Some poppies grow in manicured gardens and some grow wild where you least expect to find them. I guess by traditional measures I’m a Wild Poppy. Didn’t finish college, almost didn’t finish high school, and the fact that I have been married for over 20 years is considered a MIRACLE by those who know me well. (Oh, I feel a Joan Jett song coming on . . . . ) But . . . now I merely have fake boyfriends. (And many of them are naughty, like Robert Downey Jr or Brian Williams.)
I’ve settled down considerably since my wild youth, but all of my experiences have contributed to making me more empathetic and more observant. I’ve substituted hard work and curiosity and business savvy for higher learning – and it mostly works out okay, except when I’m teaching a writing course and my students start making references to Shakespeare . . . or when I’m having a drink with other writers and they’re making Dante jokes and I’m like, ‘who is Dante?’ Luckily I have friends who save me by answering my stupid questions with “Dante Rosenberg, he was my prom date.”
Sometimes when I visit book clubs or speak to college students, I feel the weight of those literary expectations. And though I can’t quote Dickens at the drop of a hat, I’ve read almost every important literary novel since the 1980s. And since the 1980s are beginning to feel as quaint and faraway as Dickens, that’s going to have to be good enough!
What can you learn from this? Don’t let your background keep you from writing if you want to write! Writers write, period. They don’t have to have MFAs or a degree in English to write.
This week on bloom, I’m mixing things up and hoping readers enjoy a week of themed essays – some serious, some funny – on the topic of Road Trips.
(And of course, a few giveaways and author visits sprinkled in.)