Every year I buy myself a birthday dress. This year, when I stepped out of the dressing room in a smoldering silver number, my ruca was speechless and the Ambiance attendant swore I looked like a curly-haired J.Lo—so of course I was sold. And because turquoise is my birthstone color, it was only natural that I sought out a pair of turquoise suede heels, right? Now many of you may think I’m going over the top, but considering I wear a boring black uniform to work and dress bundled in layers year-round, I don’t mind giving myself one day to work the hell out of a skin tight firme dress and be able to stop traffic on Mission Street.
Aside from buying my annual dress, I also make birthday/early New Year’s resolutions. This year is unique though, as my goal will not just be “getting my novel published,” nor will I beat myself up for not getting it published again…
In my late teens, I began writing a coming-of-age novel about three girls who lose their fourth best friend in a car accident. Between the lines of the 518 double-spaced pages is not only a beautiful story, but a decade of my soul’s evolution. Because I played “god” at creating these characters who came to life in my head, I sometimes still feel a weary sense of nostalgia for them that perhaps only a puppet-maker could explain.
While I’ve wallowed in self-pity many years over not getting the novel published, I haven’t given myself credit for the process of simply becoming a writer. Indeed, it has been a journey. I spent an entire year submitting my manuscript to publishing houses, only to find out by one of those how-to Dummy books that unsolicited submissions are about as likely to get read as a letter to Santa Claus. (Talk about feeling like a dummy.) Deciding I needed some experience beefing up my resume, I spent another year interning for a weekly city paper and a magazine. I learned lots of things that year: one, that I’m lousy at fact-checking and that mistakes in print really suck; two, that transcribing is not meant for day-dreamers with ADD; and three—and most importantly—I learned that I didn’t want to work for a magazine or newspaper. Sure, being a food critic forced to sample 20 different ice cream flavors for “research” was fun, but I am a fiction writer. I want to write short and long stories, not only about myself, but about the imaginary people in my head that I breathe life into. (Call me crazy; I call myself a writer.)
This past year, I’ve undergone a major growth spurt in my writing. Starting a blog where I can openly share my work has been monumental. I’ve begun talking with other writers, going to workshops and authors’ talks, and getting on twitter and facebook to advertise myself. I’ve been invited to a spoken word in Albuquerque next year by some down-ass Chicana writers—awesomeness—and even decided recently to go back to school.
While it may have taken lots of time (and many birthday dresses) to realize what type of writer I want to be, I’m not focusing on what I didn’t become over the years or what I haven’t gotten published. Instead, come December 1st, I will be celebrating what I have become and the fact that I’m continuing on my path…. Having a super firme dress (and heels) to cross that rite of passage in will just be the icing on my birthday cake.
|Can I walk in these? Who cares!|
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