My birthday is next week. The little angel's is in a few months. She's not little anymore -- she'll be 14. So will this blog.
Everything I start to write I just select and delete. I'm not really sure what I want to say. It's a new year ... 2018. This year (next week), I will turn 44. My daughter in April will turn 14. My marriage in June will turn 17.
God, the passage of time is relentless, isn't it?
We've started talking about when Lily ... I always had this grand plan of doing a great outing of her identity when she turned thirteen, but I'm almost a year too late ... the little angel's name is Lily Jane Arens ... will soon be driving and have an even greater level of independence ... of even when she will graduate and leave the house ... not because we want that to happen or because we're looking forward to it, but because it is actually going to happen, and if we don't prepare for it, it will catch us by surprise.
I thought I would do this great outing, but it turns out that the world moved on while I wasn't looking, and she doesn't need my help at all. I got her Twitter and her URL reserved when she was born, and now it's possible that tech is outdated for her generation.
My daughter doesn't need me to shepherd her into the digital world. I thought she would, but she doesn't. Funny, considering my career trajectory. Nothing can prepare us for what comes next.
I'm all over but I haven't been here in a while and I think I might in fact be the only person who still reads this blog. If that's the case, ha, Rita, can you even believe you're writing this on the Chromebook you asked for at Christmas after getting jealous of Lily's light little device? Or that I'm still working on Parker Cleaves but no longer feel even the slightest trace of guilt that it's taking so long? That I no longer expect anyone will notice if I publish another book, nor do I feel too bad about that?
Who is this evolved individual who doesn't torture herself over lack of writerly accomplishment? Oh, me, the one who worked and worked for just such things and realized the world can still move on, no matter how much you hate that.
I come back to this space because it's still mine, as long as Typepad maintains its death grip. The app already stopped working about six months ago, so who knows what will become of Surrender, Dorothy when Typepad goes belly up. I used to save everything down once a month, but at this point, I'm a cowgirl. I'm all, "hey, I can create new words if the old ones go away." That is crazy. Who am I to not worry about losing past work? Who am I to believe my big fat brain can conjure up new ones if the old ones get flushed?
There is comfort and joy as a creative to trust you will make new words that will be just as good as the old ones. I spent half my life worrying I would lose what I had written. It has only been in the past few years I've learned to trust that there are more where all the old ones came from. My stories will just get better because they'll be informed by everything that came before, and more and more is coming before.
I started my career when I was half as old as I will be next week.
I've been thinking about that girl I was then.
I've been thinking about fear, and career paths, and money, and making it work. I've been thinking about being hit by a bus or really bad cancer tomorrow. I've been thinking about what it will feel like when my daughter leaves home.
I've been looking in the mirror and asking, what's next?
And I've realized, if I ever stop asking what's next --- shoot me now.