On Writing and Birthdays

It’s been such a long while, dear readers. A new year to remember to write down, a veritable gaggle of tissues paper flowers made for a bridal shower, a new series of Sherlock come and gone. My shoulder has developed quite the endurance from carrying around a massive book that is only occasionally read. My fictional king has remained in suspended sleeplessness halfway through a notebook. And I’ve just come off a rather gourmet week after many 25th birthday celebrations.

As far as writing the book goes, I have not been particularly productive of late, but this kind of distance at least always allows me a sense of perspective. How far I’ve come, how far there is still to go (I believe the phrase is “miles to go before I sleep”). This little break has also developed a sense of hunger that makes me itchy to pick up a pen and scribble away for days.

Maybe it’s turning a quarter of a century old that has made me so reflective, but I’ve made another rather startling realization. I started this book when I was 17, a high school student whose whole life experience could be contained in a house, a classroom, and a dance studio. I was writing a story about love and parenthood and loss and powerlessness. For how much has changed about my book since its first imagining, a lot has stayed the same. I’m now the adult age of my characters, and with every new incarnation of them that has developed over the years, I can’t help but notice changes that came about because of my own experience and growth. Having fictional characters as a measuring stick for your personal development has its own poignancy and weirdness.

Of course, this will be ongoing. I’ve hardly peaked in maturity, and already this year seems to have a lot of big changes in store. I imagine no amount of years will ever stop me from swinging between “this book is going to be amazing” and “this book is the most pointless thing that has ever happened.” For now, though, I particularly cherish my characters and what we’ve been through and how we’ve grown together. For all the changes life has brought, I’m still the girl who holds books as close to her heart as she does her family and friends.

I feel a bit like I’m coming up to the best kind of downhill run, the kind where you hold on and let the wind rush through your hair, and you laugh with the carelessness and joy of childhood the whole way down.

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