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RealizationsSeptember 7, 2007

It is not new for me to discover brand-new obvious things. Like when I was asked about how I got into dispatching. "Well, I went to school forever and ever and got a Master's degree in English and creative writing, and then I decided I hated teaching, so then I got a job that requires a high school diploma." And then (this was a couple of years ago) I remembered something.

Oh, my. When I graduated from high school, I was accepted to good schools. But I was one of those kids who just wasn't quite ready to fly the nest. I decided to do the community college route after taking a semester off. (My parents worried I'd never go back.)

And I remembered this: I picked up a application to be a dispatcher for the Pismo Beach Police Department. I think I filled it out -- I don't remember if I ever got to the testing process or not. But I remember desiring it, thinking it would be a great job.

So here I am, years later, fully college edemacated, working as a 911 fire/medical dispatcher. And yep, it's a great job (especially when one can fit the writing in at work, like I did today and yesterday).

I remembered something else, that's the point I'm getting to, oh so very slowly. While at work, I can't monopolize the internet computer that I share with my partner, so I have to write by hand and type it out later. I think the very process of writing longhand, and writing romance at that, brought back a memory: Me, aged ten or eleven, lying in a hammock on a warm summer day, Sugar Daddy candies close at hand, reading my handwritten romance novel out loud to my best friend Evelyn (Evelyn Bailey, if you google yourself and find yourself here, email me, wouldja?). I wonder if I still have that little novella. I know I didn't finish it (even back then I had trouble with endings) but I remember it was something about a boy (older, at least sixteen) who kissed -- KISSED -- the protagonist who was probably named something like Violette or Meaghane. I think I got to the kissing scene, wrote it, and then ran the hell away, not knowing where to go after that (and thank god I didn't).

(Hi, do I like parentheses today or what?)

It was nice, though. Writing by hand, suddenly remembering that. I have lofty ambitions sometimes, like everyone else. But honestly, I've always been more drawn to the more prosaic. Yep, I'm smart and driven, but I work a blue-collar job (literally) and I want to write romance novels (among other things).

Nothing wrong with either.

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Today at the library I picked up a book entitled The Close Knit Circle by Kerry Willis. Rachel, you are mentioned and pictured therein. Hurrah! (And sorry if you've blogged this before and I missed it.)

Hi Rachel! I write romance by hand as well. It's a lot easier to take a notebook and go off with it than making myself sit inside in front of a computer (no laptop) when I'd rather be sitting at the park or at a coffee shop. I think it makes you feel more connected to the story because it takes more effort to write those words on paper than it does to just pop them into the computer.

Ha! Well you're not he only one with an English degree that's working in some other entirely different career! I was an english major - thought I'd get a PhD in literature and teach at a university for the rest of my life. Well - that didn't end up happening. I graduated with my english degree - but didn't enjoy teaching either. I now work as a computer programmer. It was a long round about road to get here - but I wouldn't change it for the world!

I thought my daughter and I had invented "edumacated." Great minds think alike?

huzzah, what a nice story! (and, i love parentheses, too!)

Educated blue collar workers, represent! I'm card-carrying union, too. (And I *actually* carry my card.)

M. was college-educated blue collar, as well--until he became the rare bird, the rural stay-at-home dad...

Ah yes, writing long-hand. While I enjoy typing on a keyboard & I do type faster on there, I find it fun to write long-hand. Of course my hands can't take it anymore, but I'm redeveloping my calluses and off I go!

Oh my god Rachael - isn't it weird how you come back to things over & over? I had the same experience when I quit my "good" job and went to culinary school a few years ago - it hit me that as a kid I loved messing around in the kitchen & hadn't done it in forever. And now - I teach! Something that I've also always been drawn to & never realized it til a couple of years ago... I can't believe how many times I've supressed my natural urges in the attempt to do something expected. Thank god I outgrew that! (I think!)

Bless you, I might have to send this post to my brother. I have an MA in edumication(BA in Engrish) and instead of committing the slow suicide and teach again, I've been temping in HR departments and Accounting offices, both things I dabbled with before the forces of the university bestowed double sheepskins on me...I'm happy for the first time in forever! But my brother thinks I'd be HAPPIER using my degree...(I like ellipses and ()'s)...had he one of his own, maybe he'd have a different mindset.

With no transition: Writing stuff by hand puts a whole different spin on a work. My first draft of anything is still planned, outlined, and filled in on paper. I love the feeling.

You just get cooler by the minute. I can't believe you do the job you do and stay sane enough to string words together... my xanax consumption would go through the roof if I had to listen to people struggling on the other end of a phone line. I *was* one of those people on the other end of the line once to 911 and I'm just so impressed with how calm that man made me feel. Now, if you tell us you write with fountain pens I really will pass out from your coolness! Glad things seem to be sailing smoothly... and Lala's snap of Digit was smashing! Cami

I remember a girl I went to high school with. We ran in totally different circles, but we had a conversation once (that actually made me wish I had gotten to know her better) about our futures. She said she wanted to be a dispatcher for the highway patrol. I was stunned. Not that I don't think that is a fantastic job (and really takes a certain type of person to be successful at), but that I had always thought of her as "tough" and a bit outside the law. I hope she followed her dream and enjoys her life.

I got a bachelor degree in biology and english for secondary eduction and they were bigger and meaner than me and so now I am an office manager. But it was fun (the college degree)!

When I want to crank something out quickly, I'll type it out on the computer. When I want to think about it more, I prefer to write it out by hand.

Cheers from this Florida-based college-edemacated (love that!)graduate (BA in french) who is now a knitting, reading, occasionally writing, cat-loving, hyphen- and parentheses-using 9-1-1 dispatcher!

It's a great job, isn't it?

Rachel-whenever I find myself struggling with a scene writing it out longhand really helps to connect with my characters. There's just something so basic about pen and paper, I think we bring more emotion to our writing with pen and paper too, that's just me but it seems my writing is just, I don't more, more real when I write in a notebook or on a napkin or any scrap piece of paper I can get my hands on. My problem is hate going back and typing it all up.

That's a cool memory to share; handwritten novella at age 10! Cool! My first yearnings to write a novel were when I was about 7 or 8, and I wrote about 2 or 3 notebook pages before losin' interest. Didn't even do the creative writin' thing till I was in grad school a few years back. Funny the twisting roads we take. I hear ya on the prosaic thing, man. My interests are similarly popular among the masses. Funny, that.

There is something wonderful about the handwritten word - typing can disappear like the tide has taken it or change and change again, but a handwritten something is special - it shows where you were in your head when your wrote it - even something as ordinary as a list... when someone picks up your handwriting years from now it is like a hand touch from you to them. More handwriting, thats what I say

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.

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