I’ve always wanted to be a writer. But when I was sixteen and scrawling that down in my journal as more of a secret than a dream I had no idea what it would mean to be one.
It wasn’t until I was thirty-two that I really started to quietly type out my thoughts in corner of the internet, doubling-my life and barely beginning as a writer with another sixteen years under my belt.
By then I’d had two daughters, married a beautiful and challenging man, fought for the life of a relationship, won by the skin of our teeth and lived a little part of my life already.
And then I could write. But not before.
I look at women who begin writing their novels or start their spiritual memoir careers in their fifties and sixties and on one level I wonder, Did you waste your thirties and forties? But then I’m reminded that we can’t begin to write unless we’ve lived.
And then I wonder about my own self. When every blogger/artist/creative on the Internet is getting her own writing career launched and the talk is marketing, cover design, and line edits, I just quietly leave the room or Internet space and curl back up with my cup of coffee on my sofa. I hope they don’t notice I have left.
But I’m still living my life. And I’m not worried about a late start because dangit if I’m not thirty-eight only.
I’m reminded of something Ann told a small group of us a few weeks ago about writing and working and she tells us that she’s up so early in the morning to write. In the dark. Quietly tapping away on they keyboard before the “life” of her family starts. And then when the morning really gets moving, she stops the writing and lives.
We can’t write unless we’re living.
And for me, the living means the Trader Joes runs and the afternoon homework sessions, the bottles of wine shared with friends on a fall evening and the fact that we can still cook-out late into the autumn here. For me the living means that I’m hugging my girls every day and that I can steal away once in awhile with friends to the beach. It means the seven-year-old ballet classes on Mondays (why did we choose Monday?) and the book reports worked on late into the night.
The living means that I’m allowed to do the writing.
So I’ll type on my keyboard early in the morning (maybe not Ann early) and work out my writing and not feel behind, but feel right on time with it all.