Friday, April 17, 2015

As I approach another birthday...

     Considering I'm a writer, I haven't been writing much here!  The good news of course, is that I have been writing my next Jimmy Vega novel and thinking about doing a short story or novella about Georgia Skeehan (my other series). With all those characters running around in my head, I'm afraid I don't have much time for that other character in my
     How do you celebrate your birthday? My daughter's birthday is nine days before mine so we are usually focused on her. But I have something I like to do every fifth year since I turned 30--and that is, write a letter to myself and take stock of my life. Since I am not turning an age this year with a 0 or a 5 at the end, that letter will have to wait. But I will do a short one now.
     My father, who passed away in September, was a bit of a philosopher. And one of the things he always told me is "the wheel turns. What is up now will go down and what is down will go up." This has seemed more true as the years have gone by. Twelve years ago, I had just released my third novel and given birth to my second child--all very exciting. Two years later, my mother had just died. Three years after that, a novel I had spent two years working on was rejected by every agent and editor I showed it to.
     The wheel was probably at its lowest point as far as my writing career goes four years ago at around my birthday time. I had spent the past two years interviewing immigrants and writing their stories in their own voices for a project I was working on with an outreach center. Then I got word that the project was cancelled. I had no manuscripts that any editor wanted to see. I couldn't even get gigs teaching writing anymore.
     But the wheel turns...And the very things that seem like failures become opportunities.
     I wrote my "birthday letter" full of self-pity and less than six weeks later, I got an email that I'd been awarded a one-year fellowship at a college. As soon as that happened, the juices started flowing again. In a year, I had a book--based on those wonderful stories about the immigrants that I just couldn't let die. In two years, I had an agent. In two and a half, a publisher. And now, my fourth book is out, my fifth is due out in a few months and I've just signed a deal to write books six and seven (I'm writing book six now).
     And I know the wheel will turn again...
     So if you're reading this and you are in the "downshift" setting, please try to have faith that if you can just hang on a little longer, things will change. The world is full of changes every day--whether we want them or not. Cherish the moment. Believe in the future. And keep reading and writing.
     Signing off now--on my almost birthday...