Maybe Far Away, Or Maybe Real Nearbyyyy…

So, did I mention I had a birthday last week? And did I mention that I’ve been referring to myself as being in my “early late twenties?” And how I’ve had this nagging feeling for the past couple of years that maybe I’d like to stay right where I was, age-wise? Yeah. Well, I really feel that way this year. Oh yes. Twenty-seven. Getting up to thirty, soon. Then I’ll be forty, and then I’ll be fifty, and you can take it from there.

And generally, I’m okay with that. For the most part. Except. Well, except I used to be a Gifted Child.

Laugh if you will, especially any of you that have ever actually gone to school with me. It’s just that I have crossed over this weird line…on one side of the line was You Have Great Potential and on the other side is, well, me. Can you believe that I went around in high school telling people I wanted to be published by the ages of twenty-one? I just expected that some sort of literary agent person would be stopping by my high school and dropping into Mr. Skinner’s creative writing class, see my work laying on the table, skim it, hand me a check and tell me where to show up to pose for my back-of-the-cover photo. That simple. Just like I used to sing extra loud in the shower in the hopes that the casting guy from Kids Incorporated would be walking the sunny streets of my hometown, hear me belting out that part from Annie,

“No one CARES when your lonely nights are WEEEEpy
No one CARES if you grow or if you shriiiiiiink
Something, something something else that rhymes with WEEEpy
For the crying you would think this place would SIIIINK!”

knock on my door, ask my mom to speak with the latest hot young talent currently writing her name and drawing a unicorn on the steamed-up bathroom mirror, and away we’d go. That simple. As I one time told Marah’s mom, in all sincerity, “Well, I’ve always been special.”

And it’s weird…as I proofread citation lists or shop at Trader Joe’s or do my laundry or whatever, all the normal things that adult life is made of, I still can’t quite believe it. I can’t quite understand how that didn’t happen to me…I mean, I know few people rise to the dizzying levels of Spelling Bee Champion, Student Congress President, Sixth-Grade Graduation Speech-Giver Person, AND Future Problem Solver Team Best In County all in one heady year (1987, my peak, I suppose)…but you can probably imagine the immense letdown of every single year since. Every single year, ragazzi, I have been practicing my surprised face in the mirror for when they hand me the Oscar. I’ve put in the time to write the acknowledgements for my novels, to write the liner notes for my albums, even to sketch out a couple of Seventeen articles for my break-out performance in…something. Doesn’t that count? Isn’t it time for me to be fabulous yet?

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