Friday, November 25, 2011

I'm Thankful...

...for the obligatory Thanksgiving post.

I actually started this post on Wednesday, before remembering that the folks at Paper Hangover were planning a Friday Fives on thankfulness.  Since I'm now addicted to their weekly question, I decided to save my thankfulness post for today.

Addict.  Ahem, now back to my post...

What are the FIVE things you're thankful for?
1. My sister.  Not the best beta reader in the world (AHEM, Susie, sweetie, you've had my first draft since September.  Stop obsessing over whether or not teens will know what a merengue is and keep reading), but she's my favorite cheerleader, my idea-bouncer, and "she who shoots down character names."  She's calmed me down when I've had page requests and has heard every version of my query letter.  Without her, I wouldn't have fleshed out half of my plots and Jer would have been named Todd... Thatcher.  Uhm, yeah.

Plus, she makes great homemade pizza that she force-feeds me during out weekly "Once Upon A Time" viewings at her house.  I'd be thinner but lonelier without her.

Throwing the rest of my family and all of our various cats into this one, even if it is cheating.  Because I love all of them.  Tons.

2. Being an Engineer.  I did not want to study Engineering.  I hate math and machines make my head hurt.  In high school, I was in AP everything but math.  I won speech awards, the English medallion, essay contests, and took an optional extra class in the morning just so that I could fit in my art class.  I wrote novel-length fan fiction in my spare time and entertained my girl scout troop (co-leader of a troop) with off-the-cuff girl power fantasy stories.  No one expected me to go into engineering.

Except for my dad.  Who just so happens to be a Mechanical Engineer.  He dragged me to open houses for engineering programs at local universities, ignoring my liberal arts leanings.  And, during one visit, I met a girl who was designing a wheelchair specifically for women.  In that same visit, I met a woman who was working a feeding device for Christopher Reeve (while he was still alive and at the Kessler Institute) and a professor who challenged us with all of these great questions about pacemakers.  All of a sudden, the creative aspect of design engineering-- specifically for the human body-- intrigued me.  Four years later, I still managed to disappoint my dad by choosing to focus my career search on the design aspect of Mechanical Engineering and not power, like him.  I don't regret it-- there is enough creativity and art involved in what I do on a daily basis to keep me happy.

Now, product development engineering is helping me with the writing process.  The two development processes are eerily similar, paralleling everything from Design reviews to beta readers, Drawing revision controls to drafts.  As an engineer, I've worked on projects that took five years and multiple design cycles to hit the market as well as projects that will never see the light of day.  I've had concepts/designs torn apart by fellow reviewers only to implement changes to make them stronger.  I've learned patience, humility, and how to take my product and make it marketable/manufacturable/profitable.  I've actually learned to be energized by "no."  I want to think that these ten years of design have made me ready to pay my writing dues.

3. Skating and Dancing.  I'm a bookish person who loved to just sit and read or write.  When I was a kid, I'd regularly walk into walls, trip over my feet, and break my glasses.  Starting both ballet and figure skating as an adult, I had to admit that standing at a barre or doing a salchow did not come easily to me. 

That's why I love them.  They take (hard, sweaty, painful) work, but the end result is magical.  To have a little kid skate up to me and ask if I'm a "professional" and say that I'm the "best and prettiest skater ever!" (oh, the innocence of youth!) is a wonderful feeling.  To dance a contemporary number that leaves me so physically and emotionally exhausted that I can barely move afterwards is amazing.  They teach me endless patience, give me a creative outlet, and keep me in shape.

4. Books.  Do I even need to say more?  I love books more than chocolate.  I love books more than travel.  I'm afraid that all of these wonderful fictional boys in YA lit have totally ruined me for real guys (and may possibly be the reason why I'm still single?  Nah.)  I'm praying that someday they find a way to make a perfume that smells like books.  Yup, I love books.

I love books more than the internet/twitter.  And that's saying A LOT.

5. Having a chance to call two completely different worlds home.  Being bi-lingual and lucky enough to have a piece of my heart on two continents.  Being able to understand Saudade with every molecule in my being.  Being a first-gen kid is hard, but it's so worth it the moment that I step off of the airplane and into another culture, my other skin.

Those are my five!  What about you?

1 comment:

  1. A very interesting list of thankfulness, Isabel. You're bilingual, an engineer, a dancer, a figure skater, and a writer (but perhaps not in that order, and probably not all at the same time)--wow!

    I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!