Early Childhood: South Texas
Transformers, He-Man, theme song to ThunderCats, juicy mangoes & watermelons from the Rio Grande Valley, South Padre Island, drawing on the sidewalk, firecrackers, building sheet tents in Grandma's backyard—these were a few of my favorite things. Born in 1979, a native Texan.

Late Childhood: North Texas
The Chronicles of Narnia, Judy Blume, DuckTales, Pirates of Dark Water, drawing dragons & unicorns and unicorns & dragons, FunDip, studying an illustrated Bible, creating cartoons on thick pads of paper from Mom. Bonus: life-changing advice received ["Whatever's going to happen tomorrow is going to happen whether you worry about it or not, so you might as well not."]

Teen: North Texas
A Tale of Two Cities, Lloyd Alexander, Mark Twain, Depeche Mode, first art portfolio, phenomenal teachers, first broken heart, last broken heart. This was a tricky stage. As I was told, "It's hard to be a young person. You make some of the most life-changing decisions when you have the least amount of experience."

College: Central New York
Maxfield Parrish, Magritte, Oscar Wilde, costumes and music of Baz Luhrmann movies, unabashed tears on first flight to college, New York food (bagels, Tastykake, Boston baked beans, soft pretzels), autumn in the north, snow, Harry Potter, snow, meeting my husband, snow. Here the bubble wrap was removed, and I was allowed to fall. Sometimes I hit the ground. Hard. Other times I bounced.

Adult: North Texas
A Long Way from Chicago, genius of Jerry Spinelli & Lois Lowry, illustrations of Chris van Allsburg & Tony DiTerlizzi, first short story published, This American Life and Car Talk radio, movie soundtracks, marrying in a theater, surviving first 5K race, everything Pixar, view from Mt. Kurodake in Hokkaido. Then came the author of every test after that: my daughter. After she was born, all fantasies of who I thought I was were torn down by two small fists. Then came my son. You don't know who you really are until you see yourself through the eyes of a child. Especially, your own.

More to come ...


Liza Gomez Maakestad