Space Shuttle? Why Me?
Written by
Anna Leahy
July 2011
Written by
Anna Leahy
July 2011

I'm off to Kennedy Space Center today. I have media credentials (and Anderson Cooper will be at the KSC Press Site on Friday). A year ago, I had no idea this would be what I would be writing about. That's one reason I like being a writer!

I was born into the Apollo era and grew up in the space shuttle era. I was in college when the Challenger accident happened. I was in the student literary journal's office, and people began gathering in front of the television in the lounge outside the door. U.S. manned spaceflight spans my lifetime. Until now.

My husband and I launched Lofty Ambitions blog ( last July 1. We decided to focus on aviation and spaceflight, science of the twentieth century and beyond, and writing as a couple. We would have launched the blog even if the shuttle program were not ending. But if we hadn't launched the blog, would we have gone to such great lengths to witness and document each remaining orbiter's last mission? Would we have sought out media credentials and shelled out thousands of dollars for a meager motel room in Titusville, a town facing economic rug-pulled-out-from-under? No, we don't think we would have.

My point is that writing projects can't always be planned. As writers, we must be attentive to opportunities and let our interests lead us. If we have an idea, we need to trust ourselves: try it and see if it sticks. Often, you can't work it all out ahead of time to determine if it's worth it. Sometimes, you just have to go all in for a while to give it a shot. And when something goes well, that's courage for trying the next thing. As a good poet friend said, quoting the lottery: You can't win if you don't play!

In November, the KSC Press Site was relatively empty, but we knew this story was important to history. Suddenly, the media is scrambling to catch up. It's a big story, and I'm part of it. Looking back, it makes sense, and I'm a planner; I like organization. But serendipity is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. Writers shouldn't ignore serendipity.

Follow my adventures this week (and beyond) at

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  • Sandra Marchetti

    And you know what, this is going to be your next book of poems too.  Or it could be.  Either way, it's worth it!  I agree: seize that opportunity.