Left-handed, an only child AND a preacher’s kid. It’s a marvel I survived this long. But the person and the writer I am continually in the act of becoming owes much to those formative parameters.
My grandmother, a Bohemian-esque Mennonite, taught me to crochet. She was very right-handed so transposing her hook work for me seemed impossible until she just sat me down facing her for the teaching. It worked. Even into her nineties she took a child’s pleasure in craft. Standing in the farmhouse kitchen, kneading a bag of cream into butter, she plotted games of Chinese checkers while grandfather took me out to the barn for lessons in milking. A farmer grandfather who did math problems in his head for fun.
All the usual first/only child fortes and foibles. Enjoyed the company of adults more readily than kids of my own age. Lived in my head (what I came to call ‘having internal resources’). Developed almost no social skills whatsoever. And read. And read. In his earnest desire to keep me occupied with something of beauty, my dad gave me the copy of Shakespeare’s complete works his mother had given him. A red cloth cover, tissue thin pages, so well used as to be falling apart. He gave it to me when I was in the fifth grade saying, “You won’t understand all of this, but read it anyway. You’re going to love it more and more.” True and true.
No, I didn’t go wild in rebellion. Externally. But I made impassioned speeches in my head and told stories in my dreams. Turns out my father hadn’t planned on a long stint as a minister. He had planned on being a professor (which he did become later in life) of philosophy and logic. Our family dinner table conversation ranged from Aristotle to Kant to ethics in the marketplace to the problem of evil and the existence of the noble as illustrated by references to C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.
K. E. MacLeod is a Pacific Northwest novelist who writes epic and high fantasy and imaginative fiction. Karen has taught English composition, speech, acting, directing, reading for the classroom teacher, and theatre history. She is also a narrator, having performed in and directed plays ranging from Shakespeare to modern drama, produced and provided on-air talent for educational television and radio, and narrating a symphony production of Peter and the Wolf.
Awards include: First Place, Adult Fiction, Pacific Northwest Writers Association; Finalist, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Pacific Northwest Writers Association; Finalist, fiction and poetry, North by Northwest Writers/Write on the Sound. Elected to Phi Beta, national fraternity for professionals in the performing arts.