So, everyone, let's get to know Jessica a little better!
MAMAS, LET YOUR BABIES GROW UP TO BE COWBOYS
By Jessica McHugh
My mother thought putting me into Kindergarten early was a huge mistake. Although I was a bright child, I apparently didn’t interact with other kids easily. Instead, I spent hours in my own imaginary worlds. Being anti-social is not something I remember, but I do remember spending a lot of time playing make-believe as a kid. Whenever my family planned an outing, I tried my damndest to wriggle out of it. I wanted to stay home by myself. I wanted to play—and as I aged, I got the feeling my parents were none too comfortable about it. My brothers would tease me relentlessly, and I never understood why. When I was a pre-teen, my parents even blocked Nickelodeon on our cable because they felt it contributed to my continued “immaturity.”
At the time of the Great Nick-Blocking, I thought it was stupid. Years later, after hearing my mother’s confession about being tempted to pull me out of Kindergarten, as well as my inability to connect with other kids, I thought, “Hey, she must’ve been seeing something I wasn’t.” But this past year, while using my childhood diaries as research for my YA book, “Darla Decker Hates to Wait,” I realized just how social I actually was—make-believe worlds and all. I wasn’t immature. I was just Jessica. I was having fun. Okay, so my fun in those younger years consisted of pretending I was a unicorn in captivity…or an overworked peasant girl…or a vicious soldier…but what was so wrong with that?
The answer is, and has to be, NOTHING. Look at who I am today. I’m an author who spans the speculative genre, writing fantasy and horror, adventure and science fiction. I write about unicorns and peasant girls and vicious soldiers. I’ve never been diagnosed or suspected as having any shade of mental illness and am generally regarded as a likable person. The truth is, as that girl lost in her own world, I was just a writer in training. I was, and still am, just Jessica. I’m still playing make-believe, and I’m still happier than 70% of people I encounter on a daily basis.
That’s why fiction is so precious to me. I have to spend 8 hours of my day being an adult. When work’s over, I just want to play. Whether it means writing a novel, editing short stories, going out with friends, or cuddling with my wonderful husband on the couch, I always want to feel that spark of youth, and I believe fiction—art, really—keeps that alight in me. It keeps me playful.
So, Mamas, keep an eye on your babies, but don’t be afraid if their imaginations are a little wild. They might just be writers in training.
Thank you Jessica for joining us today. It's been great having you here. Lets show people some of your work!
Below are the links to some of Jessica's reviews.