Follow Your Passion
Growing up, while I imagined someday writing the great American novel, my mother and the women in my village saw me, chalk in hand poised over a blackboard. Back then, teaching was one of the few career choices available to women in general, and to women of color in particular.
I wrote sporadically. Initially, stories to teach my younger sister to read. Clearly a savant, she could add large sums in her head but had problems reading See Dick Run and other childhood primers.
As a teenager I wrote poems. Later, as a single woman, poems were written to vent my frustrations with dating. Two pieces, Ode to That Lying Scum, and Swinging from Chandeliers: Does the Warranty Cover This? came about before finally finding my ‘Mr. Right.’
What made you decide to finally realize your lifelong dream?
It took a big, big birthday staring me in the face (the big 5-0), along with that chin hair that continued to reappear, even after tweezing with industrial strength tweezers. That the same one, when it returned, showed up with an entourage, and took up residence around my mouth. That catapulted me into realizing my dream.
My lifelong dream became a reality with the first of The Venus Chronicles, or what women have coined ‘girlfriend’ or ‘feel good’ books.
Still, who would have thought following career choices that have included wearing combat boots and camouflage, (twenty years in the military), facilitating group therapy sessions, and spending a lifetime in higher education, a person would find success writing about wardrobe malfunctions?
Today, stories I once wrote in my head, practically write themselves down on paper. By exploring a multitude of experiences, and dabbling in varied occupations and interests—and the lessons I have learned from each and every experience I’ve finally done it. I’ve become a writer.
As such, I get to chart my own path. There are few limits. On a good day I get to inspire others. And, if I’m really lucky, I get to make them laugh.
Did you face any obstacles?
No. I guess my first book wrote itself and published itself. I had a few rejections. When someone rejects a submission, it’s not that it’s inferior, they may not need the subject.
Were there people who tried to discourage you?
I am not easily discouraged and I didn’t let the naysayers get to me. I am the biggest supporter of my books. Some people said things like, ‘I hear it’s hard to get published. I always wanted to write, where do you find time to do it?’
I would get up early in the morning…on Saturdays when my mind was relaxed. Sometimes ideas would come while I was on my way to work and I would record them.
How did you feel when you finally accomplished your lifelong dream?
It was unbelievable. I am pretty good at marketing and took advantage of the Christmas gift-giving season. People bought books for stocking stuffers, sometimes five or 10 at a time.
The best part was when women would come up to me and say how much they enjoyed my book. There were women who said, ‘I usually don’t like to read books, but I love your books.’
What advice would you give to others who are contemplating finally living their dream?
Just do it. Find ways to do it. People say I’m a role model because I am doing what I love. I was following my own passion. You have to start. If you are a painter and you are contemplating and don’t know how, take lessons.
Through the years, I’ve learned living your dream and following your passion or purpose, is not for the faint of heart. Like many writers, I’ve had enough rejection slips to wallpaper my guest bathroom. Truth be told, there have been times where it felt like someone ripped open my soul and tapped danced on it. However, before I knew it, I would find myself jotting down notes for another book or article.
To read more about Carol Gee and her books, visit The Venus Chronicles.