Last night I volunteered at an annual fundraiser for 826 Boston, a tutoring and writing center. One of the great things that the organization does is publish students’ writing every year. How thrilling for children and teenagers to see their writing in a real book! This year’s book launched at the event. Actually, two books were launched. One with the writings of Greater Egleston High students, and the other from English High. During the event, students read excerpts, and then signed books afterward. It was amazing. Some great adult authors spoke, too: Sue Miller, Julian Houston, Charles Coe, and Andre Dubus III.
I learned that Andre Dubus III fell into writing. Because his father was a writer, I assumed he learned the craft from his papa. But, he shared that he didn’t live with his father when he was a child, so never thought about what his father did for a living. He started to write when the girl he was dating when he was 20 took a writing class, and asked him to read her writing.
Tonight, I saw photographer Mario Testino speak. You may not recognize his name, but you have definitely seen his work. He has shot many celebrities, and worked for every major fashion house and magazine. He was Princess Di’s favorite photographer. I was shocked to learn that he fell into photography! He studied economics and law in school. After a year of work, he realized he wasn’t happy. He decided to move to London. (I can relate.) His friend in London happened to be in photography school. And, finding that he needed to be enrolled in school in order to get a visa, he enrolled in the photography school! And..the rest is history.
I envy those who “fall into” successful, exciting careers. Sigh. We all can’t be so lucky, I guess.
However…There is something rewarding about making a conscious career change, versus the random fall. [Warning: Oprah brainwashing ahead] I have to remember that it’s never too late to find a new passion/career! Take Julian Houston (who was at the 826 fundraiser), for instance. He spent most of his career as a judge. He wrote his first novel at the age of 61.