I’m a petty villain who dreams of becoming an angel. That is to say, I’ve more despicable faults I fight to hide than I have laudable qualities to extol. Chief among my minor crimes, one of the seven deadly sins; sloth. I love to write and I’m comfortable doing what I’ve done for the past five years, but it simply won’t do. I wish I were two or three people so I might pursue all the avenues my mind imagines to push my work further, higher, faster. And then I remember a flickering jealous moment and the epiphany that doused that dangerous flame.
There’s a wonderful traveling family I run into at the steampunk conventions I attend. The father creates fantastic gadgets (he recently built a steampunk Dalek to serve drinks to one of the Doctors), the mother performs an artistic dance with a troupe of similarly talented women. Their daughter writes. It’s the daughter that awoke the green monster of envy.
She and I served on a writer’s panel at The Upstate Steampunk Extravaganza along with others. As she and I fielded questions from the audience and spoke about our experiences I looked at the lady of sixteen years and thought, I’m thirty years older than her (a little more, actually) and she’s found her calling early enough to really get a lot of mileage out of it.
If she writes a novel a year until she’s my age she’ll have thirty-two novels before she gets where I am today. She might even take summers off and still pump out two dozen. That’s when a little voice whispered in my head and set me straight.
What would you have written at sixteen? How much patience, experience, and coherence did you manage back then?
Too many vices, too little poise, and a heart and mind spinning wildly like those big teacups at the amusement park. No, my life unfolded as it should and my slow and wandering ducks took three decades to get in the writing row. I had some lessons to learn first, some life to live, and I’ll just try to remind myself of that whenever my impatient soul yearns for the quick fix and easy road.
But while I discount my envy of my young author’s head start, so too must I put my heart into my passion all the more and make the most of what time and opportunity Providence provides.