“There are perhaps no days of our childhood that we lived as fully as those spent with a beloved book.” –Marcel Proust
My childhood was spent in an armchair, reading fairy tales, Volume A of the Encyclopedia Britannica (it was free at the grocery store but the rest of the series was not), Dad’s American Red Cross “First Aid” manual from his Army days (which advised butter as a treatment for burns), the Bible, Great-Aunt Elsie’s back issues of “National Enquirer” and “Capper’s Weekly” (handed down the line until they got to me). I read anything I could get my hands on. The backs of cereal boxes at the breakfast table? Anything.
My first long word, in chalk on a little 5×7 blackboard, I wasn’t sure what I wrote, so I worked up the courage to ask Dad at the breakfast table. He raised his eyebrows, feigned surprise and pride and said, “Why, that says Carolina Tea Kettle!”
I was four. I believed him.
Mom drove to town once a week for groceries (most of what we ate, we grew on the farm). With five daughters all a year apart in age, she had us take turns going along with her for the rare chance to leave the house. My sisters hit the clothing stores; I hit the public library. At 16, I met Carl Sagan (on paper) and fell in love. Mom had no idea. Dad said “book smarts don’t mean sick ’em,” and if he shouted for an Alan wrench, I knew it was safer to let someone else fetch it rather than risk his scorn when I brought him that other kind of wrench.
I’ve never lived farther than 90 miles from the farm where I was born, though two of my sisters have lived all over the globe. This strikes me as a serious flaw for a writer, since we should “write what you know,” and I know very little — but Ben Shipley (I love you, Ben!!) informs me that I know more than I think. Not many people these days grew up so close to the dirt, chicken dust and manure. It took me 50 years to get it, but I am uniquely qualified to grasp that poem my college lit professor tortured me with–William Carlos Williams saying “so much depends on the red wheelbarrow, glazed with rain water, beside the white chicken.” I shook my head in disbelief that this sentence (arranged with white space, just so) had made it into a textbook, while my beloved Eugene Fields poem, “Little Boy Blue,” was incriminated as an example of bad poetry in the same textbook.
Here’s my LinkedIn bio, if anyone really cares to know: Carol Kean is an avid reader and writer, book reviewer, wife, mom, guerilla gardener and champion of underdogs and overlooked authors. Science is her first love but it was unrequited, so she earned a degree in English instead and worked as a tech writer for Chamberlain Manufacturing Corporation and Rockwell Collins (**CMC’s Patriot Warhead, Rockwell’s High-Frequency and VHF communications equipment and GPS– in its infancy!–were her favorite projects). She wrote two novels while staying home to raise three little musicians, joined a fiction writing workshop and plans to see “Ironwolf” and “Left on Stonehaven” published.
I’ve published a few short stories. A mysterious time-traveling German shows up at Liberty Island from time to time. Thanks to author Lindy Moone, who told me about the Kindle Boards forum, my vigilante bag lady makes her first appearance in Andrew Ashling’s Flash Fiction 2014 anthology (details forthcoming).
Job History, post-college:
Rockwell Collins presentations writer October 1987 – February 1993 (5 years 5 months) Cedar Rapids, Iowa
General scapegoat – accepting job assigments from engineers who needed it yesterday, or said they did in hopes of actually getting it tomorow; begging other Graphics Department members to do their jobs, e.g., artists, typesetters, proofreaders and the printshop; rushing documents to print or view cells to “Reproduction” upstairs; putting out fires with string pulling and diplomatic words.
Chamberlain Manufacturing Corporation (no longer exists, but it’s not my fault) – technical writer June 1985 – October 1987) Waterloo, Iowa
That’s enough about me. I love my husband and our 3 kids, and lots of other stuff, but seriously, who has time to read my list of interests/passions/hobbies? I’m only here because I have to stick my feet in the water, from time to time, and sometimes even dive deep. Let me know if you see any sharks, please.
p.s. You can find me at Twitter:
@tea_in_carolina novelist, reviewer, editor, book critic for @PerihelionSF, @NetGalley, AmazonVine, @goodreads and @amazon; champion of indie authors & underdogs; no AutoRetweets, no buying Followers; I do my own reading, choosing and tweeting.