Q & A

Through the ages with Qwert City and Alika Yarnell

Age 5

  • Q: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
  • A: “An artist.”
  • Q: “What kind of artist?”
  • A: “I like coloring.”

Age 6

  • Q: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
  • A: “A scientist.”
  • Q: “What kind of scientist?”
  • A: “I have a rock collection.”

Age 7

  • Q: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
  • A: “An artist.”
  • Q: “Like Picasso?”
  • A: “I guess.”

Age 8

  • Q: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
  • A: “An astronaut.”
  • Q: “Are you crazy?”
  • A: (Looks down at her feet.)

Age 9

  • Q: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
  • A: “An artist.”
  • Q: “That’s cute.”

Ages 10-17

  • Q: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
  • A: “I don’t know.”

Age 18

  • Q: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
  • A: “A graphic designer.”
  • Q: “You can make good money in advertising.”

Age 19, after working for a year as an assistant to a graphic designer at a t-shirt silk-screening business:

  • Q: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
  • A: “Not a graphic designer.”

Age 20

  • Q: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
  • A: “An artist.”
  • Q: “What kind?”
  • A: “Either a painter, writer, printmaker, cartoonist, photographer, muralist, film director, or something involving mixed media.”

Age 20, after completing several fine art courses and dropping out of her only filmmaking class:

  • Q: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
  • A: “A writer.”

Age 21, after moving from San Diego to San Francisco:

  • Q: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
  • A: “A fiction writer.”
  • Q: “Are you published?”
  • A: (Looks down at her feet.)

Age 23, after receiving her BA in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing:

  • Q: “Now what?”
  • A: “Keep writing.” (Shrugs shoulders.)

Age 29, after several odd jobs, awkward writing attempts, and being declared a “winner” of NANOWRIMO 2003:

  • Q: “Now what?”
  • A: “I need help.”

June 2004: Alika attends the University of San Francisco to begin the process of obtaining an MFA in Creative Writing.

  • Q: “Can you get high-paying jobs with benefits by receiving an MFA?”
  • A: “Yes.” (Cross fingers.) “But that’s not why you get an MFA.”

August 11, 2006: Alika completes the first draft of her novel, RAINDROP PARADE.

  • Q: “Now what?”
  • A: “Keep writing.”
  • Q: “But what about—”
  • A: “Stop asking questions. I’m trying to focus.”

2010: Alika finished her third draft of RAINDROP PARADE and continues to work on other writing projects. She currently lives in San Diego with her husband and daughter. For information on Alika’s publications, work history, and credentials, please visit the Experience page.