There was a time when I thought I would be a writer- as in, actually published and lounging in the lap of luxury created by the sales of my novels. One day, however, I read a short story written by a classmate at LSU and saw what real talent looked like. Re-reading my own submission for that assignment, I saw only the absence of what I thought I possessed. A smart girl would have packed it in then, but I never claimed to be that smart. My heart of hearts believed that if I wanted something badly enough, it would be within my reach. All I had to do was work hard enough for it.
There was a long history of this kind of thinking in my childhood and teen years. My parents were possibly driven to early hearing loss for being subjected to years of flute practice that landed me not even close to a seat in State Honor Band. My ranking was something like, 49 out of 50. Twirling baton was another failure that I didn’t realize was a failure. Starting in fourth grade, limitless hours of practice increased my skill only marginally. There was no shortage of purple-to-green-to-yellow bruises I gained from hitting myself with the thing, or having it fall on my head during toss-and-spin moves. During a Friday night high school football game, with fingers numb from the cold, I fumbled my baton and it tumbled to the ground over and over again. I gave up and walked away. Bad timing for a life decision like that. I walked away and left the other majorette (and close friend) out there on her own. The self-centeredness of this action is something I am still regretful of today. It’s a shame we can’t go back to our 16-year-old selves and give advice. Supposedly, life would be boring if we could do that, but think of the heartaches we could undo. Perhaps we could even undo some of our own.
Back to my aspirations of becoming an author… Because I believed I could do anything if I wanted to enough, in my junior year at LSU, when I met that talented classmate, I submitted a short story to “Legacy”, an LSU publication. The aforementioned classmate did also. Guess which one of us made the cut? I’m proud to write that I can count one of my closest friends as a published writer. Close Friend—you know who you are. I hope you are writing this month.