My life is full and wonderful and at times challenging. Like all humans (except those few enlightened ones) I struggle with worries, shyness, frustration, bad dreams, failure, tiredness, physical pain. On the other hand creativity and love keep me going. Husband, children, grandchildren, cats, friends. Music. Swimming, skiing, flowers, food, wine, the ocean, the mountains. Birthdays, dinner parties, movies, books, family.
My novel, Incarnation, published February 29, 2016, an auspicious leap day, is getting read and reviewed. The reviews are like a mirror held up to my mind. I’m still smart and quirky. Some find the book difficult or complex, some a fun fast read. Some don’t like the science, some love the characters and the story. The ending? That’s my own personal resolution after years of writing and being a human being on a spiritual journey. I like transcendent endings to stories. They are a deeper, insightful version of the happy ending. Tolstoy, my old favorite, is master of transcendent wisdom finding his characters somewhere near the end, whether in death or in love.
The thing I’ve mostly outgrown since my high school years is embarrassment over who I am and how people see me. My great Aunt Marjory, about whom I’ve written at fictional length, often used the word “mortified.” I was mortified when I climbed those grand steps at Alamo Heights High School and lost my pile of books. I was on display. Everyone was looking, everyone was laughing at me. I’d proven myself unworthy of their liking. Solidly in the unpopular category.
Perhaps not true. Didn’t some nice boy stop to help me gather my pile? Didn’t I head to my locker (where I occasionally forgot the combination just like I now occasionally forget my debit card password) and put away some of those books? Didn’t I go on to ace a test that afternoon? Didn’t I have a boyfriend who sent me a football mum every Friday? Didn’t I go turn handsprings and walk on the balance beam that afternoon in gymnastics? Wasn’t I more beautiful at age 16, than I can even imagine now?
Now, as I present myself to the world through musical performance, through writing, through speaking from the stage, I realize that a wrong note, a wrong comment, or some unannounced tears can be forgiven or overlooked, or may even be endearing. And no, everyone isn’t looking at me, (probably looking at their cell phones), or if they are, they’re interested in what I’m saying or playing. I’ve gone even further. I’ve realized the pleasure of having an audience in the palm of my hand. I’ve experienced the thrill of a standing ovation. I’ve heard the applause and bowed my thanks. I may someday grow to love it.
And the next day, if I’m back at my computer delving deep into my story, or simply living an ordinary human life, quietly doing my job, doesn’t my smart, weird, quirky, introspective nature make me better at what I do and who I am? Anyway, it’s certainly time to embrace it as I go forward, late bloomer that I am.