It’s February and time for me to hunker down and finish the novel. This blog is established. My writer’s page on FB is created. I’ve purchased new writing software (Scrivener). It’s time. I stand on the ridge and know that I’ve but one more valley to cross to reach my destination. Yet, I don’t hurry to the valley floor. Instead, I pause and savor the road ahead from a vantage point I never expected to reach.
I was the child daydreamer who struggled to survive an unpleasant childhood. Later, I barely survived the English classes in junior high school. Give me a sentence to diagram and I’m still lost. Yet, it was around that same time that the daydreams started yearning to escape. They were finally provided the opportunity early in my sophomore year in high school. I was the new kid in a huge school where the assignment was a 3 page story. We could work in groups or alone. Everyone else knew someone else and so groups were formed. I worked alone. I went home, went without sleep for two days, and wrote 60 pages. The next year I found myself in Honors English with kids who knew how to diagram sentences.
Then life intruded. Graduation. Traveling. Children.
My dearest love was the keyboard, but typewriters were frustrating and always they seemed just out of reach and life was a turmoil and I simply wasn’t ready.
I returned to school in the 90’s to gain that elusive college degree. My first class on my first day was English and I nearly left before it started, but I stayed. I was shaking, but I stayed. In my first conference with the instructor concerning a paper I’d written she went on at length admiring the complexity of my sentence structures. After several minutes spent with her talking and me staring she finally looked at me and I’m sure I turned death white. I was certain she’d test my knowledge and find me lacking, and then send me packing. I envisioned becoming the first student banished from the campus.
My fears only heightened when she sensed my discomfort and asked, “You don’t know what I’m talking about, do you?” Ashamed, I acknowledged my shortcomings.
To my astonishment, she told me that I was akin to someone who plays piano by ear because they can’t read music, that my writing was instinctual. I went home in a daze that day, for despite the linguistic knowledge I lacked, my stern teacher found me fascinating. The following semester I took a literature class and wrote a paper for it that the college published.
I eventually completed that degree in, of all things, business. Several years later I initiated work on what would become “Where Light Devours,” but once again life intruded, life fell apart, and eventually life became me in the ICU.
So, yes, I stand on the ridge at this late point in my life having come seemingly from nowhere. I savor the road ahead because it’s sometimes difficult to believe that I’ve reached this point at all. The road behind me was a difficult one, but that’s okay because I’m here now. I’m grateful that I’m here, I’m grateful for all that happened in the past that provided me with the strength and knowledge I need, and I’m grateful that I can do what I love.