My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

Where I Am Right Now


In just over a week, Ill be forty. Im not sure if Im where I wanted to be at this point. Because what was the starting point for that assessment, for the true and final goal? At which age did the accounting count? Am I what I wanted to be at 10? At 20? At 27? If Id changed my mind about the direction of my life between 20 and 27, which one counts? Is it like a will in that only the most current version matters?

I remember, very distinctly, when I was in elementary school. My close-by friends and I were considered too close to the school to ride the bus (5 miles away, maybe, which is too far for fourth graders to walk unaccompanied) so our mothers carpooled. On this particular day my friend Ms mother, a nice, intelligent, low-key housewife with the requisite American-made station wagon, and nice city house in a nice city neighborhood, was driving. We kids were talking amongst ourselves in the back seat about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I said, famous singer and movie star! I could see it as an absolute reality there I was up on the stage with the spotlight on me, microphone in hand, belting out a tune. My dress shimmered in the lights, the audience was rapt theyd all saved for weeks to buy tickets to my show, to be transported by my amazing voice. I was a star! My enemies from the past had all been specially invited so that I could figuratively spit in their faces when they saw how unbelievably talented I wasand how sad and pathetic they were in comparison.

"I wanted to be a famous singer, too, when I was your age," Ms mother said. She looked up into the rear view mirror and our eyes met. She was smiling. I was horrified.

Because what had she become? A housewife. She did not work. Her husband was a doctor. They were quite comfortable. She had a daughter and a son. Period. That was her life as I knew it. I absolutely refused to be her when I grew up.

So what happens to that passion? Mainly, for me, I turned out not to have a lot of talent in the performing arts fields: dancing, singing, acting. I enjoyed being in plays, on stage, all that. I just wasnt good enough to go very far with simply an interest and, as I got older, and learned what it really took to be famous (as opposed to a working actor, singer, dancer, etc.), the glamour wore off. When I came in contact with the insane ego surrounding these fields, it died.

I found my true talent (though I may be kidding myself still) in writing. I found I could write things that made people laugh. I could create characters that were believable to a certain degree. So, I went down that road soon learning that it was just as hard to make a career out of writing fiction writing as anything else that involved creativity and talent.

And so, earlier versions of myself at 15 and 20 and 30 would be pleased to know that I ended up married to a pretty good guy, found a career that involved my talents (including writing), and had the two girls Id always wanted. I dont have the beautiful Queen Anne mansion with the rose gardens and the follies scattered throughout the property, I am not rich (far from it Ive got $600 in checking until Friday, not exactly what Id call livin large), I am not driving a Bond Aston Martin or even a VW Karmangia, I am not a published author. Yet.

I suppose Ill just have to be happy with things as they are for the moment and not try to worry about whether I measure up to my own, long ago goals. Even though that's unsatisfactory. Because, considering the path Ive taken thus far, the reasons for why Im here, at this moment, are apparent and explainable. Ive made certain choices and others have been made for me.

And here I am. This is as good as it's going to get for awhile. I still have goals. I'd still like to finish this damn novel by the end of summer (ha, ha, ha). We'll see.


10:19 a.m. ::
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