Last Tuesday, the American writer Ray Bradbury passed away at age 91. I have always admired his work, but I had not known just what an influence on he was on my husband until this news broke. My husband admired three writers that have influenced his writing at a very young age, Robert Anton Wilson, Kurt Vonnegut, and Ray Bradbury, and all of whom have passed away. I have to admit a bit of jealousy at him having found people to admire at such a young age. I don’t think people understand that finding people to look up to is not as easy as it seems and many go through life without such presences.
Why is this? I was looking back at some papers I kept from elementary school and ran across a few papers and a time capsule packet that was written in 1st grade to find out if I had written down anyone to admire. I think if most of us still have the time capsule booklets created in most early schools, you’d have one or both your parents. Apparently, I had drawn a football field and stated that I wanted to be a football player with the Dallas Cowboys. Oh, such a Texan. Another paper stated that I wanted to be a teacher, though I distinctly remember when I decided this was not a good career move, since I had a bigger desire to own a Jeep Cherokee, and an elementary school teacher’s annual salary was less than the cost of a Jeep Cherokee. So that was out. And then in middle school I convinced myself that I wanted to be an engineer, mostly based on my older brother’s plans.
So I guess during my adolescent the true person I admired was my older brother, B.J., though I believe this is a common phenomenon among younger siblings. Once my brother left for college, my desires to become an engineer slowly faded into exploring a more artistic side in the theater and dance. Now I am pursuing a career in Librarianship, though looking back I have noticed at least a commonality to the career paths I have taken, teaching.
Even when I was exploring the idea of an engineer career I used to fantasize with my father getting a degree in aeronautical engineer, but continuing onto my masters, working for a few years, then getting my PhD so I could teach on the college level. As I was pursing theater at Hollins University, I really enjoyed training younger students in backstage design and operations. And one of the reasons I obtained my MFA in photography after deciding against a life in New York theater, it was because my photography professor, Robert Sulkin, had told me that he had received written compliments about my helping in his classes from his students. He thought I would be a good teacher and would need an MFA to teach photography.
My life choices seem to always veer towards teaching others whatever skills I have, from photography, working on a computer, creating art, helping with research, of how to find the next best book. I just found my 15-year-old time capsule from 1988, with an essay of What and Where I want to be in 2013:
Hopefully by 2013 I will have already visited many countries and accomplished many things like, to act in a play, dance, or teach others to dance, and feel the music.
I will say, I forgot how much I liked dance at this time, since the only dance classes I had taken were when I was eight. Luckily for me, I have visited many countries, acted, directed, and stage designed a play, taken many modern dance classes, designed lights for a dance company, and maybe I haven’t taught any dance classes, but I have taught many other things to people. Maybe if I had a person to admire I would have patterned my life off of theirs, but then again I wouldn’t have had such a great adventure finding my own path.