Journey Over the Rainbow: Getting to my Pot of Gold
Lets assume you read the first post (Just Another Fucking Writer). If not, stop reading this right now. Go back and read the other one. [link to that post] Than you’re welcomed to join us here.
If you didn’t read the first post, here is the gist: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Now I am one. Even though though just makes me another one that is a part of the mass of people who self-identify as a writer.
(Insert audience applause or booing. Whichever strikes you. Don’t much care either way because I can’t hear you. So if you’re a hater – going on and hate. I’m not listening.)
Becoming a writer has been a long time coming. As a child I filled journals with stories, often coming up with a full storyline based solely on the image on the cover of the journal. One journal had a soft purple cover with a picture of a Unicorn on the front. (There may have even been a rainbow on the front- ironically.) And it was the only time – ever – that I attempted writing fantasy.
[Photo: picture of rose-covered journals]
When we got our first computer in the house, I started typing my novels in DOS. I can still remember the way the cursor blinked on the blue screen as I typed each new letter. And then I would print them. Rip off the perforated sides of the paper and bind them in a folder with fasteners. The closer I could get to making my books look like actual books the better.
[Photo: pictures of some of the folder-bound stories]
In middle school, I handed them out to friends and they would read them and pass them on to someone else. In high school, it tapered off, though I still dreamed of my “Someday, somewhere over the rainbow” I would be a writer.
I went to undergrad and one of my majors was in Creative Writing. I got my B.A. in 2007. Then I went to grad school and despite starting off in a different masters program, I switched to an M.F.A. Program. I ended up with an M.F.A. In 2010.
Since then it’s been this off and on struggle to make this lifelong dream a reality. I’ve been on the journey the entire time but with lots of missteps and wrongfully taken paths or distractions.
(I know you’re thinking, how can there be wrongfully taken paths on a rainbow- isn’t there like only one path and direction you can go? Look, rainbows are a A LOT wider than you would think and all those colors can be confusing and blinding. So don’t judge me for poor sense of direction sometimes on this journey.)
So here I am in my early thirties. (Again, for those of you who didn’t read the first post and already know this.) I know a lot of writers who didn’t get around to making their writing a priority until much later in life. I’m not saying that to toot my own horn. I’m saying it to:
1. Prevent those people who are older than me and reading this from saying “Oh, please, child, don’t be so dramatic. Took me xxx years to get this far.”
a. Yes, I assumed there would be some who would judge me
1. Because people judge other people
2. People also like to play the ‘one-up’ game
3. And people can be real shits
a. This means rather than give someone a verbal high-five, they invalidate the person’s experience (such as my feeling that it was a long time to get here, regardless of my age)
2. Lay the groundwork that for me ‘long time coming’ is not so much about the number of years I’ve been alive and talking about writing, but the number of things I’ve experienced that have constantly set me back or thwarted me from doing the very thing that makes me feel the most like myself
a. Invalidation that writing was a serious direction to take
b. Unhealthy relationships and sexual experiences
c. Lack of fortitude on my own part
d. Becoming a parent
i. Everything becomes a whole lot fucking harder (don’t mistake me; I LOVE my kiddo)
e. Other life shit that got in the way
So writing has always been the gold pot at the end of the rainbow. Except a lot of the time my rainbow was more like a really disfigured, drab half-circle, no sparkle, no color.
All right, that is an exaggeration. (But I did say in the beginning part of my website [link] that there would be exaggeration, so at least I’m being honest. I know, honest and exaggerating is contradictory. So think of honesty as being more about the universal truth of it, not the finely tuned details.)
I’ve lived a privileged life and continue to do so. But getting to this point of giving myself permission to write, making it a lifestyle, to share and to shout my truth, has been mostly an uphill climb. (Regardless of the stories I penned as a child or the M.F.A. I attained in my early adulthood.) I’ve had to convince myself to keep going and to REALLY take the leap. I’m not a little girl anymore. Or a middle schooler. I’m not in college still thinking of ‘life’ as something to still get to. I’m in it. I’m living it. I’ve had to take action towards my promise to myself to become a writer – for real. To jump from the place on the journey I left off on, and slide down the rest of the way to the pot of gold on the other end. No stopping. No more distractions. No more misdirections.
[Photos: website planning documents; computer with a google doc open]
I am proud to say, I jumped around January. Let my feet out from under me and am gaining speed as I cruise down the rainbow. I’ve been working on making writing a part of my lifestyle, building this online platform (that some of you have unintentionally stumbled upon), adding new words to my works in progress. I’m sliding toward the pot of gold.
I’m moving at a more rapid pace than I ever have. I’m nowhere near the end of this rainbow in the way I’ve envisioned it (you know, published books, lights, awards, best sellers lists), but I am heading that direction. I’m on the journey, I’m taking the steps– one new post, one new reader, one more sentence, one more vow to make this happen at a time.
And I’m taking you all with me for the ride.
Aren’t you lucky?
P.S. The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite films from my childhood. So the metaphor of journeying over the rainbow is near and dear to my heart.
[photo: DVD cover]