How did I get here?
I don’t ask that regularly, but every so often I have a moment of wonder. How did I get to be forty-one years old, with a house, and a wife, and car insurance? How have I held the same job for seven years and lived in the same city for nine? How, to borrow from David Byrne, do I work this?
Lately, the question has been: How have I gotten so deeply into this writing thing so quickly?
Nine years ago all the people around me were newspaper(wo)men: fast-talking, over-caffeinated, hard-drinking, acerbic, informed, politically savvy, hopeful, and jaded. Four years ago they were teachers: bitter, devoted, hard-drinking, fatigued, battered, proud, loving, scathing, optimistic, and defeatist. Today, most of my peeps are writers: clever, quippy, supportive, sarcastic, hard-drinking, bleary-eyed, energized, madly creative, best-selling, and oft-rejected.
I see them everywhere. Poker games and parties, blog tours and conventions, Facebook groups and readings. One guy I know is currently twenty-fifth on the NYT bestseller list. Another guy is getting press worldwide for a music bio. Yet another writer seems to be running the table with his short stories. Others – many others -- are toiling in various degrees of obscurity, looking for agents, cleaning up drafts, submitting, filing away rejections, and writing-writing-always-more-writing. It’s a community of literary citizens, always ready to offer congratulations, Tweet out a link, or comment on something published online. We buy each other’s books, go to each other’s readings, and recommend each other stories to our non-writing family and friends.
How did I get here? I close my eyes and jumped. And I’m glad I arrived.