I had finally turned off of the path I thought I was supposed to take and turned onto the path of what I was supposed to do. What I wanted to do. I moved from the buildings that held Political Science courses and general classes to the English department. I started to read and write about classic literature. I knew that this was the path that would lead me to writing. I was a year and a half out from the first vision that would become Ruinwaster’s Bane. I didn’t know the whole story, but I knew I wanted to write it.
I attended office hours with my professor who was a Milton scholar and a Lancelot Andrews scholar though I didn’t learn about the latter until later.
I was so proud of myself. I was going to be a fantasy author.
“You should talk to Pat.”
“She’s a teacher here and fantasy author. Her office is just down the hall.”
I was gobsmacked. There was someone here who would understand me. Someone who could tell me how to write the story. Turning to English as a major had been the right choice.
I scheduled an office visit later that week and showed up promptly for my meeting with her.
She was a lithe woman. A thick braid of light red hair rested down the left side of her chest. Thin gold wire glasses rested on her plain face. She was astute and thoughtful. Her buttoned shirt with buttoned pockets and corduroy pants made her look like an archeologist not an English teacher. Books and papers were arranged meticulously on her desk. Windows lined the office. They looked down onto the greensward of the campus between the English building and business and administration buildings. I had never seen a view from this perspective.
She offered me a seat. I didn’t know anything about her books, had no idea what to expect. All I had was my excitement and my certainty. But I had no idea how to achieve my goal.
All I could tell her was about my desire and my idea. Where do I begin? What do I do? How do I write it?
I had no idea what it meant to write. I think I thought that wanting it was enough. I know that in my mind I just moved to the interview portion of my dreaming. Book written and published and just available now to tell the world about my story and my brilliance. I simply had no idea how to go about it.
At the time, Nike had a huge marketing campaign. Everyone had seen it, knew it, and said the phrase. When I finally gave her a moment to speak, she simply said to me, “Just do it.”
I fumbled out excuses and questions.
She repeated the phrase, “Just do it.”
Problem was, I didn’t know how. But I did learn a lot from her. I learned that it could be done.