There’s a cool interview with me on Teen Skepchick! We talk about boys, clothes, makeup, Justin Bieber… no, no, no. Totally kidding. I’ve just always wanted to be interviewed by Teen Something magazine, and I’m letting my imagination run away with me. We talk about shifting identities, connections between skepticism and sexuality, career paths or the lack thereof, making atheism a safer place for teens to come out into, and more. Here’s an excerpt:
When you were a teen, where did you see yourself going in your adult life? Are you the person you thought you would be?
Honestly? I was kind of an aimless teenager. My goal as a teenager was to get into a good college where I knew I’d be happy — and I was very focused on that goal. I actually graduated high school in three years (which took a lot of work) so I could get the hell out of there and get on with my life. But beyond college, my future was kind of a blur. And it was still very much a blur once I left college. I took a long, long time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and while I’ve been writing professionally off and on since my late twenties, I didn’t get serious about it until I turned 40. For many years, I drifted from job to job, mostly based on what was catching my interest at the time. (And on what jobs were available at times when I needed to find new work!)
Which actually worked out really well for me. I know adults aren’t supposed to say that to teenagers — but it’s true. I do wish I’d gotten more serious about the writing earlier — I missed a lot of opportunities that I still regret. But drifting from job to job got me into some very interesting jobs. I’ve worked at an abortion clinic, a public library, a lesbian sex magazine, a gay newspaper, a sex toy company, a small press book publisher and distributor. Even my boring job at the ticket company exposed me to music and theater and dance and other culture that I never would have explored on my own.
And a lot of those “drifting” jobs opened professional doors. The job at the lesbian sex magazine was just a clerical job, but they were the first place to publish my writing. Ditto the gay newspaper — it was initially just a clerical job, but they eventually hired me to write as well. And most of my jobs exposed me to new political and cultural ideas, about feminism and sexuality and LGBT rights and censorship and so on — ideas I’m still exploring in my writing. I would much rather have a boring job at an interesting place than an interesting job at a boring place. I don’t know if I’d give that as general career advice… but it’s certainly been true for me.
To read more, read the rest of the interview. And if you feel inspired to comment here, please consider cross-posting your comments to the Teen Skepchick site — they like comments there, too. Enjoy!