I didn’t choose my university major. It chose me. And not in some purple prose/existential journey kind of way, either.
By the time I was a sophomore at Utah State University (insert obligatory Go Aggies! here), I was deeply submerged in the theatre department. I’d practically moved in. The vending machines fed me, the students and faculty were my family, and I slept in…wait. It was college. Nobody slept.
I remember the day I was walking down the main hall after the list of DECLARED THEATRE MAJORS was posted. My name was up there. I hadn’t declared myself a theatre major. I think I would have remembered having a meeting with the dean or whatever protocol was required to do that.
Succumbing the the inevitability of it all, I went with the clerical error that provided my path. Because by that point I was taking every theatre class I could jam into my schedule while still meeting all the civilian requirements of being a university student focused on one day graduating. I was acting in a handful of shows. I was showing up on Saturday mornings for “Work Call” and (semi) helping to build sets, construct costumes (poorly), to search for props (“Is it already made and I just have to find it?! I can do that!), and to bond with my fellow Type A Dreamers.
There is a misunderstanding about people who are attracted to the arts, who pursue careers in something so volatile. We are believed to be flaky dreamers, floating around in hopes that someone will “discover” us. The person I am and the people who made up my theatre family were not like that at all. We were working seven days a week to be good enough to pave our way in an overpopulated and underpaid way of life.
After I had babies, I put acting aside. With the roots that were growing out of me and the parameters I was setting for myself, auditions and rehearsals and performances and travel no longer fit into my life. That was when I returned to writing, something I’ve been compelled to do since the age of four.
I dedicate every spare minute to the construction and realization of novels and articles. Like every other writer I know, I do not float by my computer, waiting to be discovered. I dream about it. I also work for it. I persevere.
I did not have to declare myself a theatre major, but I have declared that I will continue writing for as many years as it takes to sign with a literary agent and sell a book. I’ve declared that I will do this well into senior citizenhood, if that’s what it takes. I am a Type A Dreamer with goals and a work ethic like you wouldn’t believe.
…That said, pretty please can it not take three more decades?