I've spent most of my day doing domestic tasks while thinking deep thoughts. Something about standing in line at Wally World and cleaning the refrigerator clears my head and allows me to ponder the things in this world that need pondering.
Like why I always find hair in my refrigerator on cleaning day. And not long, bleach-blonde hair either. The kind of hair that if found on my baked potato at Shoney's would get me a free meal. Where does this stuff come from? And how does it wind up underneath the vegetable crispers? Makes me want to invest in one of those Nanny-Cams and hide it in a celery stalk. I want to know once and for all if there are disgusting little refrigerator fairies shooting fairy porn when the door closes.
I was also thinking today about my writing career. Career. I like that word. It implies I am actually earning a steady income from putting words on paper. Makes me sound all grown up, too. But, I digress.
I'm pushing the heck out of forty-one now and although my biological clock is set to snooze, my hurry up and become successful clock is ticking like a time bomb. I want to see my name on the New York Times Bestseller List while I am still young enough to go on book tours without the added frustration of trying to figure out how to pack my Depends in my carry on.
I've written for as long as I could hold a crayon. I love to write. I have to write. The problem is, other people do not have to read what I write. There's the rub. If I could possibly persuade some dictatorial government to make my stories mandatory reading for all citizens, I'd be a much happier person.(Note to self: Find out where evil foreign dictators buy groceries and "happen" to bump into them.)
Although these days I write mostly humor and articles about working from home, I have written lots of different kinds of things in the past. Maybe I should drudge some of those up and see how they fly.
For example, there was my "dark" period where I wrote about my life in such a way that any generally happy person reading my work would have been instantly compelled to lie down on the nearest train tracks. I recounted the details of my somewhat screwed up existence on this planet with such stark reality that my own daughter had to wake me up to what I was doing.
"Mom," she said with all the wisdom of a then eighteen-year-old young woman, "even though what you've written is true and even if you were to ever have this book published, no one would ever be able to read it. It's too much to stand."
And that's the name of that tune.
Then there was the time I decided I could just churn out a book according to a formula. I settled on the idea that romance and sex was where it was at and given that I had at least some understanding of those two subjects and felt I was a pretty o.k. writer, I'd just pop out a sexy, love story that would immediately be known the world over as the single best love story in the history of the world. How hard could it be, right?
I wrote some stories and I guess they were fair. The problem is I found I kept killing off my male leads. I'd change their names, the background of the story and before I'd made it half way through my writing, low and behold there was another fictional character carcass lying with little x's over his eyes while my heroine danced around with glee. I have no idea how it happened.
Well, I know the mechanics of the murders. I used pills, rat poison, blunt objects and on one particularly creative occasion, I actually used a stake to end the life of a handsome vampire that was foolish enough to try and court me. What I don't know is why I couldn't help but give ficticious versions of myself names like "Collette" and "Victoria" and then stand by silently as they proceeded to pull black widow acts on all my make believe suitors.
Possibly I have some unresolved anger issues toward men. Either that or I'm not getting enough fiber in my diet.
So here I am, approaching what is known to most as "mid-life" and I'm still trying to find myself both as a writer and a woman. Is that normal?
I don't know. But I do know that when I do finally find myself it will probably be in the last place I looked.
Who knows if I'll ever make it? I suppose some would counsel me to give up. To stop trying to write my way to the top. To give my fingers a rest and just sit back and grow old with grace.
To those people I would say two things.
First of all, I will never give up. If I don't have my work published before I die I am leaving instructions in my will to carve the entire lot of it in stone tablets that will surround my grave site. That way everyone that comes to see me will be forced to read what I have to say about everything from Moon Pies to make-up.
And second, I have no idea who Grace is. Why would I want to grow old with her?
Copyright © 2004, Sherri Bailey
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