Dena Zocher writes about interesting people, places, things.
by Dena Zocher on February 18, 2018
Back to the Future
Science fiction author and retired petroleum geophysicist Sherrie Cronin just finished her sixth book.
A self-described “nerdy kid,” Sherrie “was always picking up rocks, loved earth sciences and wanted to be an astronaut.” The astronaut thing didn’t work out, but Sherrie discovered she had a talent and passion for writing.
Exposition: Space is curved
Sherrie initially set out to pursue a career as a science writer. She did some hard science writing, but discovered she had a talent for science fiction writing, and began writing sci-fi short stories.
One thing lead to another, and a graduate degree in geophysics led to a 33-year career in the petroleum industry. “It’s not what I thought I’d be doing,” she grins. But it was a good way to support a growing family, allowing time to keep her sci-fi writing chops sharp.
Rising action: Wakeup call
A challenging year that started with a parent’s passing, included getting laid off after 19 years with the company, and culminated in a near-death experience on a canoe trip prompted some soul searching.
“I took it all as a wakeup call, and a chance to reset my priorities” she says. The kids were still in high school and college, so Sherrie found part time work consulting. “That’s when I retired mentally and started seriously writing. For four years, all I did was work and write.”
And write, she did – five sci-fi novels in five years.
Once the kids were grown and out of college, “It was time to move on and write full time,” says Sherrie. She and her husband moved to a smaller home in a smaller town a few states away.
The move to a new place, with “new people, new trees, new bugs,” was a rush – and a crash. For Sherrie and her husband, downsizing, moving, and retiring was a “huge transition” in their relationship. “Remember, you’re both on your life journey together,” she laughs.
Falling action: Rediscovery
“I had developed a habit of being hassled and rushed,” says Sherrie. “I was surprised by just how much I need to feel like I’m contributing. I thought I would write full time. After the move, I went silent.”
“I thought my purpose was going to be writing. But I’ve discovered a passion for service.” Working with a local domestic violence hotline, Sherrie says, “I volunteer, and they help me. It’s a chance to get out of myself and apply my management skills.”
Resolution: The gift of freedom
“It took years to be me; now I have time for self-reflection.” Sherrie rediscovered her muse, and recently finished her sixth novel.
“Being in retirement is like being a kid again. You have the freedom to be yourself, dress the way you want, to be eccentric like a teenager. And, just like when you’re a kid, you have more time than money. Enjoy the freedom and don’t worry about what you think you may have given up by walking away from status, from being important.”