Things I totally dug as a child:
- pen pals. I got those matches from the International Pen Friends thing in the backs of magazines, where you sent them a dollar and they sent you back tiny slips of paper with a name of someone in another country. I wrote a lot of letters, despite the fact that my mom hated buying stamps. (Clearly, I began annoying her early in life.)
- Snakes. And bugs. And puppies. And horses. And birds, and kittens, and chickens, and bats....and animals, okay? I loved me some critters.
- Nature study. I was that kid that saved up to buy field guides...and used them. I spent hours looking at puddles, with all the water-striders and weird larvae, and who spent more time outside than inside.
- Books. I was an avid reader. And that's an understatement. At one point, I was trying to read all the adult books in the library, in the fiction section, beginning with A. I think I made it to D before I found boys. I was, like, eleven-ish.
- Bikes. I loved them more at my grandmother's house, since she lived in a small town and I could just take off and ride around all day long unsupervised. At home, I wasn't allowed to go across the busy street near my house. So I did that. A lot. I was grounded a lot, too.
- Clubs. I had this thing about joining. Go figure. Or just making them up if they didn't exist.
- Newspapers...and papers, in general. I had a neighborhood newsletter, but my parents wouldn't give me money to photocopy it. So I started a fourth grade science newsletter instead, which I drew by hand and mimeographed in the office. I started self-publishing before it was a trend, yo.
- Rocks and stamps. I collected both. The nerd was strong with me, even then.
- Stories. I wrote a romance novel when I was twelve. It was awful. But I did go to the state Young Author's Conference twice -- one of my award-winning bits actually contained the line, "What a feast! Roast beast!" I think it was about Thanksgiving. The rest of the masterpiece was lost to the ravages of time, sadly.
- Erasers and little miniature stuff. My love for shaped and/or scented erasers is the stuff of legend. I'd bike to the K-Mart and buy ten of them for a dollar and spend the next week squealing. (Sadly, I would probably still squeal like that for erasers.)
I'm pretty sure it's my version of a midlife crisis, but I'm totally digging all of this stuff again.
(Or, y'know, never quit digging it.)
I look at this list and I'm kind of realizing how all of them wove threads through the rest of my life so far. I still have stacks of books. I'd still have a zoo in my house if I could. I still write stories. I have boxes and boxes of rocks. I'm in a naturalist training program. I'd bike all day, if it wouldn't kill me.
And all of it still makes me happy.
Which, I guess, is the whole point.