It is my birthday this week and I will be turning thirty-two, which depending on how you look at it, is either kind of old or very young. I’m not typically one to get very excited about birthdays, so I don’t have much planned, but I have taken the day off of work. This is something that I’ve never done before.
I am looking forward to my day off. I’ve been very carefully not making plans, but I suspect that I’ll spend most of the day working on some fiction that I’ve been inching out train ride by train ride. I began writing on the train when I got my Gtab, which was why I bought it, and it has worked out very nicely. (In fact, these words are being written somewhere between Jamaica and Penn.) In some ways, the train is a productive way to write in that I get two hours of dedicated time per day to do it, but it’s also a distracting way, because it is only an hour at once. Inevitably, time is lost in trying to figure out where I left off and what I’m expecting my characters to be doing, though it does lead me to spending my work day daydreaming about what’s going to happen next. Not all ideas being equal, this frequently leads to indecision, but it’s been good to work through these struggles day after day after day. As with everything, it’s practice, practice, practice.
Having a birthday does make one reflect on one’s life accomplishments – if you’d told my ten year old self that I’d be turning thirty-two without ever having completed a draft of a novel, I would have stomped out of the room. If you told my thirty-one year old self that I needed to write one, she would utterly panic at the idea of trying to find the time. From a writing perspective, I have wasted so many years in not writing, because I have let myself get busy with all the other aspects of my life. Getting established in a career and earning my college degree while working full time didn’t leave a lot of room for imaginative fiction outside of my creative writing classes, but I don’t think my ten year old self would want to hear it. These are all very reasonable excuses, but they point out that I am not living the sort of free life that I always imagined that writing would lead to. After all, everyone around me told me what a talented writer I was, so clearly that was what I was meant to be.
Sometimes I wonder if the drive to keep writing just comes from that expectation that was set on me at that age. There are so many days where the hours of the days pass without a single word being written and, yet, when the writing goes well, nothing else matters at all. When I can reach that meditative state of writing and, even more miraculously, stay there, it all makes sense. That’s my birthday meditation. I have it every year. So now that that’s out of the way, I can think about all the other birthday things.
The most glorious, of course, being that my birthday is April 25th, a day that falls in the same week as Earth Day, Pot Day, Shakespeare’s birthday and the blooming of the cherry blossoms. It almost always rains, which would discomfit most people, but is something that I love. Today is a gray rainy thing, which just makes me want to sit on a train with my Gtab and work on writing while looking out the window. It is absolutely perfect, even as pools form against my kitchen floor from the truly epic amount of water that’s come down from the sky and lashes in under the back door. Rain in the spring brings the promise of bounty and I am still enough of a pagan to appreciate that on a very visceral level. It just makes me happy.
Spring is productivity. It is writing. It is watching the ocean crash in to the shore with the passion that spring storms bring. it is watching the garden get doused with water and knowing that will make the grass grow longer and the roses bloom better. It is the beginning of abundance, of fertility, for whatever that means to you. So that’s my birthday wish to the world; go forth and be creative, in whatever way that means to you. Maybe it’s scribbling the words of characters who only exist in your head. Maybe it’s blogging about whatever your interest is. Maybe it’s planting flowers in a garden, maybe it’s writing code. Maybe it’s making films, or painting or dancing or just dreaming. This is the season of promise, where everything is beginning all over again. Then come tell me all about it, because you are my inspiration.