Yesterday I had to use a Wiki link to explain a reference I’d made to Alex P. Keaton. Today someone mentioned watching “Animaniacs” while in junior high. But see, it couldn’t have been junior high. It was college, in the dorm lounge, when none of us could be bothered to get dressed on Saturdays. Ok, so not too far off from being a tween, except more (highly illegal back then you have no idea) pot brownies. Don’t even think about 9/11. People did not first hear about the Towers falling while in a classroom. They were at work, like normal humans. And they sure as hell didn’t learn about it out of a textbook. That’s boggling.
Nothing puts aging in perspective like popular culture touchstones. However, I found something yesterday had made me feel both ancient and very, very pleased. My favorite current band is Bastille, fronted by 31-yo Dan Smith. He’s ten years younger than me. Ten is acceptable. (Thinking dirty things about 23yo Harry Styles…that’s a serious reach.)
The Tweet I saw referred to Dan as “gramps” and congratulated him on the correct usage of a slang term. (Don’t ask. I didn’t look it up on Urban Dictionary, so it’s lost to me now.) She said, “You can be one of the cool kids.” The girl’s profile said she was sixteen. I was sixteen when U2 released Achtung, Baby, and Bono had seemed like an elder statesman, so I guess her perspective fits. Takeaway: Wow, some wee hatchlings think he’s ancient. But also: Goodie for me! Maybe Harry Styles isn’t that out of reach. After all, that Twitter girl was only eight when One Direction debuted.
When I came to the gut-clenching realization that I was going to stop writing, I didn’t have Carina Press in mind as the obvious next step in my life. That was a fortunate accident of timing! The application process began in October.
Before learning of the opportunity, I’d already embarked on my three non-editing, non-mom, non-housewife ventures. First was to return to my favorite place on earth: Six Flags Great America. Every Halloween season I work at Fright Fest as a scare actor. I get paid to dress up and scare the crap out of people. (Legally.) I’m already looking forward to next season!
I also began training as a docent for the Kenosha Civil War Museum. It’s the only Civil War museum in the country dedicated to the war as viewed through the lens of the Midwest. Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the territories of Minnesota and Iowa contributed more than one million troops to the Union Army, or just under half its total strength. I had no idea when I started. It’s the first stat I quote when people ask, “Why a Civil War museum in Wisconsin??” I lead students and adult groups through guided tours and interactive school activities. So far I’ve only been shadowing, but I’ll be testing to go solo sometime in March.
Finally, I joined Varsity Tutors in July as an online tutor, where I maintain a client base of high school and college students. I also take instant requests for help. (Those requests, perhaps unsurprisingly, pop up like whack-a-moles on Sunday evenings.) I’ve been teaching all varieties of history and literature. As with leading the Civil War tours, I get the excitement from teaching, which I love, but without all the administration guidelines!
Angela James, Editorial Director of Carina Press, made the announcement over Twitter today. I’m a really real editor now. Woo! Official links will pop up as the week continues. I’m super curious to learn more about my five fellow new hires, and to share with everyone what we’re eager to acquire.