"I want to do something no 11-year-old has ever done before."
I dared to say these words aloud as I crossed Joy Lane in my hometown of Whitstable as a lanky, inquisitive preteen. I had entered secondary school, which had introduced me to the excitement of a new town, a new school bus (with that complex hierarchy of seat choices), and a new sense of identity.
I was in that stage of more-than-dreaming; I had the feeling of The Possible coming to the end of my fingertips. Do you remember that feeling when you really thought it WAS possible for a human to fly or win Wimbledon, even if only in your own mind? But other than the Kent sky and a passing Ford Cortina, nobody else heard this declaration. I continued to keep the feeling of expansiveness largely to myself. The words were there, but my body was clumsy, and I preferred the company of books to actual people.
Bookish and creative, I thought I would grow up into a job pursuing something big and unknown—the kind where making something was key. But the early death of my father from brain cancer had a profound effect on me. It made me want to stop feeling anything and pour my energies upward into my thinking mind.