Musing on Muses

Andrea here. Today, I’m taking a break from talking about research topics to muse on . . . well, The Muse and what kindles our inner fire.

So what sparked the idea? Well, my older brother and I were recently packing up all the personal memorabilia from my mother’s condo in readiness for a rental tenant moving in. As my Mom was an incredibly creative person—she recently passed away at the age of 85—it was quite a task.

Not only was she an accomplished painter and computer artist (having decided to master PhotoShop and her Mac at age 78) but a talented photographer as well . . . here she is—at age 84— getting ready to go up in her friend Morgan’s plane to do aerial photography. (She also had a pilot’s license but let Morgan do the flying.)

Mom-and-plane

 She also turned her hand to a number of other crafts, including studying hand bookbinding with one of the head library restorers at Yale. Combining this skill with her expertise in photography, she made exquisitely detailed family scrapbooks. She had always taken lots of pictures of us growing up, and carefully collected a wealth of other memorabilia, like drawings and letters, to go along with the photos. Each year had its own book, and with her typical Swiss precision, she meticulously labeled events, pasted childish artwork in place, and preserved little treasures such as letters from first grade teachers, sporting ribbons, etc. So, needless to say, the process of boxing all the books and art proceeded VERY slowly as my brother and I stopped often to look through the record of our lives. 

As I sat perusing the pages, watching myself progress from infant to toddler to college undergrad and beyond, the experience brought some very interesting observations into focus. I tend to be reflective (I think most writers have a strong streak of introspection) but seeing a visual record of my ”self” and my interests really got me to thinking about how we find our passion in life.

Here are a few of the fascinating things I realized:

From a very early age I loved creating stories and art. Still do. Here I am as a four-year-old, hard at work at my desk. (These days I probably spend a few more hours glued in my chair, but you get the picture!) My earliest creations were Westerns—I’ve since moved on to Regency England, but at four, I had not yet read Jane Austen.
AD-4-yr-old-artist-2

AD-4-yr-old-art-composite-2

I tended to immerse myself in a character—I loved to dress up and imagine myself in a whole other world. Still do. (The imagining part, that is. These days I forgo the Davey Crockett and cowboy outfits as I write. Sorry, no ballgown or tiara either.)

Cowboy-Crockett-composite

Writing down my stories, sometimes with detailed illustrations, was something I really loved. Still do. And travel always sparked my imagination. Still does. For example, my parents took me to Gettysburg when I was nine, and that summer I wrote a Civil War short story based on the experience of seeing the battlefields, and reading all about the clash of armies.

First-story-compositie
In reading over letters from teachers, awards, etc, I saw there was constant reference to books, history and art. A quote from my fourth grade teacher reads, “Andrea is the class master of history.” In junior high school, I was voted “Best Writer.” In college I won an award for best printing project by an undergraduate. It was for a book of quotations from Thoreau, illustrated with original etchings. I set the type (old-fashioned lead letters) and printed each page by hand, then bound the book using marble paper I had made myself. (I was a graphic design major, so I got to study all sorts of fun things while my roommates slaved over pre-med courses.)  Anyway, those three subjects still captivate me.

And lastly, I saw that another childhood interest was archeology. (No wonder I adore the Amelia Peabody books by Elizabeth Peters.) I was enthralled by the past. Still am. And I was enchanted with marine biology (Go figure that one—I had absolutely no aptitude in science, but I loved the ocean. Still do. It must have been all those Jacques Cousteau documentaries. I still dream of going on a research boat to study great white sharks . . . even though I get terribly seasick.)

But getting back to what makes us who we are, the essence of what I learned was that my childhood passions are remarkably similar to my current ones. The things that captured my imagination as a five-year-old still shape my life today.

When I talked about this with some of my good friends, we discovered that each one of us was different. Some of us knew from the start what we wanted to be when we grew up. Others needed time to find their true calling—it wasn’t until adulthood they that realized what made them happy. And some of my friends are still searching for what makes their heart sing.

It was fascinating to hear how some discoveries are stumbled upon—a chance visit to a museum exhibit sparking a passion for collecting teapots—and some come from out of the blue. My avid gardener friend has no idea why she suddenly developed the urge to dig in the dirt. As a child she had absolutely no interest in plants and couldn’t tell a daffodil from a daisy. And my mother, who couldn’t have cared less about birds when I was a child, suddenly became fascinated by them, which sparked a whole new passion for painting them in watercolors. (Here is one of her paintings.)

Mom'sbird

I feel incredibly lucky to have a passion in life. Not to speak of being paid—albeit a pittance—to do it.

So, what are you passionate about? And how many of you knew from an early age what inspired you? How many of you came to it later in life?

(I will be selecting a winner to receive a copy of The Scarlet Spy from those who comment, so be sure to enter a post!)

 

100 thoughts on “Musing on Muses”

  1. Wonderful post, Andrea. I am so envious of all your memorabilia — there is almost nothing of my early life, because we moved so often such things were never kept. I don’t even have school reports.
    But your post has sparked some memories of school projects I did and the passion to take pains and get get things just right.
    I was also a tomboy and would dress as a cowboy (though I always preferred to be an indian) and have adventures in preference to being a princess in a sparkly dress. I learned later in life that you can actually be both — a friend’s little girl was a most adventurous child, and energetically climbed trees and excavated dungeons and built forts, all the while wearing a long pink sparkly skirt and a tiara.
    I have no memory of wanting to be a writer – I don’t think it even crossed my mind as a possibility. I did write and illustrate stories, but they were thrown out when we moved, and most of the time through high school we didn’t do much creative writing, except for “exercises” which were always odd and unstorylike — like describe something using as many colors as possible.
    Come to think of it, the only subject I wrote stories in was history, where the occasional teacher allowed us to pretend to be a person living in this time or that… Hmm, I wonder, should I be writing belated letters of thanks to those teachers?

    Reply
  2. Wonderful post, Andrea. I am so envious of all your memorabilia — there is almost nothing of my early life, because we moved so often such things were never kept. I don’t even have school reports.
    But your post has sparked some memories of school projects I did and the passion to take pains and get get things just right.
    I was also a tomboy and would dress as a cowboy (though I always preferred to be an indian) and have adventures in preference to being a princess in a sparkly dress. I learned later in life that you can actually be both — a friend’s little girl was a most adventurous child, and energetically climbed trees and excavated dungeons and built forts, all the while wearing a long pink sparkly skirt and a tiara.
    I have no memory of wanting to be a writer – I don’t think it even crossed my mind as a possibility. I did write and illustrate stories, but they were thrown out when we moved, and most of the time through high school we didn’t do much creative writing, except for “exercises” which were always odd and unstorylike — like describe something using as many colors as possible.
    Come to think of it, the only subject I wrote stories in was history, where the occasional teacher allowed us to pretend to be a person living in this time or that… Hmm, I wonder, should I be writing belated letters of thanks to those teachers?

    Reply
  3. Wonderful post, Andrea. I am so envious of all your memorabilia — there is almost nothing of my early life, because we moved so often such things were never kept. I don’t even have school reports.
    But your post has sparked some memories of school projects I did and the passion to take pains and get get things just right.
    I was also a tomboy and would dress as a cowboy (though I always preferred to be an indian) and have adventures in preference to being a princess in a sparkly dress. I learned later in life that you can actually be both — a friend’s little girl was a most adventurous child, and energetically climbed trees and excavated dungeons and built forts, all the while wearing a long pink sparkly skirt and a tiara.
    I have no memory of wanting to be a writer – I don’t think it even crossed my mind as a possibility. I did write and illustrate stories, but they were thrown out when we moved, and most of the time through high school we didn’t do much creative writing, except for “exercises” which were always odd and unstorylike — like describe something using as many colors as possible.
    Come to think of it, the only subject I wrote stories in was history, where the occasional teacher allowed us to pretend to be a person living in this time or that… Hmm, I wonder, should I be writing belated letters of thanks to those teachers?

    Reply
  4. Wonderful post, Andrea. I am so envious of all your memorabilia — there is almost nothing of my early life, because we moved so often such things were never kept. I don’t even have school reports.
    But your post has sparked some memories of school projects I did and the passion to take pains and get get things just right.
    I was also a tomboy and would dress as a cowboy (though I always preferred to be an indian) and have adventures in preference to being a princess in a sparkly dress. I learned later in life that you can actually be both — a friend’s little girl was a most adventurous child, and energetically climbed trees and excavated dungeons and built forts, all the while wearing a long pink sparkly skirt and a tiara.
    I have no memory of wanting to be a writer – I don’t think it even crossed my mind as a possibility. I did write and illustrate stories, but they were thrown out when we moved, and most of the time through high school we didn’t do much creative writing, except for “exercises” which were always odd and unstorylike — like describe something using as many colors as possible.
    Come to think of it, the only subject I wrote stories in was history, where the occasional teacher allowed us to pretend to be a person living in this time or that… Hmm, I wonder, should I be writing belated letters of thanks to those teachers?

    Reply
  5. Wonderful post, Andrea. I am so envious of all your memorabilia — there is almost nothing of my early life, because we moved so often such things were never kept. I don’t even have school reports.
    But your post has sparked some memories of school projects I did and the passion to take pains and get get things just right.
    I was also a tomboy and would dress as a cowboy (though I always preferred to be an indian) and have adventures in preference to being a princess in a sparkly dress. I learned later in life that you can actually be both — a friend’s little girl was a most adventurous child, and energetically climbed trees and excavated dungeons and built forts, all the while wearing a long pink sparkly skirt and a tiara.
    I have no memory of wanting to be a writer – I don’t think it even crossed my mind as a possibility. I did write and illustrate stories, but they were thrown out when we moved, and most of the time through high school we didn’t do much creative writing, except for “exercises” which were always odd and unstorylike — like describe something using as many colors as possible.
    Come to think of it, the only subject I wrote stories in was history, where the occasional teacher allowed us to pretend to be a person living in this time or that… Hmm, I wonder, should I be writing belated letters of thanks to those teachers?

    Reply
  6. How lucky you are to have a catalog of your life (and a Davy Crockett cap!). Your mother is inspirational.
    I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.;) But writing has been a passion for the past few years. My plan is to be the Grandma Moses of romance writing. In the last year of her life (she was 101, I believe), she completed 25 paintings! Better a late bloomer than a no-bloomer.

    Reply
  7. How lucky you are to have a catalog of your life (and a Davy Crockett cap!). Your mother is inspirational.
    I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.;) But writing has been a passion for the past few years. My plan is to be the Grandma Moses of romance writing. In the last year of her life (she was 101, I believe), she completed 25 paintings! Better a late bloomer than a no-bloomer.

    Reply
  8. How lucky you are to have a catalog of your life (and a Davy Crockett cap!). Your mother is inspirational.
    I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.;) But writing has been a passion for the past few years. My plan is to be the Grandma Moses of romance writing. In the last year of her life (she was 101, I believe), she completed 25 paintings! Better a late bloomer than a no-bloomer.

    Reply
  9. How lucky you are to have a catalog of your life (and a Davy Crockett cap!). Your mother is inspirational.
    I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.;) But writing has been a passion for the past few years. My plan is to be the Grandma Moses of romance writing. In the last year of her life (she was 101, I believe), she completed 25 paintings! Better a late bloomer than a no-bloomer.

    Reply
  10. How lucky you are to have a catalog of your life (and a Davy Crockett cap!). Your mother is inspirational.
    I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.;) But writing has been a passion for the past few years. My plan is to be the Grandma Moses of romance writing. In the last year of her life (she was 101, I believe), she completed 25 paintings! Better a late bloomer than a no-bloomer.

    Reply
  11. Anne, I really find this whole question of when in life the light bulb goes off and illuminates what you are “meant to be” a fascinating one. Everyone I talk to has a different experience—which of course makes sense as each of us is a unique individual. I’d say in your case the history was definitely a clue.
    As you can see, I was a total tomboy (still like jeans over dresses)and my mom simply smiled and encouraged me to do what I enjoyed. She said at age three Iused to fight being put in a dress and wanted to wear my brother’s cowboy clothes. So she let me.
    I feel so lucky to be able to see all that in the family scrapbooks. We used to roll our eyes whenmy mom wanted to document every birthday and trip with her camera, but now we are all so grateful for it.

    Reply
  12. Anne, I really find this whole question of when in life the light bulb goes off and illuminates what you are “meant to be” a fascinating one. Everyone I talk to has a different experience—which of course makes sense as each of us is a unique individual. I’d say in your case the history was definitely a clue.
    As you can see, I was a total tomboy (still like jeans over dresses)and my mom simply smiled and encouraged me to do what I enjoyed. She said at age three Iused to fight being put in a dress and wanted to wear my brother’s cowboy clothes. So she let me.
    I feel so lucky to be able to see all that in the family scrapbooks. We used to roll our eyes whenmy mom wanted to document every birthday and trip with her camera, but now we are all so grateful for it.

    Reply
  13. Anne, I really find this whole question of when in life the light bulb goes off and illuminates what you are “meant to be” a fascinating one. Everyone I talk to has a different experience—which of course makes sense as each of us is a unique individual. I’d say in your case the history was definitely a clue.
    As you can see, I was a total tomboy (still like jeans over dresses)and my mom simply smiled and encouraged me to do what I enjoyed. She said at age three Iused to fight being put in a dress and wanted to wear my brother’s cowboy clothes. So she let me.
    I feel so lucky to be able to see all that in the family scrapbooks. We used to roll our eyes whenmy mom wanted to document every birthday and trip with her camera, but now we are all so grateful for it.

    Reply
  14. Anne, I really find this whole question of when in life the light bulb goes off and illuminates what you are “meant to be” a fascinating one. Everyone I talk to has a different experience—which of course makes sense as each of us is a unique individual. I’d say in your case the history was definitely a clue.
    As you can see, I was a total tomboy (still like jeans over dresses)and my mom simply smiled and encouraged me to do what I enjoyed. She said at age three Iused to fight being put in a dress and wanted to wear my brother’s cowboy clothes. So she let me.
    I feel so lucky to be able to see all that in the family scrapbooks. We used to roll our eyes whenmy mom wanted to document every birthday and trip with her camera, but now we are all so grateful for it.

    Reply
  15. Anne, I really find this whole question of when in life the light bulb goes off and illuminates what you are “meant to be” a fascinating one. Everyone I talk to has a different experience—which of course makes sense as each of us is a unique individual. I’d say in your case the history was definitely a clue.
    As you can see, I was a total tomboy (still like jeans over dresses)and my mom simply smiled and encouraged me to do what I enjoyed. She said at age three Iused to fight being put in a dress and wanted to wear my brother’s cowboy clothes. So she let me.
    I feel so lucky to be able to see all that in the family scrapbooks. We used to roll our eyes whenmy mom wanted to document every birthday and trip with her camera, but now we are all so grateful for it.

    Reply
  16. Maggie, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. And don’t worry at all about coming to your passion “late.” It doesn’t matter when you find what you love to do—all that matters is that you follow your dream. I wish you all the best with your writing and look forward to seeing your books!

    Reply
  17. Maggie, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. And don’t worry at all about coming to your passion “late.” It doesn’t matter when you find what you love to do—all that matters is that you follow your dream. I wish you all the best with your writing and look forward to seeing your books!

    Reply
  18. Maggie, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. And don’t worry at all about coming to your passion “late.” It doesn’t matter when you find what you love to do—all that matters is that you follow your dream. I wish you all the best with your writing and look forward to seeing your books!

    Reply
  19. Maggie, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. And don’t worry at all about coming to your passion “late.” It doesn’t matter when you find what you love to do—all that matters is that you follow your dream. I wish you all the best with your writing and look forward to seeing your books!

    Reply
  20. Maggie, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. And don’t worry at all about coming to your passion “late.” It doesn’t matter when you find what you love to do—all that matters is that you follow your dream. I wish you all the best with your writing and look forward to seeing your books!

    Reply
  21. I can see a lot of myself in your post. Part of the love of reading, and history. I remember poring over books as a youngster looking at the “bugs” (the letters) and thinking that someday I would unlock the key to this mystery that enthralled my entire family. My dad encouraged our love of reading.
    But reading was not my only love from an early age. As the second youngest of 8, I got exposed to a lot of things. So at an age when I was too young for a pet, my brothers and sisters all had hamsters and guinea pigs. There were cats on my grandparents farm, the neighbourhood stray, my sister had a dog (briefly), and I loved those animals.
    As I grew older I couldn’t ever picture working in an office and having to wear a skirt or suit and heels. After much searching I discovered that you could get paid for doing what you love -which for me is working with the animals. I don’t work hands on with the animals much now (mostly livestock) but I still work in science – much of the summer spent outdoors, and none of it in suit and heels. I wear jeans and hiking boots or runners much of the time.
    My spare time is spent training and walking the three dogs I own. The rest of my spare time seems to be spent reading.

    Reply
  22. I can see a lot of myself in your post. Part of the love of reading, and history. I remember poring over books as a youngster looking at the “bugs” (the letters) and thinking that someday I would unlock the key to this mystery that enthralled my entire family. My dad encouraged our love of reading.
    But reading was not my only love from an early age. As the second youngest of 8, I got exposed to a lot of things. So at an age when I was too young for a pet, my brothers and sisters all had hamsters and guinea pigs. There were cats on my grandparents farm, the neighbourhood stray, my sister had a dog (briefly), and I loved those animals.
    As I grew older I couldn’t ever picture working in an office and having to wear a skirt or suit and heels. After much searching I discovered that you could get paid for doing what you love -which for me is working with the animals. I don’t work hands on with the animals much now (mostly livestock) but I still work in science – much of the summer spent outdoors, and none of it in suit and heels. I wear jeans and hiking boots or runners much of the time.
    My spare time is spent training and walking the three dogs I own. The rest of my spare time seems to be spent reading.

    Reply
  23. I can see a lot of myself in your post. Part of the love of reading, and history. I remember poring over books as a youngster looking at the “bugs” (the letters) and thinking that someday I would unlock the key to this mystery that enthralled my entire family. My dad encouraged our love of reading.
    But reading was not my only love from an early age. As the second youngest of 8, I got exposed to a lot of things. So at an age when I was too young for a pet, my brothers and sisters all had hamsters and guinea pigs. There were cats on my grandparents farm, the neighbourhood stray, my sister had a dog (briefly), and I loved those animals.
    As I grew older I couldn’t ever picture working in an office and having to wear a skirt or suit and heels. After much searching I discovered that you could get paid for doing what you love -which for me is working with the animals. I don’t work hands on with the animals much now (mostly livestock) but I still work in science – much of the summer spent outdoors, and none of it in suit and heels. I wear jeans and hiking boots or runners much of the time.
    My spare time is spent training and walking the three dogs I own. The rest of my spare time seems to be spent reading.

    Reply
  24. I can see a lot of myself in your post. Part of the love of reading, and history. I remember poring over books as a youngster looking at the “bugs” (the letters) and thinking that someday I would unlock the key to this mystery that enthralled my entire family. My dad encouraged our love of reading.
    But reading was not my only love from an early age. As the second youngest of 8, I got exposed to a lot of things. So at an age when I was too young for a pet, my brothers and sisters all had hamsters and guinea pigs. There were cats on my grandparents farm, the neighbourhood stray, my sister had a dog (briefly), and I loved those animals.
    As I grew older I couldn’t ever picture working in an office and having to wear a skirt or suit and heels. After much searching I discovered that you could get paid for doing what you love -which for me is working with the animals. I don’t work hands on with the animals much now (mostly livestock) but I still work in science – much of the summer spent outdoors, and none of it in suit and heels. I wear jeans and hiking boots or runners much of the time.
    My spare time is spent training and walking the three dogs I own. The rest of my spare time seems to be spent reading.

    Reply
  25. I can see a lot of myself in your post. Part of the love of reading, and history. I remember poring over books as a youngster looking at the “bugs” (the letters) and thinking that someday I would unlock the key to this mystery that enthralled my entire family. My dad encouraged our love of reading.
    But reading was not my only love from an early age. As the second youngest of 8, I got exposed to a lot of things. So at an age when I was too young for a pet, my brothers and sisters all had hamsters and guinea pigs. There were cats on my grandparents farm, the neighbourhood stray, my sister had a dog (briefly), and I loved those animals.
    As I grew older I couldn’t ever picture working in an office and having to wear a skirt or suit and heels. After much searching I discovered that you could get paid for doing what you love -which for me is working with the animals. I don’t work hands on with the animals much now (mostly livestock) but I still work in science – much of the summer spent outdoors, and none of it in suit and heels. I wear jeans and hiking boots or runners much of the time.
    My spare time is spent training and walking the three dogs I own. The rest of my spare time seems to be spent reading.

    Reply
  26. Thanks for sharing, Piper! I love the “bugs” description of letters. I loved reading from an early age too, and thought books were absolutely magical in that they could transport you to some many wonderful worlds.

    Reply
  27. Thanks for sharing, Piper! I love the “bugs” description of letters. I loved reading from an early age too, and thought books were absolutely magical in that they could transport you to some many wonderful worlds.

    Reply
  28. Thanks for sharing, Piper! I love the “bugs” description of letters. I loved reading from an early age too, and thought books were absolutely magical in that they could transport you to some many wonderful worlds.

    Reply
  29. Thanks for sharing, Piper! I love the “bugs” description of letters. I loved reading from an early age too, and thought books were absolutely magical in that they could transport you to some many wonderful worlds.

    Reply
  30. Thanks for sharing, Piper! I love the “bugs” description of letters. I loved reading from an early age too, and thought books were absolutely magical in that they could transport you to some many wonderful worlds.

    Reply
  31. What a wonderful post, Andrea! Your mother was an amazing woman, and as I see her leaning against that airplane, I know what you’ll look like in your 80s. 🙂
    Since her painting of the rose was what you used for the Edith memorial bookmark, I knew she was a fine artist, but that falcon (?) is more splendid proof. (It sounds like you inherited your art talent from her, too.) How wonderful and painful and and gratifying to have those records she kept. You looked like a proper Disney child. 🙂
    Interesting to think about the sparks that ignite us. As a kid, I loved stuffed animals (never dolls), was a tomboy, loved drawing, and loved, loved, LOVED reading, without ever thinking I could become a writer since there were no role models for kids growing up on farms in Western New York. (Which is a good example of the value of role models, now that I think of it.)
    Since then, I’ve become a professional graphic designer (though not an artist), and a writer. So the seeds were there from the beginning.)
    Thanks so much for sharing, and my condolences on the lost of your extraordinary mother.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  32. What a wonderful post, Andrea! Your mother was an amazing woman, and as I see her leaning against that airplane, I know what you’ll look like in your 80s. 🙂
    Since her painting of the rose was what you used for the Edith memorial bookmark, I knew she was a fine artist, but that falcon (?) is more splendid proof. (It sounds like you inherited your art talent from her, too.) How wonderful and painful and and gratifying to have those records she kept. You looked like a proper Disney child. 🙂
    Interesting to think about the sparks that ignite us. As a kid, I loved stuffed animals (never dolls), was a tomboy, loved drawing, and loved, loved, LOVED reading, without ever thinking I could become a writer since there were no role models for kids growing up on farms in Western New York. (Which is a good example of the value of role models, now that I think of it.)
    Since then, I’ve become a professional graphic designer (though not an artist), and a writer. So the seeds were there from the beginning.)
    Thanks so much for sharing, and my condolences on the lost of your extraordinary mother.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  33. What a wonderful post, Andrea! Your mother was an amazing woman, and as I see her leaning against that airplane, I know what you’ll look like in your 80s. 🙂
    Since her painting of the rose was what you used for the Edith memorial bookmark, I knew she was a fine artist, but that falcon (?) is more splendid proof. (It sounds like you inherited your art talent from her, too.) How wonderful and painful and and gratifying to have those records she kept. You looked like a proper Disney child. 🙂
    Interesting to think about the sparks that ignite us. As a kid, I loved stuffed animals (never dolls), was a tomboy, loved drawing, and loved, loved, LOVED reading, without ever thinking I could become a writer since there were no role models for kids growing up on farms in Western New York. (Which is a good example of the value of role models, now that I think of it.)
    Since then, I’ve become a professional graphic designer (though not an artist), and a writer. So the seeds were there from the beginning.)
    Thanks so much for sharing, and my condolences on the lost of your extraordinary mother.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  34. What a wonderful post, Andrea! Your mother was an amazing woman, and as I see her leaning against that airplane, I know what you’ll look like in your 80s. 🙂
    Since her painting of the rose was what you used for the Edith memorial bookmark, I knew she was a fine artist, but that falcon (?) is more splendid proof. (It sounds like you inherited your art talent from her, too.) How wonderful and painful and and gratifying to have those records she kept. You looked like a proper Disney child. 🙂
    Interesting to think about the sparks that ignite us. As a kid, I loved stuffed animals (never dolls), was a tomboy, loved drawing, and loved, loved, LOVED reading, without ever thinking I could become a writer since there were no role models for kids growing up on farms in Western New York. (Which is a good example of the value of role models, now that I think of it.)
    Since then, I’ve become a professional graphic designer (though not an artist), and a writer. So the seeds were there from the beginning.)
    Thanks so much for sharing, and my condolences on the lost of your extraordinary mother.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  35. What a wonderful post, Andrea! Your mother was an amazing woman, and as I see her leaning against that airplane, I know what you’ll look like in your 80s. 🙂
    Since her painting of the rose was what you used for the Edith memorial bookmark, I knew she was a fine artist, but that falcon (?) is more splendid proof. (It sounds like you inherited your art talent from her, too.) How wonderful and painful and and gratifying to have those records she kept. You looked like a proper Disney child. 🙂
    Interesting to think about the sparks that ignite us. As a kid, I loved stuffed animals (never dolls), was a tomboy, loved drawing, and loved, loved, LOVED reading, without ever thinking I could become a writer since there were no role models for kids growing up on farms in Western New York. (Which is a good example of the value of role models, now that I think of it.)
    Since then, I’ve become a professional graphic designer (though not an artist), and a writer. So the seeds were there from the beginning.)
    Thanks so much for sharing, and my condolences on the lost of your extraordinary mother.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  36. Thanks for all the lovely compliments, Mary Jo. I think it’s pretty obvious I had the best role model a child could wish for—my mom always encouraged me to use my imagination, both in word and deed. She was an avid reader too, though her taste was non-fiction and anything in The New Yorker magazine. (BTW, the bird is a harrier hawk)
    I’m finding it fascinating that everyone here has said she was a tomboy growing up. Maybe because boys had more freedom to do things (at least they did when I was a girl.) I wonder if girls today call themselves tomboys, or whether they don’t see such behavior as “unfeminine. I hope that’s the case!

    Reply
  37. Thanks for all the lovely compliments, Mary Jo. I think it’s pretty obvious I had the best role model a child could wish for—my mom always encouraged me to use my imagination, both in word and deed. She was an avid reader too, though her taste was non-fiction and anything in The New Yorker magazine. (BTW, the bird is a harrier hawk)
    I’m finding it fascinating that everyone here has said she was a tomboy growing up. Maybe because boys had more freedom to do things (at least they did when I was a girl.) I wonder if girls today call themselves tomboys, or whether they don’t see such behavior as “unfeminine. I hope that’s the case!

    Reply
  38. Thanks for all the lovely compliments, Mary Jo. I think it’s pretty obvious I had the best role model a child could wish for—my mom always encouraged me to use my imagination, both in word and deed. She was an avid reader too, though her taste was non-fiction and anything in The New Yorker magazine. (BTW, the bird is a harrier hawk)
    I’m finding it fascinating that everyone here has said she was a tomboy growing up. Maybe because boys had more freedom to do things (at least they did when I was a girl.) I wonder if girls today call themselves tomboys, or whether they don’t see such behavior as “unfeminine. I hope that’s the case!

    Reply
  39. Thanks for all the lovely compliments, Mary Jo. I think it’s pretty obvious I had the best role model a child could wish for—my mom always encouraged me to use my imagination, both in word and deed. She was an avid reader too, though her taste was non-fiction and anything in The New Yorker magazine. (BTW, the bird is a harrier hawk)
    I’m finding it fascinating that everyone here has said she was a tomboy growing up. Maybe because boys had more freedom to do things (at least they did when I was a girl.) I wonder if girls today call themselves tomboys, or whether they don’t see such behavior as “unfeminine. I hope that’s the case!

    Reply
  40. Thanks for all the lovely compliments, Mary Jo. I think it’s pretty obvious I had the best role model a child could wish for—my mom always encouraged me to use my imagination, both in word and deed. She was an avid reader too, though her taste was non-fiction and anything in The New Yorker magazine. (BTW, the bird is a harrier hawk)
    I’m finding it fascinating that everyone here has said she was a tomboy growing up. Maybe because boys had more freedom to do things (at least they did when I was a girl.) I wonder if girls today call themselves tomboys, or whether they don’t see such behavior as “unfeminine. I hope that’s the case!

    Reply
  41. Love all the pictures in this post. 🙂 Interesting topic, too. I didn’t realize it at the time, but ever since I began playing dress-up, I have loved making stories. Then in high school I discovered an aptitude for writing, but I was too self-conscious to show -or even do- much of my own writing other than school assignments. Now, I escape into my made-up worlds whenever I can. I don’t get paid for it (yet!) but I love it.
    Thanks for a fun post.

    Reply
  42. Love all the pictures in this post. 🙂 Interesting topic, too. I didn’t realize it at the time, but ever since I began playing dress-up, I have loved making stories. Then in high school I discovered an aptitude for writing, but I was too self-conscious to show -or even do- much of my own writing other than school assignments. Now, I escape into my made-up worlds whenever I can. I don’t get paid for it (yet!) but I love it.
    Thanks for a fun post.

    Reply
  43. Love all the pictures in this post. 🙂 Interesting topic, too. I didn’t realize it at the time, but ever since I began playing dress-up, I have loved making stories. Then in high school I discovered an aptitude for writing, but I was too self-conscious to show -or even do- much of my own writing other than school assignments. Now, I escape into my made-up worlds whenever I can. I don’t get paid for it (yet!) but I love it.
    Thanks for a fun post.

    Reply
  44. Love all the pictures in this post. 🙂 Interesting topic, too. I didn’t realize it at the time, but ever since I began playing dress-up, I have loved making stories. Then in high school I discovered an aptitude for writing, but I was too self-conscious to show -or even do- much of my own writing other than school assignments. Now, I escape into my made-up worlds whenever I can. I don’t get paid for it (yet!) but I love it.
    Thanks for a fun post.

    Reply
  45. Love all the pictures in this post. 🙂 Interesting topic, too. I didn’t realize it at the time, but ever since I began playing dress-up, I have loved making stories. Then in high school I discovered an aptitude for writing, but I was too self-conscious to show -or even do- much of my own writing other than school assignments. Now, I escape into my made-up worlds whenever I can. I don’t get paid for it (yet!) but I love it.
    Thanks for a fun post.

    Reply
  46. When I was a kid, I was an astronomy nut. I would go out every clear night and look at the stars. No mean feat in the middle of a New England winter. But I stopped watching the stars as I got older.
    Now I have a Regency time travel that’s heavy on astronomy, and a Regency Halloween story that relies on the moon phases. Maybe I’ve come full circle.

    Reply
  47. When I was a kid, I was an astronomy nut. I would go out every clear night and look at the stars. No mean feat in the middle of a New England winter. But I stopped watching the stars as I got older.
    Now I have a Regency time travel that’s heavy on astronomy, and a Regency Halloween story that relies on the moon phases. Maybe I’ve come full circle.

    Reply
  48. When I was a kid, I was an astronomy nut. I would go out every clear night and look at the stars. No mean feat in the middle of a New England winter. But I stopped watching the stars as I got older.
    Now I have a Regency time travel that’s heavy on astronomy, and a Regency Halloween story that relies on the moon phases. Maybe I’ve come full circle.

    Reply
  49. When I was a kid, I was an astronomy nut. I would go out every clear night and look at the stars. No mean feat in the middle of a New England winter. But I stopped watching the stars as I got older.
    Now I have a Regency time travel that’s heavy on astronomy, and a Regency Halloween story that relies on the moon phases. Maybe I’ve come full circle.

    Reply
  50. When I was a kid, I was an astronomy nut. I would go out every clear night and look at the stars. No mean feat in the middle of a New England winter. But I stopped watching the stars as I got older.
    Now I have a Regency time travel that’s heavy on astronomy, and a Regency Halloween story that relies on the moon phases. Maybe I’ve come full circle.

    Reply
  51. Linda, that’s great that what you loved as a kid comes back to inspire your stories. I think we store all those experiences somewhere and then draw on them in many different ways. For me, it’s really fun to sit back and see an influence from ay back has unconsciously crept into a story. The mind works in very mysterious and magical ways! LOL

    Reply
  52. Linda, that’s great that what you loved as a kid comes back to inspire your stories. I think we store all those experiences somewhere and then draw on them in many different ways. For me, it’s really fun to sit back and see an influence from ay back has unconsciously crept into a story. The mind works in very mysterious and magical ways! LOL

    Reply
  53. Linda, that’s great that what you loved as a kid comes back to inspire your stories. I think we store all those experiences somewhere and then draw on them in many different ways. For me, it’s really fun to sit back and see an influence from ay back has unconsciously crept into a story. The mind works in very mysterious and magical ways! LOL

    Reply
  54. Linda, that’s great that what you loved as a kid comes back to inspire your stories. I think we store all those experiences somewhere and then draw on them in many different ways. For me, it’s really fun to sit back and see an influence from ay back has unconsciously crept into a story. The mind works in very mysterious and magical ways! LOL

    Reply
  55. Linda, that’s great that what you loved as a kid comes back to inspire your stories. I think we store all those experiences somewhere and then draw on them in many different ways. For me, it’s really fun to sit back and see an influence from ay back has unconsciously crept into a story. The mind works in very mysterious and magical ways! LOL

    Reply
  56. Anne, glad you got a giggle out of the pictures. I think as kids we are so uninhibited in acting out our make-believe. And it’s wonderful! As you point out, we get more self consious as we get older (believe me, I quite shy) Writing lets us get back into the world of our imagination without having to dress up. So keep up with what you love!

    Reply
  57. Anne, glad you got a giggle out of the pictures. I think as kids we are so uninhibited in acting out our make-believe. And it’s wonderful! As you point out, we get more self consious as we get older (believe me, I quite shy) Writing lets us get back into the world of our imagination without having to dress up. So keep up with what you love!

    Reply
  58. Anne, glad you got a giggle out of the pictures. I think as kids we are so uninhibited in acting out our make-believe. And it’s wonderful! As you point out, we get more self consious as we get older (believe me, I quite shy) Writing lets us get back into the world of our imagination without having to dress up. So keep up with what you love!

    Reply
  59. Anne, glad you got a giggle out of the pictures. I think as kids we are so uninhibited in acting out our make-believe. And it’s wonderful! As you point out, we get more self consious as we get older (believe me, I quite shy) Writing lets us get back into the world of our imagination without having to dress up. So keep up with what you love!

    Reply
  60. Anne, glad you got a giggle out of the pictures. I think as kids we are so uninhibited in acting out our make-believe. And it’s wonderful! As you point out, we get more self consious as we get older (believe me, I quite shy) Writing lets us get back into the world of our imagination without having to dress up. So keep up with what you love!

    Reply
  61. what an amazing awesome woman your Mom was and I quite understand the going through everything as we did with my Mom who dabbled in many crafts.
    yourstrulee at sasktel dot net

    Reply
  62. what an amazing awesome woman your Mom was and I quite understand the going through everything as we did with my Mom who dabbled in many crafts.
    yourstrulee at sasktel dot net

    Reply
  63. what an amazing awesome woman your Mom was and I quite understand the going through everything as we did with my Mom who dabbled in many crafts.
    yourstrulee at sasktel dot net

    Reply
  64. what an amazing awesome woman your Mom was and I quite understand the going through everything as we did with my Mom who dabbled in many crafts.
    yourstrulee at sasktel dot net

    Reply
  65. what an amazing awesome woman your Mom was and I quite understand the going through everything as we did with my Mom who dabbled in many crafts.
    yourstrulee at sasktel dot net

    Reply
  66. From Sherrie:
    What a great mother you had, Andrea! You were so blessed to have her as your role model.
    I too found it interesting that so many of your commenters were tomboys as kids. I wasn’t into dolls or stuffed animals–I enjoyed my brother’s Tinker Toys and building blocks and plastic farm animals. But I also enjoyed dressing up in girl clothes. I still enjoy dressing up in a dress and nylons and heels, and I’m often the only woman wearing a dress at social functions.
    What am I passionate about? I’d have to say my art collection, for one thing. My walls are covered with paintings, while statues, statuettes, and other artsy stuff can be found on my fireplace mantel, coffee table, bookshelves, etc.
    I’m passionate about reading. About my pets. About my privacy. About forests and meadows–these 2 things revive me visually and emotionally.
    As a kid, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I didn’t get a lot of guidance in that area, and the concept of having a job and going to work every day was beyond my childish imagination, particularly since I was raised in a fatherless home by a stay-at-home mom. Thus, my household contained no one who had a job or went to work every day. Which is probably why I drifted into secretarial work! LOL!

    Reply
  67. From Sherrie:
    What a great mother you had, Andrea! You were so blessed to have her as your role model.
    I too found it interesting that so many of your commenters were tomboys as kids. I wasn’t into dolls or stuffed animals–I enjoyed my brother’s Tinker Toys and building blocks and plastic farm animals. But I also enjoyed dressing up in girl clothes. I still enjoy dressing up in a dress and nylons and heels, and I’m often the only woman wearing a dress at social functions.
    What am I passionate about? I’d have to say my art collection, for one thing. My walls are covered with paintings, while statues, statuettes, and other artsy stuff can be found on my fireplace mantel, coffee table, bookshelves, etc.
    I’m passionate about reading. About my pets. About my privacy. About forests and meadows–these 2 things revive me visually and emotionally.
    As a kid, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I didn’t get a lot of guidance in that area, and the concept of having a job and going to work every day was beyond my childish imagination, particularly since I was raised in a fatherless home by a stay-at-home mom. Thus, my household contained no one who had a job or went to work every day. Which is probably why I drifted into secretarial work! LOL!

    Reply
  68. From Sherrie:
    What a great mother you had, Andrea! You were so blessed to have her as your role model.
    I too found it interesting that so many of your commenters were tomboys as kids. I wasn’t into dolls or stuffed animals–I enjoyed my brother’s Tinker Toys and building blocks and plastic farm animals. But I also enjoyed dressing up in girl clothes. I still enjoy dressing up in a dress and nylons and heels, and I’m often the only woman wearing a dress at social functions.
    What am I passionate about? I’d have to say my art collection, for one thing. My walls are covered with paintings, while statues, statuettes, and other artsy stuff can be found on my fireplace mantel, coffee table, bookshelves, etc.
    I’m passionate about reading. About my pets. About my privacy. About forests and meadows–these 2 things revive me visually and emotionally.
    As a kid, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I didn’t get a lot of guidance in that area, and the concept of having a job and going to work every day was beyond my childish imagination, particularly since I was raised in a fatherless home by a stay-at-home mom. Thus, my household contained no one who had a job or went to work every day. Which is probably why I drifted into secretarial work! LOL!

    Reply
  69. From Sherrie:
    What a great mother you had, Andrea! You were so blessed to have her as your role model.
    I too found it interesting that so many of your commenters were tomboys as kids. I wasn’t into dolls or stuffed animals–I enjoyed my brother’s Tinker Toys and building blocks and plastic farm animals. But I also enjoyed dressing up in girl clothes. I still enjoy dressing up in a dress and nylons and heels, and I’m often the only woman wearing a dress at social functions.
    What am I passionate about? I’d have to say my art collection, for one thing. My walls are covered with paintings, while statues, statuettes, and other artsy stuff can be found on my fireplace mantel, coffee table, bookshelves, etc.
    I’m passionate about reading. About my pets. About my privacy. About forests and meadows–these 2 things revive me visually and emotionally.
    As a kid, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I didn’t get a lot of guidance in that area, and the concept of having a job and going to work every day was beyond my childish imagination, particularly since I was raised in a fatherless home by a stay-at-home mom. Thus, my household contained no one who had a job or went to work every day. Which is probably why I drifted into secretarial work! LOL!

    Reply
  70. From Sherrie:
    What a great mother you had, Andrea! You were so blessed to have her as your role model.
    I too found it interesting that so many of your commenters were tomboys as kids. I wasn’t into dolls or stuffed animals–I enjoyed my brother’s Tinker Toys and building blocks and plastic farm animals. But I also enjoyed dressing up in girl clothes. I still enjoy dressing up in a dress and nylons and heels, and I’m often the only woman wearing a dress at social functions.
    What am I passionate about? I’d have to say my art collection, for one thing. My walls are covered with paintings, while statues, statuettes, and other artsy stuff can be found on my fireplace mantel, coffee table, bookshelves, etc.
    I’m passionate about reading. About my pets. About my privacy. About forests and meadows–these 2 things revive me visually and emotionally.
    As a kid, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I didn’t get a lot of guidance in that area, and the concept of having a job and going to work every day was beyond my childish imagination, particularly since I was raised in a fatherless home by a stay-at-home mom. Thus, my household contained no one who had a job or went to work every day. Which is probably why I drifted into secretarial work! LOL!

    Reply
  71. Sherrie, You remind me alot of mom—having gotten to know you through your wonderfully funny e-mails and Twitter posts, I know how passionate you are about so many things—and what enthusiasm you have for all your endeavors. For me, that’s also the key in having a passion—you are always excited about life and learning new things, and that inquisitiveness infuses everything you do.
    And obviously your inner fire guided you to do what makes you happy. You are surrounded by your art, your animals and your books. So you were your own role model, Hooray!

    Reply
  72. Sherrie, You remind me alot of mom—having gotten to know you through your wonderfully funny e-mails and Twitter posts, I know how passionate you are about so many things—and what enthusiasm you have for all your endeavors. For me, that’s also the key in having a passion—you are always excited about life and learning new things, and that inquisitiveness infuses everything you do.
    And obviously your inner fire guided you to do what makes you happy. You are surrounded by your art, your animals and your books. So you were your own role model, Hooray!

    Reply
  73. Sherrie, You remind me alot of mom—having gotten to know you through your wonderfully funny e-mails and Twitter posts, I know how passionate you are about so many things—and what enthusiasm you have for all your endeavors. For me, that’s also the key in having a passion—you are always excited about life and learning new things, and that inquisitiveness infuses everything you do.
    And obviously your inner fire guided you to do what makes you happy. You are surrounded by your art, your animals and your books. So you were your own role model, Hooray!

    Reply
  74. Sherrie, You remind me alot of mom—having gotten to know you through your wonderfully funny e-mails and Twitter posts, I know how passionate you are about so many things—and what enthusiasm you have for all your endeavors. For me, that’s also the key in having a passion—you are always excited about life and learning new things, and that inquisitiveness infuses everything you do.
    And obviously your inner fire guided you to do what makes you happy. You are surrounded by your art, your animals and your books. So you were your own role model, Hooray!

    Reply
  75. Sherrie, You remind me alot of mom—having gotten to know you through your wonderfully funny e-mails and Twitter posts, I know how passionate you are about so many things—and what enthusiasm you have for all your endeavors. For me, that’s also the key in having a passion—you are always excited about life and learning new things, and that inquisitiveness infuses everything you do.
    And obviously your inner fire guided you to do what makes you happy. You are surrounded by your art, your animals and your books. So you were your own role model, Hooray!

    Reply
  76. LOL Andrea! I LOVE the illustrated books (and your horses look like horses, unlike the ones I drew as a child, which looked vaguely like alligators). It seems like most “artsy” people had some sort of spark when they were children, and if we’re lucky we have someone who recognizes and encourages it.
    I was both a girly-girl and a tomboy as a kid! I would dress up in my poufy princess Halloween costume and dance recital tiara and then climb the tree in our backyard, pretending it was a ship and I was the pirate queen. No wonder I write historicals. 🙂

    Reply
  77. LOL Andrea! I LOVE the illustrated books (and your horses look like horses, unlike the ones I drew as a child, which looked vaguely like alligators). It seems like most “artsy” people had some sort of spark when they were children, and if we’re lucky we have someone who recognizes and encourages it.
    I was both a girly-girl and a tomboy as a kid! I would dress up in my poufy princess Halloween costume and dance recital tiara and then climb the tree in our backyard, pretending it was a ship and I was the pirate queen. No wonder I write historicals. 🙂

    Reply
  78. LOL Andrea! I LOVE the illustrated books (and your horses look like horses, unlike the ones I drew as a child, which looked vaguely like alligators). It seems like most “artsy” people had some sort of spark when they were children, and if we’re lucky we have someone who recognizes and encourages it.
    I was both a girly-girl and a tomboy as a kid! I would dress up in my poufy princess Halloween costume and dance recital tiara and then climb the tree in our backyard, pretending it was a ship and I was the pirate queen. No wonder I write historicals. 🙂

    Reply
  79. LOL Andrea! I LOVE the illustrated books (and your horses look like horses, unlike the ones I drew as a child, which looked vaguely like alligators). It seems like most “artsy” people had some sort of spark when they were children, and if we’re lucky we have someone who recognizes and encourages it.
    I was both a girly-girl and a tomboy as a kid! I would dress up in my poufy princess Halloween costume and dance recital tiara and then climb the tree in our backyard, pretending it was a ship and I was the pirate queen. No wonder I write historicals. 🙂

    Reply
  80. LOL Andrea! I LOVE the illustrated books (and your horses look like horses, unlike the ones I drew as a child, which looked vaguely like alligators). It seems like most “artsy” people had some sort of spark when they were children, and if we’re lucky we have someone who recognizes and encourages it.
    I was both a girly-girl and a tomboy as a kid! I would dress up in my poufy princess Halloween costume and dance recital tiara and then climb the tree in our backyard, pretending it was a ship and I was the pirate queen. No wonder I write historicals. 🙂

    Reply
  81. Oh, LOL, Amanda. I love how all of us were bold and adventurous, whether dressed in frilly frou-frous or coonskin caps. No shrinking violets here! Hooray for girlpower!

    Reply
  82. Oh, LOL, Amanda. I love how all of us were bold and adventurous, whether dressed in frilly frou-frous or coonskin caps. No shrinking violets here! Hooray for girlpower!

    Reply
  83. Oh, LOL, Amanda. I love how all of us were bold and adventurous, whether dressed in frilly frou-frous or coonskin caps. No shrinking violets here! Hooray for girlpower!

    Reply
  84. Oh, LOL, Amanda. I love how all of us were bold and adventurous, whether dressed in frilly frou-frous or coonskin caps. No shrinking violets here! Hooray for girlpower!

    Reply
  85. Oh, LOL, Amanda. I love how all of us were bold and adventurous, whether dressed in frilly frou-frous or coonskin caps. No shrinking violets here! Hooray for girlpower!

    Reply

Leave a Comment