I didn’t grow up wanting to be a librarian. I either wanted to be a doctor, or in the starting rotation for the Mets.
I was a skinny kid with no control, so the pitching career was out. And doctoring lost its allure for no apparent reason.
I had ideas of being an artist. A funny thing happened to that, though. As a kid, I could draw very well. But as I grew into my teenage years, and slowly uncovered my vocation for writing, my drawing skills deteriorated as my writing grew better. Of course, one could easily say that was due to the fact that I spent more time writing than I did drawing. But don’t give me that psycho-mumbo claptrap. I traded one gift for another, a gift which I used more or less all right, for a gift which has sustained me all these years. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
But, there was still the matter of a career. I went into UCLA with the intention of entering its computer science program. Another funny thing happened, this time to my math and science skills: as I got better at writing, I became worse at math and science. This fact was brought home indelibly to me one quarter, where in a fit of madness I took physics and calculus at the same time. I pretty much bombed in both. That was the moment when I had to engage in serious reflection, and accept that I wouldn’t traverse the usual first-generation American trajectory of going to university and getting a degree in the sciences which would secure me gainful employment. I declared English as my major. My mother didn’t weep, and I spent the following three years very happily at UCLA.