A Little About Me

 

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a cave explorer.

 

Just kidding. I wanted to be a writer. But if I told you that, you’d probably say, “Oh really? Let me guess, you always had your nose in a book, right? Mmm. How original.”

 

And then, from all the way inside this computer, I’d hear you roll your eyes. 

 

So, I’ll tell you a better story about how I came to be a grown-up wanna-be writer. 

 

When I was a child, I wanted to be a cave explorer. Cave exploring is called “spelunking,” and that’s the coolest word ever, so that’s what I wanted to do. 

 

When I told my parents about my dreams, they looked at me very earnestly and said, “Finish your peas.”

 

I tried to explain, but then I realized that an even cooler word is “peripatetic,” which means “walking around-ish,” and even better than that is simply “word,” because it is self-describing.

 

Then I had an epiphany. I opened the dictionary in search of the ultimate best word ever, and stumbled across, true story: "sesquipedalian," which means “having many syllables.”

 

You can’t argue with perfection. This is the coolest word ever.  

 

By this time my peas were cold but nothing mattered anymore. I grabbed a pencil and made a list of all the self-describing words I could think of. 

 

     noun 

     written 

     black

     red

     polysyllabic

     unhyphenated

     pronounceable

 

And then I made a list of words that describe their own opposite:

     long

     monosyllabic

     unnecessarily-hypenated (because if it’s describing itself, then the hyphen is necessary… wait, did I just hear you roll your eyes?)

 

And I ended up with complete phrases that describe themselves, culminating in:

     Perfectly even dactylic tetrameter

     and,

     Slightly irregular dactylic tetrameter

 

As you might guess, these last entries were added while I was in college*, drinking lots of coffee late at night and studying these sorts of things for a degree in English, not Spelunking, and from there, there was really no going back. 

 

I wandered a bit, though. I had jobs. I even went to culinary school** and worked as a pastry cook at one of New York City's finest restaurants***. I can make a mean hazelnut daquoise. 

 

But I ended up right back where I started. Collecting words and telling ridiculous stories. 

 

I’m now a member of SCBWI and the 12x12 Challenge, and I regularly participate in kid-lit fun stuff like ReFoReMo and Storystorm. I was selected this past January by the amazing picture-book author Laura Gehl as her mentee through Tara Luebbe's Writing With the Stars mentorship challenge, and I’m actively seeking representation for several picture book manuscripts.

 

None of which uses the word “sesquipedalian.”

 

#amquerying

 

 

 

 

 

*The University of Notre Dame. Go Irish!

**The Institute of Culinary Education, NYC

***The Modern, in the Museum of Modern Art, NYC

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JMaherWrites (at) gmail (dot) com