Project Emily Advent: Day 1

Project Emily Advent: Day 1

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I can remember a few. There is photographic evidence of me attending a career day at preschool dressed as a homemaker. I also wanted to be a princess. My husband wanted to be a superhero. Good thing one of us is realistic. There was a time that I wanted to be a teacher. I think I was just fascinated with kindergarten play centers, which seemed adorable and very fun. I am still delighted by these sorts of things, like reading nooks and play kitchens and sensory bins.

When I was seven years old, I spent several days in the hospital after a surgery to correct, as I often put it, “a wonky esophagus”. Though my visit was a relatively short one, my mom and I went to visit the dedicated classroom for children spending extended stays in the hospital, long enough to warrant supplementation for their studies. We explored the classroom and met the teacher on staff.

I was totally fascinated by this teacher, whose sole purpose was to support the learning of children in wildly unusual circumstances. I began dreaming about being a teacher in some sort of unusual setting. Teaching in a hospital or juvenile detention center; tutoring professional athletes or the children of missionaries in the jungle. Lost on me was the reality that my own mother, who was homeschooling myself and my siblings, was also a very cool, alternative-style teacher to a small group of students in a location outside of a traditional classroom. But alas, kids are idiots.

The dream to be a teacher morphed into a desire to teach at the high school level, or even college if I could get my master’s degree. I started my bachelor’s in literature with the intention of getting a teaching certification so that I could teach high school English, but I soon realized that it wasn’t what I wanted.

I worked for some time as a children’s librarian at a public library, which was exactly as whimsical as it sounds. I got to spend time around children and books and science experiments and play kitchens, sans the immense pressure of academic results that many teachers experience. I enjoyed being in a role that was not a teacher but sort of teacher-adjacent.

I think that if you look closely at my childhood, it is wildly apparent that what I really wanted to be was a writer. I would never have told someone that I wanted to be a writer, probably because I had no idea that was a real job. I suppose I believed that books appeared out of thin air like magic, which is not at all true and is also a little bit true.

As a child, I almost always carried a book with me. But just as frequently, I carried a notebook and a pen. Though reading was my great passion, it seemed to me equally as essential to be prepared to take note. There always seemed to be something important to write down, whether an idea or observation or story. Today, I have large bins full of journals in various states of completion, some guided with questions, lined and unlined. There seemed to be so much in my head that needed a place to land. There is still.

Newsletter Sign-up

Get book reviews delivered right to your inbox.


On Beauty and Motherhood

I put on makeup every day for 30 days. I didn’t wear makeup every day before I had my daughter, so I surely didn’t prioritize it after she was born. One day in January, I realized that I liked how I felt when I wore makeup, so I thought I would conduct a little experiment. I wanted to see how it would make me feel to wear it every day for 30 days. Depending on the results, I may consider making a concerted effort to wear it daily.

My Top 10 Reads from 2023

I read some pretty phenomenal books in 2023— some of which will go on my list of all-time favorites. My top ten is dominated by nonfiction, yet funnily enough, novels hold the top two spots on my list. Five of the ten are memoirs, revealing a particular preference I have for that genre right now. In general, my reading ratios are 1 novel: 1 memoir: 1 additional nonfiction. I want to read more fiction this year.

Project Emily Advent: Day 25

My maternal grandfather, Papa, was a great and wild soul. He was particularly close with my sister, Bailey. He loved all of his grandchildren, and made a particular effort to show up in each of our lives. But Bailey was Papa's best girl. He was totally smitten with her. He was a friendly and warm person, but he could be bristly at times, and Bailey seemed to be the only person undeterred by his bad moods. She was every bit his equal in fortitude and stature of personhood.

Disclosure (Let’s be honest)
This website contains posts with affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission if you purchase a book I’ve linked— at no extra cost to you. I’ll always be upfront with you when a post is sponsored or a book is gifted. All books I recommend are books I actually read and enjoyed.
No joke.