A reviewer recently wrote of one of my books:
I feel like this is just an insulting portrayal of what the author thinks a geek is like but has never actually liked one.
This is the first time in my life I have been accused of insufficient geekiness. Not only do I count many geeks among my friends and coworkers, not only am I married to one, but I am one myself.
You want proof, you say? Well, it began in childhood with a taste for science fiction and fantasy. The very first movie I ever went to with a boy was in 6th grade, and it was Star Wars. My first job was a volunteer gig at a science museum. In 9th grade I won a trophy (which I may still have somewhere) for the highest science grade in my school. Junior high was also when I learned to program in BASIC.
My geekiness did not diminish in high school. I took AP classes. I wrote bad poetry. When I was 16, I looked like this:
I competed on the speech team. I kicked butt at Trivial Pursuit (except the sports questions). Even when I went through my punk phase (Ramones T-shirt, ragged Levis, safety pin in ear), I was a punk geek. I was a National Merit Semifinalist:
After high school came college and then the great bastion of geekdom, graduate school, where I spent eight years earning not one, not two, but three graduate degrees. Yes, my degrees were in the social sciences rather than the hard sciences, but I was the first person among my peers to learn to use e-mail and browse the World Wide Web (using Mosaic on my Mac, in fact). That has to count for something.
I married a guy who became an accountant. I got a job in academia, where geeks rule. I wrote Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan fiction. When I travel, I take pictures of my Spike the Vampire doll posing in front of scenery. I have also knitted an anatomically correct Spike doll. I gave birth to two wonderful geeky daughters: the 13-year-old is the county spelling bee champ, a Harry Potter fan, and an author of Merlin fanfic; and the 10-year-old plays elaborate video games and creates scale models of buildings. Here’s a photo she took today of Spike (not the X-rated one) destroying the Eiffel Tower:
Many of my characters fall well into geeky territory. Dylan Warner from Good Bones may be a werewolf, but he’s also an architect with a soul patch, who buys organic and listens to the Decemberists. Jeff Dawkins from Venetian Masks is an IT guy from Sacramento. He’s the sort of person who keeps track of all his purchases on an iPhone app and meticulously follows Rick Steves' travel recommendations. When my maimed giant in Brute is granted a royal boon, instead of honorary titles or gold he asks for lessons in learning to read. Even rough, tough ex-con Aiden Finn from Night Shift joins a classics book club.
I don’t just like geeks—I love them... in all their marvelous diversity.
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