When someone first suggested we blog about graduation, I just assumed it was in keeping with all of those graduating from high schools and colleges around us. But duh …. only now do I realize that our reigning year as Debutantes will soon come to a close, and with one last regal wave of our gloved hands we’ll be graduate Debs and off to live the charmed lives of successful authors everywhere …. (INSERT SOUND OF SCREECHING BRAKES HERE).
Um … I don’t think so.
First of all, I can’t believe we’re getting anywhere near the end of our Debutante year. Where the heck did the year go? Anyone else notice that the older you get, the faster time moves? And second, I feel SOOOOO not ready to graduate from the Debs. My tiara is hardly tarnished, my book is not yet on a bestseller list and besides, I still don’t feel like I know anything about being an author.
Oh, wait a minute … I do know one thing. Like pretty much anything worthwhile in life, becoming a successful author does not happen overnight. Nor with the publication of your first book. Nor even with a thoroughly lovely debutante year. Like anything else worth doing, it’s a process and often a long, tedious one. You work really, really hard to arrive and then you work some more. You learn some stuff along the way. You make an awful lot of mistakes. You meet other folks who are doing it too (working really, really hard and making an awful lot of mistakes). You learn from them. If you’re really lucky, you become friends with some of them and you get to laugh along with them.
Then you get to some point – it may be called graduation, it may be called publication – and some outside force declares you ready to go. For a minute there, you just might believe them and think you’ve made it. And then comes that moment when you’re standing at the podium or on the stage and your knees shake and you are suddenly aware of how little you actually know. But you smile anyway and accept the accolades thrown your way. Only you seem to recognize how tiny and fragile is the ledge upon which you stand. You smile and wave, but inside you are praying, hoping or simply trusting that as you step forward off the precipice on which you are now delicately balanced there will be something out there to catch you before you fall.
Most of us of a certain age have done this once or twice before – this stepping off the precipice, not knowing what comes next. We can often recognize each other by our degrees, our published books, the letters after our names or in some cases by our scars and bruises. Falling flat on your face once or twice will do that to you.
Wishing you all a soft landing!