Monday, May 02, 2005

Life in the Twenties and Thirties

My brother turns 26 today. When I called him to wish him a happy birthday and said, "You're 26 today!" he mumbled, "Don't remind me." I find that quite interesting as I will be turning 30 in a little more than a month and I'm not nearly as devestated as he is. Perhaps it is because I am married and have a family and a mortgage and he's still living the single life (although he does have a very nice girlfriend). Your mid-twenties are often a time for reflection and wondering if you're on the right road.

I'm a little apprehensive about entering my thirties, but hey - there's not a whole lot I can do about it. I still feel very young in many ways - young at heart, of course - but there are other ways I feel older. Emotionally, I feel as though I've learned a great deal in my near 30 years. And physically...well, let's just say I WISH I could have my twenty-one year old body back. But who doesn't wish that?

I do think, though, that I have a better sense of direction than I did in my twenties. Even after I got married and had my daughter, I still wasn't quite sure where I wanted to go in life. I've always had two very solid goals, though. 1) Travel the world. 2) Become a successful, published author.

Some could argue, "Hey, you're almost 30 and you're STILL not a published author?"

Well, yes, I am published, but I have yet to publish THE BOOK - y'know, the one that an agent signs me on for, the one that the editor loves and gives me a nice advance on. No, I haven't accomplished that yet. But I believe there is a reason for that.

Emotionally, I do not believe I was mature enough to write the story that I needed to write for such a successful novel. As a prime example, I began a contemporary romantic suspense novel while in my senior year of undergraduate school. I loved the premise - an American woman gets involved with a member of the IRA during the Troubles in Northern Ireland - but I don't believe I was emotionally ready to write it. I still have the manusript and want to pick it up again soon, but I had to abandon it a few years after I started simply because I wasn't ready to write it.

Our experiences shape who we are. In the same vein, they also shape how we write, and I don't mean simply how well we write, but the emotional depth we bring to the page. I couldn't begin to write some of the things I have without having lived life first. When people talk about writing what you know, I believe this is what they are referring to - what you have emotionally learned throughout life, not necessarily if you know how to hack your way into a computer system and so should write a story about it.

At any rate, I feel more prepared to write now than I did back in high school. I still have all of those attempts sitting in a big rubber tub and I doubt I'll ever throw them away. Those were the beginnings of my writing development - sort of like my first steps. I could never forget those memories.

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