It saddens me greatly that I have only one life in which to read and write. All those books I will not have opened, the ignorance I will take with me to my final bed. And of course, the books I will have left unwritten. And yet, I’ve been given, this year, pages to add to the chronicles of community, and to culture and art at large.
You know how writers start a blog in the dubious hope of being discovered out here (by a publisher)? Well, one found me. I responded to the encouragement to submit, and the narrative The Measure of a Woman made its way into the 2018 New York’s Emerging Writers anthology. I put in under New York for the relevance to my mother’s early immigrant years there. The editors will offer a solo book deal to the author who draws the best reader feedback, so imagine how much I will appreciate anyone who takes a moment to put up a good word for me on that Amazon page. You can take to the bank this public assurance that I will remember you when I’m rich and famous ’til I wake from that dream. Here are examples of comments that readers have dropped on a previous series.
In the summer, I then reached out to WestCoast Magazines, a publication that serves the affluent families and businesses in this part of Southern California. After reading my work, the CEO gave me the run of her upcoming feature. Don’t bother tapping in if you’re not within distance, but I will say the article explains the distinctives of public, private, charter, and home schools to help families navigate choices and to build bridges across the school sectors. Unwittingly, I made some important contacts in the research, and now am on board with a large reputable school district to teach its students poetry and its teachers how to write. For starters, I was asked to share some poems at the district poetry showcase last week where my husband and son also got to do a steel drum duet. (Yes, that is really my husband out of costume.) A few things have evolved for me simultaneously in all this.
Camera-shy (more like vehemently averse), I have always preferred to be read, not seen. And I honor the written poem because the way it looks on the page matters to me. Add to this the jarring thought that in performing a poem, I myself visually become part of the piece. Just as I had talked myself into going for it, I learned of a sudden passing of someone I knew in high school. Her lights went out in a brain aneurysm after 45 brief years, at my age. In the face of the sure limit on my own time, I decided to forge ahead into the world of Spoken Word. Perhaps it’s as simple as middle-age bungee jumping. But I want to create, and in new ways—while I can. It turns out that some of my posts—prose and poetry—work well spoken. And so in earnest defense against dementia and related demise of brain cells, I have been memorizing my work, and performed it at the showcase last week in an electric evening with an impressive turnout. Entering my zone while connecting with the audience was an amazing experience that pushed me beyond the comfortable ride of rolling out words in print.
Connecting with readers virtually is a special privilege but engaging an audience face to face—offering my physical and emotional self—a challenge, thrill, and power all its own. Blogging has taught me to write not like I’m educated but like I’m human, to step closer to the reader. Similarly, performing literally brings me in front of people to ask them to let me in. Perhaps a student of color, along the way, will find her own voice from watching the way I modulate and present mine. Of course I wrangled with that pesky question of whether I was good enough, but managed to be invited back for a literacy conference next month. Einstein said imagination is more important than knowledge, and I think this is so because imagination allows us to keep discovering beyond the knowing, as the arts enable us to do—not with the fastidiousness of a scientist or scholar, but with wonder. The turn in my journey isn’t only about fuller living and the evolution of an artist but also a modeling for my son. I want to help nurture his own proficiency in presentation and performance because if you can look a crowd in the eye and tell a story or share your conviction, you can influence a great many people in today’s world. DIY YouTubes and the variants of TED talks that are shaping our culture say it all. I was accepted as a speaker at an annual state homeschool conference a few months ago. It both empowered and concerned me to see the homeschooling parents take to my workshop like water. They were so appreciative the response made me want to go to the public school teachers because writers who teach are busy with aspiring writers at conferences and special programs. They are not in the schools. I am excited to be guiding teachers so they can build their skill set along with their students’.
I laugh some moments, marveling that I can make up stuff and convince people to buy my wares. But I embrace the deeper lesson that opportunity isn’t so much something that shows up as it is something to create. Don’t wait for your life. The doors I tried this year have freely swung open, but I first had to imagine and then believe people would make space for me, should make space for me. Only one life, friends. To dream, think, pursue, make, and because we have not only hands and brain, but also spirit, to do it in community. You bet I had the little Naysayer on my shoulder to deal with. But you’re too old to be doing Spoken Word. Talk to me when Sarah Jones stops doing whatever strikes her fancy on that stage. Your material isn’t angry enough, hip enough. As long as I’m asked back, I will stake my place among the ten thousand voices of poetry. There are better writers. Always. But they didn’t call the district superintendent. It’s one thing for finances, health, or death to get the better of me, but I will not live beneath my ability out of self-scripted fear. Do my job where I am? I am letting life and joy follow where I go.
182 thoughts on “Don’t Wait For Your Life”
I have books all over the place. As my decor in the kitchen, bathroom, living room, car everywhere.
Reblogged this on LIFE is God's Novel: A Book (or three or four or TEN) being written as "life unfolds" and commented:
Thanks, Craig. Appreciate the ongoing support. Hope you are well.
a pleasure and happy writing + enjoy the weekend
I have lots of “angels” helping me get by before I get “waylaid down the tributaries of life here in Sleepy Hollow”
Place sounds dangerous. =)
definitely not here in “Sleepy Hollow” – just me!
I just wanted to say thank you so very much for liking my “Incredibles 2” movie review! Happy new year, and may God bless you and yours in your endeavors!
Glad you’re still around. =)
I know I never said thank you for this. In honest truth, I’d let my memories of this thread slip from my mind until WordPress sent me a notification about it. But this was immensely kind of you to say.
Lighten up, just enjoy life, smile more, laugh more, and don’t get so worked up about things, as simple as that 🙂
Sounds good, lol!
Congratulations. On being spotted. Now about books not read? There is not enough time to read all. period. I read about 50-60 books a year. In France alone they publish 500 each Fall. And another 500 in January. 20 years of my reading time? 🙂 Hell. One has to be selective.
I cannot adequately express my joy & enthusiasm for your news❗️❗️ Congratulations!! Have fun! Let your good heart flow into the hearts and minds of others. Speak from your story into countless others… Joy!
I feel the blessings from your heart. Thank you so much, Daniel. The last workshop at a Christian private school went great. Hope you are well.
Hey , “the bad news is nothing lasts forever and the good news is nothing lasts forever” is my take on life . A very insightful post . Thanks
Can’t argue with that. Thanks for the follow and your time here.
Do find time to visit sunniesmybunnies too
Agree. Life isn’t ahead of us, life is now.
Well said. Kudos for your courage and firstname.lastname@example.org
This is well said !!!
Glad you liked. Thanks.
Congratulations and well done to you. I agree about all the books we’ll never read, time is so precious, and we must make the most of however much we have. Wishing you even greater success in the future.
Appreciate the sweet word, Chris. Hope you are well.
Thank you. It goes without saying, don’t let fear stop you. It’s a lesson for many of us. Take care now.
Thanks for taking a moment.
This made my day, Diana, and please keep us updated. Plus, it was fun to go back and re-read your piece “The Measure of a Woman” again and I think all your readers will gladly be supporting you on this adventure. No truer words, ” Don’t wait for your life. The doors I tried this year have swung open…”
You know all about not waiting. Thanks, R. Good to see you.
We are missing you, but know that the beauty of life is sweeping you off into another direction ~ it is a gift you have to feel there are so many directions to go (books to read/write/discuss endlessly), and it is a brave person who understands this while choosing her path 🙂 Wishing you and your family a great autumn and finish to the year.
I’ve been teaching at a university. I’m burning the midnight candle grading assignments and trying to keep the dishes downstairs from growing like the Tower of Babel.
Wow, it would be great to have you as a university professor 🙂 It also must be fun to get a feel for the pulse of this generation. As for the dishes, let it grow – at some point your husband will give in 🙂 Enjoy yourself, D., that is most important. Cheers ~
Thanks so much. Wishing you joy in your journey.
HI there Miss Wayfarer, just looking for a familiar voice on the web on this rainy Saturday night.. I hope you are well… jc
I had just hopped on a plane for the other side of the country when you thought of me, JC. Thanks so much for the rap on the window. I hope you are well.
Sometimes all that’s needed is a rap on the window for the traveler that travels a million miles. I am well. I hope the flight was good.
I salute your bold journey and continuing evolution. Your words give me hope and courage. Thank you. And thanks for liking my post “More Words Please.” I am honored.
I appreciate your taking the time. Thanks for the follow. Keep writing!
We can be our own worst enemy. Yes, easier to be read than listened to. Public speaking is feared by more than death … Rise! Merry Christmas 🎄, Happy Holidays !
Thank you, and wishing you the same and more, Peter. =)
Sounds like some amazing opportunities and growth!
I’ve since discovered – firsthand, not through books or quotes – that suffering is the biggest opportunity for growth.
I think suffering does make you grow. Though a hard way to grow. I think we all have our internal battles but actually turning those dark times into something positive is growth
Have a blessed, book-filled day! 🙂
Thank you. Peace and light.
What an excellent day to notice – as I’d somehow missed it – that you’d Liked my blog post, “The Path.” We always hope our thoughts – and writing – resonate with others, but when I came to visit your blog here I understood our commonality. Your last paragraph is like an echo of myself talking to myself, saying what I know but can sometimes lose. Thanks for these thoughtful words.
Thank you for verbalizing the connection, Jeanne. =) What we share we call the human experience.
Didn’t realise I have been connected to a ‘discovered’ writer. Well done. Hope to see more on your blog.