My Inner Worlds
High school biology changed my world when I learned about genetics. The science came easily to me, and I wondered how my classmates could have difficulty with the concepts. Although I pursued a non-science career, I lived vicariously through my sister Lisa, who chose the genetics route and worked for a time at Yale, doing research and co-authoring academic papers. I visited one summer and got to meet the dominant male lab rat and see where the drosophila flies lived and bred for their keepers’ experiments. While my knowledge capped at A, C, G, T (the chemicals that make the nucleotide bases of our DNA), my mind spun fantasy worlds founded on genetic manipulation. Every story idea I’ve fleshed into a potential novel since 2011 contains elements of genetics and the exploration of what makes us who we are.
Enter AncestryDNA and five sisters who think it’s cool to explore what binds us into the strange world of Webb. What makes us the weird, creative, and strong-willed women we’ve all grown into? Is it the heritage encoded in our blood? The way we were raised? As a CPA, I have no clue. As a fantasy writer, I’ve got plenty of potential answers that are fun to explore.
Just over a year ago we gathered to celebrate my niece Freya’s 21st birthday. As a gift, I decided to run a tabletop role-playing game based on the Pathfinder Dungeons and Dragons world. We dressed up as our characters and enjoyed an afternoon of magic and creative play. It’s an incredible memory (and picture) to have. It also highlights our tendency to be weird.
Below are the results of our tests. I’ve been drawn to our Celtic heritage since my early twenties…the mystery and magic of druids…the nature myths that I want to believe are true…Avalon…swords, definitely swords. Is this because 23% of my genes are from that area of the world? Or is it because my family has played dress-up throughout my life? This picture is from our Scottish Mother’s Day in 1998, where we all chipped in and bought Mom a bagpipe, her heart’s desire that we could make a reality. And yes, we all dressed up and adopted a Scottish or Celtic persona. I even did a sword dance (alas, there’s no pictorial evidence).
What about your family? Have you ever wondered what makes you who you are? Do you have stories you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them.