Today I met a fellow writer. She was right under my nose, so to speak, and I had no idea. The funny thing is, when I saw her, I immediately recognized her as someone I had noticed many times before in my building. That may not sound so coincidental, except for the fact that there are probably over three thousand people working in my office. It got me thinking that maybe I was supposed to meet her all along.
It all started this morning, when I received an email advertising a book fair from 9:30 – 3:30, which is not uncommon since they occur every few months or so, usually around gift-giving holidays. What was different about this one, though was the announcement that one of our coworkers would be there, debuting her novel. She wrote a book, found a publisher, and was having her first book signing ever. Granted, it was in the cafeteria of our company headquarters, but I’m sure it is only the first of many she will conduct.
She’s young, this writer. Or at least she’s younger than I am, but that’s not difficult since I’m older than dirt, according to my son. Her novel is classified as Young Adult and the genre is fantasy, I think. I walked over to introduce myself, claiming that I, too, am working on a book. She was full of all sorts of tips about writing groups, and getting published, and in general she was just full of energy. Which is why I started to feel like my novel will never be finished, much less published.
I’m tired and jaded and pessimistic, which is probably the biggest recipe for failure I have ever heard. She prattled on about her journey with a gleam in her eyes that I just don’t have. I’m not sure if I ever had it. Her excitement at selling me the very first copy of her book was almost infectious; that’s how strong it was. It very nearly drew me in, to the point where I was momentarily thrilled to be her first customer. But once that died down, I was left with one thought: I am not as good.
When I first heard about the book signing and that there was a fellow writer/full-time employee in my midst, I’ll admit I was intrigued. I wanted to meet her for two reasons. First of all, I wanted to buy her book, probably as some sort of show of solidarity. And second, I truly believed that being in the presence of someone who did what I dream of doing would give me motivation. But I forgot how my brain works, or should I say how it works against me. I made short order of turning a pleasant chat into a perfect excuse for me to give up on something I have wanted for almost as long as I could hold a pencil.
My encounter today with “young and energetic”, knocked me down. It slapped me in the face and grabbed me by the arms and shook me, until I screamed “uncle”. I raised the white flag and surrendered to the negativity. I’m distracted, I thought to myself. I can’t write because I’m not good enough. I can’t concentrate on anything except how awful my writing is, so therefore, I shouldn’t write.
But the fact remains, I STILL WANT TO WRITE.
And then it hit me. I realized how insane all of this sounded.
So I decided to write about it. The irony does not escape me.
Nevertheless, I was intent on telling the world that I’ll never be a writer, but I’ll always be Krazy.
And in doing so, I proved that at least half of that statement may actually be false.