07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Finding Balance

I tend to be an all-or-nothing kind of person. When I set my mind on a goal, I pursue it without reserve. For instance, in high school, I loved science. I loved it so much, I dropped AP English so I could take AP Biology and AP Chemistry. I joined the Science Club and baked superconductors in the school kiln.

But I’ll never forget a scholarship interview I had with some engineers. They laughed that I had included some awards for poetry in my scholarship portfolio. “A poetry writing engineer.” I can still feel the heat in my face as one man shook his head in disbelief.

Only a few months later I attended a Department of Energy science camp at Lawrence Berkley Laboratory and realized what a life of science might mean for me – sleeping on a cot in the lab so I could run experiments day and night. I knew I wanted more out of life than a lab.

Once again, that all-or-nothing side of me kicked in, and I turned my back on science in pursuit of the written word. I immersed myself in Stephen King, Anne Rice, Jean Auel, and Andre Norton. I majored in English in college, and even started my first novel as my senior thesis. Fantasy, Romance, Horror. I wanted to write it all.

Now, twenty years later (yes, that’s telling my age a little) I have finally found my “voice.” And guess what? It happens to be smack dab in the middle of my two favorite subjects – science and fiction. I guess the pendulum had to swing both ways before coming to rest.

Do you have a passion that influences other parts of your life? How have you found a balance?

© Tam Linsey, 2011. All rights reserved.

Cross posted at www.TamLinsey.com


Sarah Raplee said...

I love how you've combined your passions, Tam.

For me, my passion is using my god-given talents to make a positive impact on the world, bring people together and help them to understand themselves.

As a little girl, I wanted to be a writer. I learned so much from books! In high school, I thought I wanted to be a wildlife biologist. I'd always loved animals and biology had opened a whole new world to me. But I wanted a family more than I wanted to live in a tent and study animal behavior. (Sound familiar?) And still, I wrote.

I've always loved learning new things, problem-solving, having adventures, and traveling. And meeting people, of course!

So after a long time I returned to my childhood dream with the experience, support, direction and confidence to make it come true.

Tam Linsey said...

We sound very similar, Sarah :)

Alyssia said...

Wow, I love this post, Tam. :)I guess my love for history and English is what spurred me into the historical fiction genre. I tried to write contemporary, even enjoyed it for, like, 4 chapters... But in the end, I went running back to Regency, Victorian, even Medieval England/Ireland/Scotland. That was my first love as a kid in school, and I guess it always will be.

B. A. Binns said...

We've travelled similar paths, although I did do the science route first, Biochemistry and Computer Science. Never had to sleep in a cot inthe lab, thank God, but I did spend the night in a hospital bed when I worked at the University of Chicago clinical chemistry labs. (The things we do for our passions).

I learned to create in the sciences, and now I'm creating in the world of literature.

Judith Ashley said...

Thoughtful post, Tam. I love the picture of the rock...that I can relate to - sometimes there is a very small piece keeping us connected to our world. It's hard for me to identify an all consuming passion - what I can say is that having a life filled almost to the brim with joy and happiness is something I focus on each day. And, that focus does keep me in balance, brings me back from the swings to the dark-side, and provides me with what I need to write, raise my granddaughter, be with my friends, take care of myself - all those small and not so small events that make up my life.

Tam Linsey said...

Alyssia, I tried contemporary, too! ANd while I enjoyed it, It wasn't my passion.
B.A., Love to hear of your experience in the sciences.
Judith, a full life should be a goal of most writers, I think. It gives us fodder for the next novel :)