I’d be a liar if I said that my childhood dream was to be a writer. While, some kids have a strong sense of direction, my career paths were always fleeting, varying month to month, with the exception of a year-long period when I wanted to be the Little Mermaid.
As I got older, I realized that it wasn’t the things I wanted to be when I was younger that had stuck with me. Instead, it was the things I was exposed to through my childhood education that I found the most compelling. At home, my parents had constantly read to me, forcing me to fall in love with worlds and people outside the comfort of my suburban life. In elementary school, we had a special talk about art once a week, exposing me to new ideas and outlets for creative expression. And as the looming date of entering college drew near, I realized that I had a choice: be a writer or an artist?
Initially, I made the wrong decision, suffered through three painful years of art college, and eventually understood that I was not cut out for visual arts. Since I was still writing diligently in a journal, decided to execute Plan B and pursue a literary degree.
Recently, a dear friend of mine began working with Girls Inc in Nashua, NH. The organization formed in 1945 and helps girls in communities all over the world by providing them with an environment in which the tools and encouragement to succeed are present. To this end, Girls Inc in Nashua has a career week each year. Professionals talk to the girls about their jobs and how they got to where they are. Since my friend is the nicest person in the entire world (really, she is), I couldn’t refuse her when she asked me if I’d volunteer some time and share my experiences with her girls.
Equipped with delicious popcorn provided by KingOfPOP.com, I went to Nashua and chatted with the girls about how I got to where I am. We tried the popcorn and began to brainstorm sensory adjectives, attempting to describe how the snack tasted, felt, the noises it made when we ate it, and what it smelled like – the basis for writing food descriptions. With each group of girls, new and inventive ways of describing the popcorn were discovered, helping prove that creativity spawns creativity.
Although my hour of fame with these girls was fleeting, I am moved by the thought that I may have inspired them to think beyond the confines of their circumstances and to dream, as my parents and 1-hour art lessons allowed me to do. While my romantic tendencies lead me to fantasize that all the girls I saw will one day become best-selling writers, I hope that some of them will simply change the way that they see food labels. Perhaps one or two of them will begin writing their thoughts in a journal and who knows where that will lead? But most importantly, I hope that they are inspired to live their dreams, knowing that they can always change their mind. And after all, there is a full-time Little Mermaid at Disney Land, and organizations like Girls Inc are applauded for providing opportunities to girls that prove that even outlandish dreams are never impossible.
About the Author:
"Katie Straw" is the Gourmet Scribe at GourmetGiftBaskets.com, one of the top suppliers of gift baskets in the nation, and currently resides in Manchester, New Hampshire.