(photo by Joan Carmouche-Hairston)
Why do I write? What on earth possessed me, halfway through my life (providing I live until 100), to downright gamble on making it as an author? I mean, I didn’t do this half-assed. I pulled up stakes. I quit my job, sold my stuff, and moved from Japan—where I had a decent salary—to Mexico. It helps that I am only responsible for myself and my two cats (who, by the way, eat better than I do at the moment), but it’s a little nuts just the same.
Maybe I was a little naïve. When I told people what I intended to do many asked what my back-up plan was. Back-up plan? It never occurred to me to have a back-up plan. Part of that is because I am determined to succeed in this. A back-up plan places a spark of doubt in my mind, and I can’t afford doubt. But go ahead and join the ranks of those who call me crazy. It only strengthens my resolve.
I was never one of those people who came screaming out of the womb knowing what they wanted to do when they grew up. I wanted to travel. So I travelled. In college, I majored in philosophy. It was fun and wonderful, but not exactly career oriented, unless of course, I wanted to teach. I wanted to… for about a minute. That quickly passed.
Most of my jobs… okay, all of my jobs, came out of opportunity and chance. Those I loved paid the least, and the ones that paid a decent wage, I hated. Even my Master’s degree came about through opportunity and chance. I worked for a university and all of my classes were free. I’d be a fool not to take advantage of that, right? So I pursued a degree in Counseling. It was a nice compliment to philosophy, but did I want to be a counselor? No.
For a long time I was content being directionless. Then in my late 40’s something happened. Someone very close to me, and also young (depending on which side of 40 you’re sitting), nearly died. It hit me hard. Life is short. I realized that allowing myself to be blown about at the whim of the winds, while fun, wasn’t what I wanted for the rest of my life. My job wasn’t fulfilling, it just allowed me to live comfortably.
So what, I asked myself, do I want to do? What am I passionate about? I’m passionate about writing and art, but they were hobbies. People have told me my whole life that I should write a book. I’ve started books, but never finished them. I never took my writing or art seriously—until now.
You’ve probably figured out by now that Paint, Present & Future is my debut novel. Is it a roaring success? Not yet, but I also just self-published it in early July. “Oh no!” you scream, “An Indie Author! What do you know about making it as an writer!?” Nothing. Nada. Not a damn thing. All I know is that so far the author’s life-style suits me. My ideal job is one where I don’t have to go anywhere, can set my own schedule, work in my pajamas, be social when I want, hibernate in the seclusion of my home for days on end, and forget to shower. I might not know a helluva lot yet… but I will, and what I learn is what I want to share with you.
There you have it. A very truncated version of my beginnings. I plan to keep these segments short, mostly because I have the attention span of a flea, and when I read long blogs I tend to drift off. This approach is for all of you kindred drifters.
My parting thoughts: Don’t let your age limit you. It is never too late to screw up. At the end of it all, I want to be able to say that at least I tried.
Stay tuned for segment 2: The painful, hair pulling, oftentimes frozen-in-my-tracks, writing process.