In 6th grade I had to fill out a questionnaire of what I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer: Wonder Woman. The cut-rate Super Girl knockoff wouldn’t cut it. Scooby Doo’s Velma had the smarts, but didn’t posses the overall look I was after. It was Wonder Woman or nothing. I mean, really, I had the outfit. I had the bullet-deflecting wrist cuffs. And I’m pretty sure I had had the whip (though my brother probably stole it to tame Dragon, our venomous cat). But, more than that, I had the gall as a seriously mature 6th grader to actually write WONDER WOMAN as my official answer.
Then again, that slightly wacky professional goal came from the same kid who had, the previous year, read everything in the house and had swiped The Amityville Horror from her mother’s stash of books and attempted to do a book report on it (until it scared the living bejeezus out of the above-mentioned kid). And that was the same kid whose favorite Mother Goose poem was the dark and quirky “Solomon Grundy” (though “The House that Jack Built” was a close second, but only if it was read at the warp speed). Knowing that, it may not turn out to be such a surprise to find out that my long-favorite book is John Berendt’s darkly smart and witty, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
That was me then; this is me now: my name is Christina Boland. I am a professional writer currently based out of the Netherlands, SCBWI PAL member, and a consummate killer of plants—not necessarily in that order. Since 2003 I’ve lived on three continents and in four countries, and my publication history is as diverse as my ever-changing address and ranges from Cicada to Military Spouse Magazine to Vantage Point (as well as being the University of Oklahoma’s 2009 Military Spouse poster child—literally).
However, it wasn’t until 2003 that I began to take writing seriously; that was the same year that I found myself newly married and newly moved from Chicago to Young-in, South Korea. In the wake of jetlag and immersed in teaching Engrish [sic], I left my previous existence as an educational social worker behind and set out to create a new path. A more me path. A more Wonder Woman path, if you must know.
Begrudgingly, I will admit that I’m not a real super hero with extraordinary powers. Not really. But when I write fiction I can make the bad guys fall down a flight of stairs at the most (in)opportune time; I can rig the prom and crown the shy, acne-scarred girl queen; and I can scare the bejeezus out of myself and infest Wal-Mart with the reanimated corpses of feral cats . . . and then right the wrong by ginning up a vaccine. Isn’t that what super heroes do? Make the impossible possible? Right wrongs? Champion the underdog? (OK, maybe traditional super heroes don’t reanimate dead cats to combat mutant mice, but in my world they do make pit stops at Wal-Mart—where else can you walk around in a cape and shiny undies, buy a hot pink BB gun and a Crispy Crème, AND totally blend in?)
When I write nonfiction, I bring the reader into my life and my travels: I’ve safely taken readers across the 38th Parallel and into North Korea; I’ve brought readers with me as I’ve stepped on Gertrude Stein’s kneecaps while roaming Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in search of Edith Piaf; and I’ve taken readers 800m beneath the ground into the depths of Berchtesgaden’s chilly 12° C Saltzbergwerk—a salt mine that was already old the year Columbus stumbled upon my home country. Super heroes go places. They make their mark on the world. And, they take risks (especially when it comes to clothing!).
In retrospect, who knew that the overbite-plagued-legwarmer-wearing me that I was in 6th grade really did know what I wanted to be when I grew up? Who knew that I had an inner super hero living inside me just waiting for the opportunity to break out?
My inner Wonder Woman knew. That’s who.
Here’s to everyone who takes that risk and follows their inner super hero!
Member since 2005
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