I’ve been reading, since the age of four, anything I could get my hands on. First it was an old leather bound dictionary set high on a shelf in the study; I loved the feel of the book, the delicate pages, the smooth coolness of the leather, and I loved to discover the words contained inside. My favourite gift, still, is a full set of the Encyclopædia Britannica given to me when I was 10 years old. It’s far out of date now, but at the time it was an apparently endless supply of information with which to sate my curiosity, conveyed by that most potent of sources, the written word.
I began creating stories on paper just as soon as my hands were able to follow. Distant history, the far reaches of science, and fantastical worlds so different from this one, I read them all. Technical manuals, recipe books, and fiction; I went everywhere with a book, a pen, and paper. When I wrote stories, I interwove the fantastical with the practical, the mundane with the magical. I love to see how these topics interact in a story.
But of course, I cannot spend all of my time staring at pages. It’s entirely tempting, certainly, but I occupy myself with other passions and hobbies.
When I’m asked by someone what it is that I do, I tell them first and foremost that I am an engineer. It’s what I do as a job, but more than that, it is how my brain functions, how it interprets the world. When I was learning to read that dictionary, I was keen to know the words; but I was keen, moreso, to understand what made them words. I taught myself roots, stems, and prefixes from Latin and Greek so that I could see how words in English work, how they are formed or broken apart. I was fascinated, in fact, because it gave me the ability to see words I didn’t know, and know them, and to see how they might be made.
That is my thought process even still. I need to understand how something works — I need to see the guts. I have this precise thought every time I see a Tesla, in fact.
On my own time I like to make things out of other things: I like to make bots out of broken bits [Tempest the dragonbot is a long time in coming], bake breads and tarts and make dumplings of every sort, and repurpose old tech. I like to sew long skirts and wool shawls and swishy capes, and work with leathers to make sheaths, shoes, phone covers, and apparently ancient tomes; and I like to experiment with music making, for myself and others. Occasionally I play video games with no real redeeming value.
But of course, I cannot spend all of my time indoors. It’s entirely tempting, certainly, but I love to be active outside as well.
I was involved with many sports as a child, among them vaulting, tennis, archery, swimming, and gymnastics. I ride horses still, and make use of my bows, but more often I go hiking; rain or shine, I’m happy to venture into the wilderness. It’s always enjoyable, but do keep away from the bears.
If you’re curious to know more, I’ve compiled a few very BuzzFeed-esque lists for your perusal. Go on, you know you are…