When I was in junior school teachers would ask what I wanted to do when I grew up. I'd say, "Write books." and they would smile...
In high school teachers asked me what I wanted to do when I finished school. I said, "Write books."
And they said,"No, really, what do you want to do?"
I went away and thought about it... came back and replied,
"I want to write things that touch people."
...and they said, "No. What do you really want to do?"
So I stopped answering and somehow ended up in Commercial Art, which is a wonderful place to be if it's where you're meant to be, only it wasn't where I was meant to be.
I spent the next twenty years pretending to be an artist and hating most of it. The only plus to the experience is that I had the chance to work with authors from a completely different perspective - as an illustrator. I never told the authors I worked for that I wrote, it seemed presumptuous. I wrote and scribbled and typed, but most of that went into drawers and folders to lie unread by anyone beyond myself.
Then a strange twist of fate changed that - Something I had written was published in a local newspaper. It wasn't sent to the paper and it wasn't meant to be published, but it touched someone and they passed it on to an editor who saw something that, to him, was worth sharing. He printed it and when I phoned to ask who sent it to him he asked me who I wrote for.
Who I WROTE for? I was as shocked by his question as he was shocked when I told him I didn't write for anyone.
He said, "What are you doing with your life? Go and write!"
So I did. :-)
Now, many years on, I can finally look back and honestly say that I have accomplished my lifelong dream; the one a high school teacher forced me to dig deep and uncover... I write things that touch people.
That really is as good as it gets.