Growing Up With a Prophecy: Destined to Be an Author
Some authors know early on that they are destined to become writers. For me, it was my mom who knew that I was going to be a writer before I ever picked up a pen. But growing up, there were few indications to support her conviction.
If you had asked me when I was nine what I was going to be when I grew up, I would have said, “A gymnast.” I had just mastered a back-flip, hadn’t yet hit my growth spurt, and was obsessed with the 1976 Olympics and Nadia Comăneci.
If you had asked me that same question when I was sixteen, I would have said, “A microbiologist.” I was five feet, ten inches tall, a scholar-athlete, and enamored with science.
If you had asked me in my twenties, I would have said, “A professor.” I was passionate about history and teaching.
“...what I was going to be when I grew up...unequivocally, ‘A writer.’”
Had you asked my mom at any of those times what I was going to be when I grew up, she would have said unequivocally, “A writer.”
Indeed, throughout my life, my mom would suggest this career path, particularly when she felt I had made a misstep, like when I left my Ph.D. program in European History to wait tables and surf.
“Tina,” she would say, dragging out my name in her Finnish accent, “you know you could still be a writer.” She would then pause before adding, “You should be a writer.”
With this kind of certitude, you’d think that the last piece of my writing she’d read—my third-grade book report on owls—had been so compelling and scintillating that my mom could not help but envision a literary future for me. But really, she based her faith on an astrological chart my parents had commissioned when I was born. In that chart, there was some planetary alignment that prompted the astrologer to suggest that I would be a writer, and this intimation convinced my parents that it was a fact. Although, it was my mom who felt it her duty to remind me of this prognostication throughout my life. But like most kids and many adults, I didn't want to do what my mom said. So the more she said it, the more I dug in my heels. I was a surfer. I was an artist. I was a lapsed academician. But, I was most certainly not a writer.
When, as an adult, I read Harry Potter, I had real empathy for Harry’s plight. While my astrological forecast was not nearly as ominous as Professor Trelawney’s divination for Harry—I wasn’t the “…one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord…”—my own prophecy cast quite a long shadow in my life. It’s not that I objected to the act or art of writing. I’d written a Master’s Thesis and had begun writing a dissertation. What I struggled with was the inescapable notion of living with a prophecy hanging over my head and the doggedness of my mom’s belief in it, because neither gave me a choice in the matter. And as stubborn as my mom was about my future calling, I was even more adamant about my prerogative to choose what that calling would be.
“...I allowed myself to explore writing for my own enjoyment, a secret that I kept to myself.”
As a result, I was thirty-eight before I allowed myself to explore writing for my own enjoyment, a secret that I kept to myself. I was forty-six before I had written a story that I wanted to share. Even then, it took the encouragement of a life coach to overcome my reluctance about "being a writer." It was another five years before I became a published author. But, the moment I had a publishing contract, I knew exactly to whom I was going to dedicate my first book, The Song of All: my mom.
Rhondi Vilott, Tina Lecount Myers, R.A. Salvatore & Patrick Rothfuss at WonderCon)
My mom died when I was forty-three, never knowing that I had begun to write. I couldn’t tell her because I couldn’t bear to hear, “I told you so.” I couldn’t risk hearing those words for fear that they would take away the great joy I’d found in writing by reminding me that I’d had no choice.
I know, without a doubt, were my mom here she would likely say, with a big smile and twinkle in her eye, “A mother is always right.” And, she usually was. She had a much better track record than Professor Trelawney.
But in a way, I was right, too. I chose to write. I chose to write for myself, first and foremost. And then, I chose to be a writer. There ends the prophecy. What I do as a writer is entirely up to me.
Tina LeCount Myers is a writer, artist, independent historian, and surfer. Born in Mexico to expat-bohemian parents, she grew up on Southern California tennis courts with a prophecy hanging over her head; her parents hoped she'd one day be an author. Tina lives in San Francisco with her adventurer husband and two loud Siamese cats. The Song of All is the first book of the epic fantasy trilogy The Legacy of the Heavens, followed by Dreams of the Dark Sky. For more information about Tina and her upcoming projects, follow her on Facebook or visit her website, where you can sign up for her newsletter to receive announcements about book releases and giveaways.