Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's That Time Again!

So. Birthday post. What shall we talk about?

Over the past year, I published two short stories: My Apple Tree and Wishing Cotton. Exciting stuff. I’ve discovered through this process that I am more self-conscious of my writing than I’d actually realized. Nothing strikes terror in my breast like putting my work out there for people who don’t owe me favors, loyalty, or money to critique. That fear has always been a challenge I’ve struggled to overcome. The biggest source of pride for me is that I’ve published at all; I’ve left the safety of my computer files and journals and opened myself up for criticism. Even if no one ever reads my books, releasing them into the wild is a pretty big accomplishment all by itself.

I’ve also started edits on my first full-length novel, The Truth Seekers. It’s an historical romance, most likely my one and only. I’m planning to settle down after this. I’m getting too old to bounce around from style to style, so it’s time to commit. All the same, I’ve done a ridiculous amount of work on this book, so it would feel wrong not to share it in a final display of sowing my wild oats. I only hope it doesn’t suck, but that’s a question to answer in my NEXT birthday post.

Just lie and tell me it's brilliant.

My older son finished his freshman year of high school, making it onto the second honors roll despite all the nay-sayers who said that an autistic kid would never make it in a challenging, private college-prep school. 

Captain, my captain.

So nyah-nyah. It wasn’t easy, but as people are discovering about me, I would fight to the death for my kids. I don’t let anyone place limits on my boys – even themselves. Still, I have to admit that his next milestone fills my soul with dread. It’s time for him to learn to drive. Pray to your gods, people. This will be interesting.

"Please, don't let him see a squirrel..."

His little brother, Shorty, finished third grade in one piece. We have some concerns with his development, but that’s a battle we’ll start fighting again once school is back in session this autumn. Shorty is now having a blast at theater camp, and really, what’s the point of being a child if you can’t enjoy it? We’ll cross the appropriate bridges when we come to them. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to his first public performance next week.

The venue will be slightly less glamorous than this.

I became an aunt for the first time, which was really lovely. Although we haven’t met Minna in person yet, we are planning to spoil her like mad. Being an only child, I have always wondered if I would get the opportunity to be someone’s “cool aunt.” Here’s my chance!

Okay, not THAT cool.
Probably more like this.

I got a tattoo on my last birthday, and while I’m not doing that again this year, I did enjoy waiting for my parents to notice. They were just two weeks shy of going a full year. 

Way to miss the obvious.

They have dealt with this heavy blow by never mentioning it and pretending it never happened. I think I’ll give them a year off before I do something that upsets their worldview again.

Not exactly subtle, either.

I have gotten sucked into the world of crowd-funded projects this year. Many of you have seen my posts about The Minister of Chance, which began life as a sonic adventure and is now morphing into a film. The initial reason I loved this project so much was that it reminded me of the days when my father would play tapes of the old radio shows he listened to as a child. The imagination and imagery that went into some of those early productions has been amplified by the Minister of Chance cast and crew. Even without taking into account that this was a crowd-funded operation (and therefore wasn’t making anyone rich), what they have accomplished is really remarkable. The six episodes of the sonic series are available for free download on iTunes or the Minister of Chance website. I can’t recommend it enough. The talent that has come together to bring the Minister’s world to life is astounding, and the people working on this project are just lovely, dedicated, welcoming, and brilliant (as well as stunningly good looking).

Tell your friends! Hell, tell your enemies! We're not picky!

This year, I’ve reconnected with old friends, made new ones, and seen more of the amazing, screwy, wonderful, and insane place we call Planet Earth. I’ve been bowled over by beauty, heartbroken by cruelty, frustrated by ignorance, and frightened by risks.

I still have so much left to do. My husband tells me that I really need to learn to cook eventually, and he wouldn’t mind if I actually folded the laundry now and then. I need to learn the fine art of self-promotion without incorporating an apology for my mediocrity at every opportunity. My computer and I need to have more time apart, because there are some lovely people in my life, and I should take more time to enjoy and appreciate them. My health needs to be a bit more than an afterthought as I chug my eighth cup of coffee, too.

All the same, I’m proud of how I spent this year. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t easy, but it took me further on my path. If I had to sum up the theme of my fortieth year, I would say it was this:

Make the scary choice.