Writer vs Engineer
Yesterday I visited Brunel University and while I was there I met one of my literary heroes, Bernadine Evaristo, and it made me realise how lucky I have been recently. As an engineer I only remember one occasion where I was lucky enough to spend time with one of my heroes. Just before I became a Chartered Engineer I met one of the engineers who was responsible for the initial development of the RB211 jet engine. That was a real Wow moment. I mean can you imagine what it would be like to know that you were directly responsible for keeping most of the world’s large passenger planes in the air. (yes I know this is out of date now, but I applied to be a professional engineer a long time ago!)
Maybe it was my own fault, I didn’t go to many events – I had a young family and didn’t have much spare time. And I didn’t work for large international companies, the ones who were likely to employ the ‘stars’ but still… I worked in engineering for a long time. Whereas I’ve been a writer for about three years and I keep meeting other authors, and not just any authors but people whose books are well known and wonderfully written. I just can’t believe how lucky I’ve been. So many different authors, across so many different genres from Mary Hoffman (tea in Oxford) to John Burnside (at the Alpine Fellowship in Venice) and almost always they have been kind and encouraging. I am totally amazed and totally grateful.
Becoming a writer was a fantastic opportunity, but meeting my heroes has been even better.