mind.
I had dreams of being a lawyer then a writer then a fashion designer, a nail artist, a journalist… The list goes on. I think every little girl wants to have a career dealing with hair, nails, or clothes at some point in her life. I even toyed with the idea of combining my interests and writing for a fashion magazine. But nothing’s sticking.
Right now, I’m reading through How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen. I’ve decided to take the time during my years at Champlain to broaden my horizons and explore the types of writing I can do that aren’t journalism or fictional. I apparently have a strong love for writing creative non-fiction and blog posts, but they still don’t beat the wild feeling I get when I see a story come together.
I’m talking profiles. I absolutely adore profiling people, getting to delve into their lives, the things they’ve done, and learning what makes them who they are. It’s weird, and a bit indescribable. But try this on for size: Imagine you’re an artist trying to find the perfect brushstroke to make your painting come together or an architect looking for the right design of a building that would capture the essence of what’s inside. That’s how I feel about profiles. I’m given this chance to take a person, look through who they are, and pick out the bits and pieces that will show the world their true self.
And sometimes when I think of profiles, I find myself wondering what it would have been like if I hadn’t come to college. I was working as a freelance reporter back home, profiling artists and covering news stories. I was in an okay spot. It would have been easy for me to continue doing what I love the most, finding my own stories, without having to worry about college or homework or anything like that. I could have worked my way through the paper, maybe one day becoming editor, or branching out to other publications until I made it to the “big city.”
But if I’d done that, it’s likely that I wouldn’t have found out that I loved the story of the people, developing what embodies them, more than I loved doing the actual reporting. I can find those stories in fiction, non-fiction, etc. It’s not specific to profiles. I’m sure that’s obvious to all of you–it’s obvious to me, too. I just hadn’t really thought about it. I was so sure that I’d fallen in love with finding and covering the story when, really, it was the connection I felt with the people in front of me. It was the way I was developing them on the page.
I don’t want to stop doing that. I want to explore and learn the new and old tricks I can use to develop real people into the characters of their own lives–or even into characters of a novel. I’ve got this idea in mind, which I’ll keep secret, but it’s going to be a doozy. It’ll let me wander and explore my own world in a different light, turning non-fiction to fiction and my friends into actual characters on pages.
I can’t wait.