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.