Today I did a presentation at Seneca College, Newnham campus, to a group of students in a children’s literature class.

That wouldn’t be very significant except that in 1980-1982 around, I went to Seneca College, at that same campus, to study what I thought would be my life’s career: biological chemical technology.

To say that the campus has changed would be an understatement.

I remembered two parking lots that were seldom full when I was going there. Today I had to park on the grass because there wasn’t enough room in the spaces.

The students were from 23 to about 30 years old and they hung on every word of mine as if it were gold.

It was a great group and I had so much fun talking to them about the creative process.

It’s funny though, the workshop/presentation I did was not much different from the one I usually do with grades sevens and eights.

I was a bit nervous though when I asked them about story structure. I thought it would be old hat.

It wasn’t.

But I got them going and then I did my Big Red Lollipop exercise where I give them the beginning and middle of a story then let them come up with the end.

It felt like deja vu when I walked through the hallways! I came across a concrete wall that I was sure I remembered, and yet so much of the rest of my time there was lost in a fog.

Had it really been about 28 years since I’d walked those halls?

The presentation time went way too fast! I could have gone on for another half hour easily!

While I was being escorted out, I toyed with the notion of applying for a teaching stint at one of the colleges. Many authors do that. It’s a nice steady income, but then I thought about the marking, and the figuring out of the curriculum stuff, and all the other paraphernalia that goes along with teaching and I came back to my senses.

It’s a place I don’t mind visiting, but no, I would not want to go back there.

My husband often considers those years learning biological chemical technology wasted.

I don’t.

My family hasn’t had food poisoning for over twenty-five years and counting, probably because I learned aseptic technique in that microbiology lab.

I’m pretty sure it was something I had to at least try.

One of the things I told the students, and I really stand by it is that I know making a living in the arts is hard, whether you’re an artist or an author or whatever. It isn’t easy. But for the person who is meant to be an artist, making a living in the ‘real’ world is probably even harder.

At least it was for me.

No regrets.

It was all necessary to make me who I am today.

And besides, it gives me the confidence that other artists might not have. I know that I am not scientifically challenged. I do understand scientific phenomena. And in addition, when I was writing the synopses of one of the episodes of that animated series I’ve been commissioned to do, it was a cinch for me to stick in a few scientific terms that really sound impressive and makes the whole idea seem almost plausible.

Heh, heh!

Nope, no education is wasted. Even if you end up doing something completely different.