Monday, February 7, 2011

Getting Personal

It's funny when life turns out exactly as you planned.
When I was at home a couple of weeks ago, my brother gave a drive that could read all of my old disks from college. Wait, so I'm not very tech savvy. I have no idea whether it's "disc" or "disk." I also think they might be called "floppy" even though they're hard and not at all like the actual floppy disc/k/s that I used in computer class at St. Mary's with our Apple 2C's. 

Anyway, one of the many fascinating files I found was the personal statement I wrote for grad school. In it, along with some brown-nosing, I told grad school admissions teams that I worked in theater and wanted to study children's literature. I did so with a shoe metaphor that was extremely clever, if I do say so myself. (Bragging alert: This personal statement did get me into two schools on full scholarships.) Strangely, a number of years later, I am working in theater and children's publishing. And I'm still wearing tall shoes. Very tall.

It's quite strange how everything worked out, actually. Obviously, life threw me some curve balls along the way, and the path I took to get to this place hasn't been smooth. But the bottom line is that I set out to accomplish something and I actually accomplished it. Isn't that crazy? I'm not sure if it's the Secret or the Power or Fate or God, or a combination of all of those, but whatever it is, it worked. You know, maybe personal statements are where it's at. They force you to sit down, evaluate your life, and hoodwink important people into thinking that you're setting goals. Maybe we should be required to write personal statements every four years or so. It might really help us shape our futures.

Errr...maybe I'll start mine later. Jersey Shore is on now.

My personal statement for grad school:

     “Miss Rosanne, do you wear those shoes just because they make you look taller?” asked one of my little urchins. 
     “No Steven,” I said, “they just have thick soles.  I wear them because they keep my feet off the ground.  Shouldn’t you be on stage now?”
      When Steven ran on stage to join his other partners in crime, I really started to think about what he had been asking.  I know that he was just trying to get a laugh for his friends by poking fun at his play director, but the question seemed to have more meaning than he had ever intended.
      That summer, I was trying to make myself seem taller.  I had to put on a strong front to keep order for thirty-five active kids in the middle of their summer vacation.  Not only that, but they actually had to give a decent performance in four weeks.  Talk about pressure.  When I went home after rehearsals, I cried to my parents and asked myself why I ever took on such a huge responsibility, but every morning from nine until noon, I donned my tall shoes and became “Miss Rosanne.”
      The graduate school application process again reminds me that tall shoes are an excellent foundation.  My undergraduate work has provided me with a solid basis, lending support and security to almost any future path.  With this base under my feet, I feel that I am ready to narrow my studies from a liberal arts background to English Literature and Composition.  Even more specifically, I hope to edit, publish, or review children’s literature.  Kids, like Steven, ask some darn good questions, and books either stimulate their curiosity or add to their knowledge.
      When I was younger, I always used to fill my summer hours with books of all kinds.  As I grew, I spent the school year reading and reviewing books for my mother, an elementary school reading specialist, when she did not have time for the task.  From sixth and ninth grade, I fell into a gap between the preteen books and the adult novels.  Since I could not find any interesting reading material, I reverted back to my mom’s elementary books.  Although this neglected spot has been partially filled since then, I want to make sure that the gap is closed permanently.     
      My play went on, of course, and many community members said that it was one of the best shows in years.  Steven, my favorite little critic, suffered from several bruised toes because he chose to wear sandals.  I told him that he should get a pair of taller shoes.

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