Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Daily Journey

I'm watching American Idol. No recaps this year. Basically, the performers are all so good and none of the judges are drooling drunks, so there isn't enough material to snark on. Okay, except I think that Steven Tyler could be Rachel Ray's secret father. It's in the smile. Instead, I listen to these singers every week and I'm amazed. Most of them are really, really young and at the tender ages of 17, 20, 21, they're taking on the biggest opportunity of their lives. They want to be professional singers more than anything. It's their dream and they're going for it at ages when most young people are more excited about getting into bars legally. At their age, I knew I wanted to write a book someday but I was content to let someday happen down the road. Other things -- rock and roll clubs, concerts, being cool - were more important. Sometimes I wonder where I'd be today if I'd completed that first book at 20 and managed to sell it. Then I think back to an Advanced Creative Writing workshop I took when I was 26 or 27. I remember talking to the professor one night and saying, "I know I write well, but right now I don't know that I think well enough." In my 20s, a lot of things were jumbled inside me. I was mature and professional at my job, but not so much in my personal relationships. I didn't have the confidence or belief in myself to shoot for the stars the way these A.I. contestants do week after week. I wanted, but didn't comprehend that need is more powerful. I'd experience all this angst and emotion over guys I thought I loved but couldn't have, or relationships I had that didn't last. That sense of loss felt like the most all encompassing pain in the world -- until my father died when I was 25 and I experienced the worst of the worse. I don't think that all young people are callow, or that they're immature in all matters. I only know that whatever I needed inside to truly create, to pour heart, soul and life into characters, to write stories that honestly touched and resonated with readers, I didn't have back then. Now, it's different. I have more substance and understanding. The years and experiences have added layers. A more complete sense of self allows me to imbue "self" into the people I create. To some extent, regret is a waste because it doesn't change our reality. So, instead of regretting what I didn't achieve years ago, I just want to make the most of today. I know that I have what I need living inside me and have the power to pour it out onto the page. Now. Today. The tomorrow that becomes the next today. That's the daily journey.


Christine Bush said...

Yes, living fully in the day is the key.. and it's sure taken a lot of years to find the wisdom to know that! Thanks for the thoughtful post!

London Mabel said...

I did want to be a writer at that age, and was concretely working on it. But I set it as a 20 year goal cause I've always been hopelessly realistic and undreamery. lol Mind, I didn't need emotional depth, cause I've always wanted to write well-written froth. Wodehouse and Heyer, those have always been my gods. ;-)

Anyway, one of the great things about writing is, unlike sports, it's really not age related. You can start any time you want.

(Speaking of Am Idol, I started back this year! It's been a long time since I did recaps!)