I have been writing since I was 2-3 years old. Apparently one of my first works would best be classified as Muppet Baby fanfic, a prospect which makes me shudder slightly. In elementary school there was the “Detective Ben” series, with glasses for the logo since I started wearing glasses in the 1st grade. By 4th Grade there was “Trapped: A Space Adventure” which contains elements of what would later become my Atlantia series, and by 7th ad 8th grade I was writing early drafts and outlines of stories I am still revisting to this day.
Of course I would never let this “early work” see the light of day, and there is a strong instinct for me to discard ideas that come from “immature” periods of my life. Even as I revisit the Atlantia story, which was my first finished novel my senior year of high-school, I find myself needing to rewrite the entire thing. At the same time, however, I’m still in love with the basic narrative, and have been shaping it and maturing it since that first story in the 4th grade, to the more current, and readable iteration.
I’m 27 and I think it would be a little weird to say that I’ve been writing for a quarter century, but in some ways that’s how long I’ve had a writing passion.
Something a little more manageable is fractals. I learned about fractals for the first time in the 6th grade, 15 years ago. I wrote a number of fractal programs and papers in High-School, including some which portray some alarming views of art colleges, and have continued to write fractal imaging programs through college and beyond. I’ve learned more about the history and current practices of fractals, as well as written about them on this blog several times. More than any other subfield of mathematics or computer science, fractals fascinate me. They are a passion, one that I can rightly say I’ve had for fifteen years.
I guess what I’m getting at is that I still feel pretty young. I’m hoping that I’ve been alive at most a third of my remaining lifetime. I’m nowhere near the lifetime achivements of writers like Asimov, or mathematicians like Dr. Mandelbrot, or accomplished singers (I’ve been singing in choirs since 6th grade or so til last year). But I think it is accurate to say that some of my passions have been around for decades. Even programming, my profession for which I have only been gainfully employed for about five years, is something I’ve really been doing for about 12.
Obviously we do not want to live solely in glory days of the past. We want new ideas and new explorations beyond the things we thought about in High-School. But it would be a mistake I think just to throw out those ideas because they weren’t “mature” enough. We are the sum total of our experiences, and while it may take us years to find who we really are, some parts are apparent earlier than others.
6 responses to “When Do Passions Begin?”
I vote for youthful passion. There’s nothing like it.
Can I have another serving please?
I’m sorry, sir, but there are people waiting for your table. And I’m afraid you’ve racked up quite the bill as it is. Cash or credit? JK, Chuck!
Do you remember when you were 13 and you knew everything?
And then you discovered boys/girls and you became a quivering mass of indecision? Ah those were the days.
Indeed. A little scary to think I’m already more than twice that age.
I like “quivering mass of indecision”. That still describes some moments of life.
I hope I’m still doing the things I’m passionate about now when I’m 27. (Although, that’s not for, like…forever.) I also hope that I’ll find some kind of value in the things I do now, as you did of your earlier writing.
I’m just starting with the whole “What am I going to do with my life?” thing, and anything like this interests me. I find it really cool that maybe I’ve already found what I’m going to do for the rest of my life, even if I don’t know it yet.
I love how you and Chuck made me feel both young and old at the same time. From my “limited” experience I would say that something valuable comes out of any period you pursue something with passion. Some of it is cringe inducing, but at the very least it was the groundwork for the awesome stuff you’ll do later. Personally I’ve been finding some of my earlier work insufferable but informative. Good luck on the whole finding what you love thing.