Deep and Deeper

13 Apr

“All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. This we know: Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.”–Chief Seattle

“When we try to pick out something by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”–John Muir

It has been an absurdly long time since I wrote something for this blog. But today it’s time. Last month I did a workshop for the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship program’s annual seminar, sponsored by IEA, the Institute for Educational Advancement. The theme of this year’s seminar was “Intersections” and my workshop was titled “From Indra’s Net to the Internet: Intersections, Reality and Consciousness.”

To prepare for the seminar it was suggested that the attendees watch this TED Talk about “multipotentialites”: you don’t have time to watch the talk (though I highly recommend it), let me explain that Wapnick uses the term multipotentialite to describe a person who can’t relate to the idea of finding “one true calling.” If they commit to a job or a subject matter, as soon as they have learned or mastered it they need to move on to something else; there are always lots of other paths (interests) pulling them to explore. Many of “our kids” will recognize themselves in this talk.

Watching it, I realized that I am an “elder multipotentialite.” My 6th grade teacher told my mother that I would never amount to anything because I was interested in “too many things.” Miss Shreve deeply believed in the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none.” She was not, you may be sure, one of my favorite teachers! I am lucky, though. I’ve managed to have the best of both worlds. I do have one true calling, but it is writing, a calling so broad and varied that there is no limit to my ability to follow it for a lifetime and yet avoid boredom.

Most of you who read this blog came to it because you share, for your own reasons, my personal passion for serving the needs of super bright kids and adults. This blog and much of the rest of my nonfiction, along with much of my public speaking, has been about extraordinary intelligence, and what I’ve written and talked about on this subject is best known in the gifted community.

But many of you also know some of my fiction for kids and young adults. Certainly Welcome to the Ark and Flight of the Raven, along with my much earlier novel A Time to Fly Free, are specifically related to highly gifted individuals, but I write other kinds of children’s books as well. And my plays, most of them written in collaboration with Katherine Paterson—author, among many other award-winning novels, of Bridge to Terabithia—are meant to appeal to a broad audience of kids.

Most recently my interests and my life experience (some of which I’ve written about here) have led (or pushed) me in a new direction, the first book from that path being my book Change Your Story, Change Your Life. Some of you may have found it through my websites or

I expect more nonfiction writing will come from the spiritual perspective that the losses in my life forced me to discover and that the current chaos in the world we all share continues to test and expand.

The theme and title of this blog refer to the metaphorical “deep end” environment that mermaids (unable to survive long on dry land) need to survive longterm. But since I created the blog, the term has taken on a new meaning for me—has become, if you will, even deeper. I will not lose interest in the subject that led me to begin it (how could one get bored in the realm of the gifted mind—as broad a territory as writing itself?) but the new depths that interest me may not appeal to everyone. The title of my CDB workshop refers to both the mystical image of Indra’s net and the material world reality of the internet, two very different ways of perceiving intersections, the connectedness of all things. What I will be doing here in future is exploring both kinds of “deep.”

And meanwhile I’ve begun the intense work of writing the third book of the “Ark Trilogy,” Within the Dark. Because, of course, fiction is a fundamental part of my “one true calling.”


6 Responses to “Deep and Deeper”

  1. Jen Merrill April 14, 2018 at 5:25 pm #

    Just always so glad to read what you write, whatever it may be. 🙂

    • Stef April 16, 2018 at 9:38 am #

      Thanks, Jen! During my hiatus from FB, I’ll miss seeing your posts to that, so I finally subscribed to Chaos. (Isn’t that a funny idea–I subscribed to chaos eons ago, really…)

      • Jen Merrill April 16, 2018 at 11:26 am #

        I think chaos loves those with multi-potentialities. It plays with us, just to see how we will react. 😏
        I should take a FB hiatus as well, so I can smack chaos upside the head and do my own writing.

  2. Dr. Dad February 13, 2019 at 9:01 am #

    I remember once I called my mother from college (younger folks may need to be reminded that, once upon a time, people didn’t carry telephones around with them all day, and a phone call was an unusual event; I think there was one phone for each floor on my dorm).

    I was concerned that I couldn’t pick a major.

    She asked me, “Is the problem that you want to study too many things, or that you don’t want to study anything?”

    “I want to study too many things.”

    “Well, that’s all right then. If you think you should know now what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life, you’re mistaken. Pick a major. It doesn’t matter very much in the long term.”

    My mother was, as always, right. I picked a major on time. Later, I went to graduate school in a completely different field. Post-PhD, I left academia and worked in something completely different from both of those degrees. Repeatedly.

    Maybe when I’m done being a stay-at-home parent I’ll do something different. But I do know to tell my son it’s perfectly okay not to know what “he wants to do when he grows up.” Do it all, kid. Change your mind as often as you want.

    • Stef February 13, 2019 at 4:00 pm #

      Also, Dr. Dad, gifted people change directions a great many more times in their lives than most others. Change careers, passions, jobs, whatever. Some of us are easily bored. Luckily, as a writer I can change directions in every book and have to learn all new stuff to write it!


  1. On Authenticity | The Deep End - August 7, 2018

    […] while back I titled a blog post Deep and Deeper and my last post, Who Are We?, led me to return to the intention that motivated that earlier post. […]

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