Never in my life would I have imagined that I would be emailed from prominent astronomers for my own little project of a kids’ novel. So far, I have had contact from two. Granted, I have only queried them, and they’ve replied that they want to know what this is about, but it’s a start. I can’t wait to see how either will respond! Of course I noted that anything they could help me with is absolutely at their convenience, so it may be a long wait. I’m so great at shooting myself in the foot, as I don’t want to be a burden.
Even so, I feel legitimized by the networking and consulting process. This is no longer just my writing into a void. There is professional interest in what I have to say. My sense from each of these astronomers is they appreciate their field being trotted out in front of a bunch of kids who may grow up to be interested in astronomy. I hadn’t really considered my book as being influential in that way. The thought may have previously hovered in the back of my mind, but now, wow! I could be pointing some kids toward science down the road, in that far off dreamy distance of published youth novel in the hands of real readers. Who would have thought it? I certainly didn’t, at least not consciously.
NASA has a rocket science research institute (I hope I have that right) up the road from my house. A block in the opposite direction is my son S’s Taekwando Dojon. S has been branching out from his narrow areas of interest — Dinosaurs, Godzilla movies, Calvin and Hobbes, and now Star Wars — to studying the solar system and claiming he will be the first man to land on Mars. He was telling a dad at Taekwando his intentions in rocket building, space travel, and Mars. That father said to me, “I work at NASA, here’s my card, I’ll bring him some stickers next class, as long as you email to remind me.” Of course, by next class, my little head went Ding! And I asked if he had any contact with astronomers. He didn’t, but since I emailed him, he has also fallen into my networking and nicely emailed me a link to NASA speakers and more. Well how about that.
I am also really excited that S is running a parallel interest to what I’m writing. He’s great at feeding me facts I can use, and we have something we can finally share enthusiastically, both ways. That NASA dad took one look at S after his speech and said, “You know how many of the engineers and designers I work with over there probably started out just like him? Most of them.” He also told S that he was just about the right age to make that Mars dream happen. Right now, a project is in the works with a speculated landing date of about 30 years from now. S has been going around telling everyone about it for the past week since their conversation. Ah, my son — the future rocket scientist, spaceship designer, and astronaut.
All of this must have been written in the stars.