I decided to be a writer somewhat late in life. Now, I had always been a reader. From my earliest memories of my mother reading to me, to the day I, reading over her shoulder, corrected her one too many times and she handed me the book to read myself, to the pile of books sitting next to me, reading and stories have formed a huge, crucial part of my life.
And, sure, I wrote some poetry when I was an adolescent, full of angst and pretension and, I suspect, some truly dreadful metaphors. I won a contest or two, contributed to the high school literary magazine, but I never seriously considered writing as a career. I grew up in an era where girls who showed affinity for math and science were strongly encouraged to pursue those fields. I was going to be an MD. Or a research scientist.
Fast forward to graduate school. Three years into my PhD in neurophysiology, I found myself at the Neuroscience Convention in New Orleans. 60,000 people convened there, all fields that touched on the realm of the brain and nervous system. I was also reading Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour. Going back and forth between Rice’s complex, lovely and haunting story to the endless lectures and poster sessions, talking to people who all seemed stressed, miserable and unable to talk about anything BUT neuroscience affected me deeply. I realized that I was stressed and miserable. Possibly depressed.
I knew I didn’t want to spend my life being a scientist.
So, I went home and sat down to think quietly. I cleared my mind and posed the question to myself. If I took away all the rules, all the expectations, all the “ifs,” “ands” and “buts” – what would be the perfect career? The answer popped up immediately, taking me by surprise.
I wanted to be a writer.
Then and there, I decided that I needed to do whatever it took to make that happen. That if my true happiness lay in being a writer, then that should be my priority.
Tomorrow: Jeffe Kennedy Day Two-Putting It Together, Making It Happen
Jeffe Kennedy took the crooked road to writing, stopping off at neurobiology, religious studies and environmental consulting before her creative writing began appearing in places like Redbook, Puerto del Sol, Wyoming Wildlife, Under the Sun and Aeon. An erotic novella, Petals and Thorns, came out under her pen name of Jennifer Paris in 2010, heralding yet another branch of her path, into erotica and romantic fantasy fiction. Since then, an erotic short, Feeding the Vampire, and another erotic novella, Sapphire, have hit the shelves. Her contemporary fantasy novel, Rogue’s Pawn, book one in A Covenant of Thorns, will be published in July, 2012. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and frequently serves as a guinea pig for an acupuncturist-in-training.