From The Literary Hub:
In most family pictures, I am standing with my two sisters, the middle daughter, the dark-haired one between two blondes. But in the Polaroid taken on my eighth birthday, October 27, 1980, I’m alone on the front porch of our house on Avenue J and East 32nd Street in Brooklyn, New York. In the picture, I’m wearing my new striped sweater and corduroy pants and my bangs are in my eyes. A crooked construction paper pumpkin is scotch-taped to the window. It’s the last photo taken of me before I became a writer.
Two weeks later, on a gold and blue November afternoon, I stood in our kitchen reaching for an apple and wondering what I should be when I grew up because my third-grade teacher at Our Lady Help of Christians had recently posed the question. She’d gotten angry when nobody said priest or nun.
Nurse, I’d lied. My mother worked in the ICU of the fortress-like Kings County Hospital, but I could not imagine doing so. Though my father and four uncles were firefighters, I could not have considered this, even if I’d been so inclined. Girls were not allowed in the FDNY (yet).
Then I thought, I’ll be an author. I’d always loved books. I would write them.
For a long time, I’d had a story in my head with a title and characters and a plot in perpetual revision. I could not believe I had never before thought of writing it down.
I dashed upstairs and found the Muppet stationery that I’d gotten for my birthday and had tossed aside as though it were a pair of socks. I took up a fresh pencil and began. A week later, I nearly quit in confusion because I could not translate the images in my head onto the page. But somehow, it did not matter that it had proved difficult. I’d already made up my mind: I would be a writer.
Link to the rest at The Literary Hub