I remember the conversation very well. As if it were yesterday. It was a wake-up moment for me. Not a bad one, one that made me evaluate where I was at the time. The question was simple, “do you have a backup plan.” I was around 19 years old. I had published a poem. It was called “Seven Days Journey in an open boat, in search of the sun.” I think I even got 20 dollars for that poem being published. I was over the moon as the expression goes. That was when my father, and then my grandfather asked me the question. I was, as the Harry Chapin Song Tax says, “going to be a writer.” I was a published poet. What more could be in store such a moment?
My dad was, first to ask, “what is your backup plan.” I am sure my mother asked as well. I know the two of them mentioned my budding poetry career to my grandfather. Who asked the third, or fourth or more times, I was after 19, and the distance between my ears and my brain was 20 times more than it is now. I was 10 feet tall and published. “Do you have a backup plan?” Few writers make enough money from their writing to live on that income. If few writers do, there are even fewer poets. It wasn’t the do you feel lucky conversation. It was merely asking did I have a plan in case my primary goal didn’t work out? The answer was yes.
I was going to go to college and become a political scientist. Well, that wasn’t meant to be, I found it hard to enjoy the constant battle of politics. So my backup plan became finishing college, I decided at the end of my sophomore year, what should have been my junior year, to switch at that time. I was going to become a teacher like my father. But unlike my father, I much preferred working with children, not high schoolers. I can honestly say it was the best possible backup plan to have. I enjoyed teaching while I did it. I was bound for other things then but didn’t know it. I will say I do still write poetry, and sometimes I share that poetry here or other places, but now my focus is technology.
So yes, grandpa, mom, and dad, I did have a backup plan that, in the end, became my only plan!
This work is Copyright DocAndersen. Any resemblance to people real or fictional in this piece is accidental (unless explicitly mentioned by name.)