Several years ago when I was a manufacturing engineer in a semiconductor plant, I worked with a guy I’ll call Frodo. He was a maintenance tech who took care of the giant machines.
Frodo spent every spare minute of his day—breaks, lunch, and downtime waiting for a process to finish—typing on his laptop. Turns out he was writing a book. A series, actually. Some kind of fantasy with elves and otherworldly creatures.
I was both fascinated and skeptical. As someone who’d always wanted to write a book myself—in that vague, “wouldn’t that be cool?” kind of way—I wanted to know more. But I wondered what made him think he might actually get published. I mean, delusional, right?
My thoughts were probably something along the lines of (cue sarcasm) “Yeah, good luck with that, buddy.”
I’m happy to report that I didn’t say that out loud. Hopefully, all he saw was the part of me that marveled at his audacity and creativity.
Now that I’m on the other side of the “what are you working on?” conversation fairly often, I think Frodo probably wouldn’t have been surprised by my doubt. And if he was surrounded by supportive writers, many of whom have gotten “the call”, as I am, he probably wouldn’t have cared much.
But the experience has made me more careful. Especially with my kids. If my son tells me he wants to be a professional athlete or astronaut or President, I might feel the need to point out the statistics and requirements (I’m still practical by nature), but who am I to say he can’t be one of those who makes it?
Someone has to.
Why would I kill his dreams when my own are just as far-fetched?
Photo credit: By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons