20 years ago and today
20 years ago, I was finishing up my first summer out of college. I was teaching summer school (a miserable experience for both the students and me) and I had much to look forward to. I had finished writing my first novel and my agent at the time was sending it out to publishers. I had a handful of stories upon which my creative writing professor had written, “If you keep writing, you will get published. I promise.” I had a double degree in Secondary Education and English and I was on my way to grad school. I had a plan. Things were happening.
Then: Things happened. I left grad school degreeless. I stopped writing for a while. I went within. People loved me. People fell out of love with me. I fell out of love with people. I fell in love with people. I moved in. I moved out. I worked at this job. I left that job. People told me secrets. People stopped talking to me. I stopped talking to people. People moved away. People stayed close. People got sick. People died.
I pulled myself back up. I kept writing. I got published once and twice and a bunch of times. People believed in me and kept believing in me. I began to believe in myself. I took a chance. I put my work out there. Some people liked it. Some didn’t. There was much rejection and some success. Those who would have broken me, did not break me. I kept writing and people who mattered to me said yes to me and to my words.
Now: in less than a month I begin back at grad school. I will not leave again until I have my Master’s degree.
Now: in March 2012 a novel of mine will be published. Thank you for saying yes to my words, Engine Books!
Now: In August 2012 my short fiction collection will be published. Thank you for saying yes to my words, PANK Little Books!
As for you: don’t you ever give up on yourself. Keep going. You, keep going. Don’t stop. Do not stop.