Perhaps the most freeing and terrifying moment for anyone growing up is that moment when you realize, with horror and sudden insight, that everyone else is making it up as they go along, too.
Terrifying? Oh, heck, yeah. We grow up thinking that our parents will protect us, if worse comes to worst.
Okay, so some of us find out early they won’t, because we grow up in troubled times and we’re made of…. what was mom’s expression for me, when she found out something particularly heinous I’d been up to? Usually in the realm of being contrary or endangering myself? Oh, yeah “Made of the devil’s own skin.”
I mean, there was a time between street battle and running away from a curfew check that would have landed me in jail (and apparently potentially in a mass grave, though I was young and didn’t believe in those at the time) that I realized my parents couldn’t save my sorry behind if I got myself in enough trouble.
The thing is, though, that at the time the adrenaline was pumping, and I wasn’t …. um…. so, when you get addicted to adrenaline, you don’t think clearly while getting your high.
But getting married, moving out on my own, having to meet bills? Across the ocean from my parents? Where I couldn’t crash on the sofa of their fully paid off house, should Dan and I manage to not have rent money? Meeting unexpected expenses, like medicine, or car accidents? Oh, dear Lord.
I spent the first ten years of my life in sheer terror, convinced I wasn’t grown up enough to do this, and there was some mysterious knowledge the real adults had. And they weren’t SHARING.
And then sometime between first son and second, I figured out everyone else was just making it up as they went. And get this: some people were worse at it than I was.
… Only for it to repeat again when I sold my first book, and lived for two or three years, locked in terror someone would figure out I wasn’t a real writer. I was just pretending. REALLY convincingly. But sooner or later, I’d be…. unmasked.
I think it took the last ten years of industry WTF for me to get that honestly, no one gets this much better than I do. And that what I want to write might not be “good” — if anyone knows what good is, which I’m starting to doubt — but it’s what I want to write, and so I’m gonna write it, and publish it and repeat.
I didn’t get much done today. It’s my first spring at low altitude, and spring fever hit me as hard as it used to when I was in high school and should be studying for finals. Not much productive as such was done, though there was a lot of soaking up sun, and taking walks.
I think I got it mostly out of my system, and tomorrow I’ll finish the book. And then I’ll do another and another.
And there’s…. stuff I need to try to do. Really weird stuff.
Look, the fairy tale book is unexpectedly selling really well. If that can sell well… boy, have I some stuff I want to write. (And some stuff I want to collaborate on. And–)
It’s spring, and I just realized after 38 years of being an adult, I get to be a kid again. And an adult to. As in, I get to have fun. And get paid for it.