Since this is a debutante ball, I thought I should let you know I’ve already “come out.” I was going through customs a few weeks ago and for the first time when asked what I did for work I answered, “I’m a writer.” I fully expected flashing lights, sirens and to be dragged to a back room where a burly customs agent named Flo would do a search I wouldn’t soon forget. I felt like there would be a sneer and a raised eyebrow. “So you think you’re a writer huh?”
I fought the urge to explain to the officer that while I still had a day job, I had sold a book to a real live publishing company. It was time to come clean, to stop hiding my true nature, to come out. Counseling pays the bills, but I make my living as a writer.
I didn’t become a writer in the customs hall, or when the book sold, or even when I finished writing the novel. It was a slow evolutionary process. These posts can only be so long so here is the short version of my development:
• Parents provide me with annoyingly healthy upbringing thus depriving me of fodder to write about in later years.
• Discover books are not just for chewing.
• Realize if you make stuff up and pretend it is true they call you a liar and you’ll be punished, however if you say it’s a story you are imaginative and precocious.
• Recognizing that mainstream cheerleader-style popularity will elude me, I channel my inner Molly Ringwald and wear vintage clothing and sport giant puffy hair.
• Believe passionately that Duran-Duran is the greatest musical talent of my generation.
• My writing stars a main character who is a slightly dorky girl who through a Cinderella-like process gets boobs, bravado, and the boy. I did not recognize the autobiographical elements.
Ages 21- 30:
• Fear of living in an impoverished garret (I like chocolate far too much to be a starving artist) leads to pursuing education in counseling.
• Meet, woo, and marry the man of my dreams.
• Spend time wondering if I can write a whole novel. Turns out I could: a really, really, bad novel. Decide to stick with day job.
Ages 31- to present
• Realization that no one else really cares what I am wearing, saying, or doing, thus freeing me up to spend time on more important things.
• Awareness that fear of rejection is not nearly as big as the fear of not having even tried. Begin writing more seriously, even sending some of it to (gasp) others.
• Find agent, sell novel, and daydream of full time literary diva status. Consume full daily calorie allotment in chewed fingernails while awaiting book release.
I can’t think of a better place to come out than here at the debutante ball. Come back often to see where we go from here. I suspect it won’t be all pearls and silk gloves, but I’m certain it won’t be dull. Maybe we could play some Duran Duran to get the party started….