Nothing has changed, I suppose. It’s just a number.
Some people obsess about turning older. As a kid, you want so bad to be an adult. As the years start sliding away, you want to be a kid again.
To hell with that. I fought hard for these wrinkles–these gray hairs. Time has not been easy on me, but I haven’t exactly been easy on time, either.
43 is a prime number, and here we are. I’m in my prime again. That’s something I suppose.
I celebrated by going to work. Afterwards, I had poutine at Pies and Pints, along with a bottle of Le Fin du Monde. Later still, there was a writing group at the Wayward. I submitted a story to a pro market, which brought my current total to eight stories out in circulation. I turned 43 doing what I love doing. Yeah, I spent hours dealing with a hack to my Windows Live account at work, and another few hours when I got home. It still all balanced out. It was an excellent day.
That story I submitted was rejected 4 days later. Nature of the game. As much as I’d like to hear back on other stories out there in the ether, it was the most recent. Funny how life is. I brushed the little guy off, looked for holes in his clothes, pinned a note to his jacket, and sent his ass right back out there the same day. For good measure, I sent a ninth story out there as well.
Nine feels like a good number. It’s a number of completion.
Completion feels good.
What else feels good is the agency hunt. The full manuscript for Ink Calls to Ink was requested by an agent on my last day at age 42. I couldn’t imagine a better birthday present. Maybe they will love reading it like I loved writing it. Maybe there is a day not to far from now when I’ll be announcing a big book deal. Maybe I can quit the day jobbery, hire one of my best friends to help manage my schedule, and go live in the desert and write.
There are a lot of maybes in this biz, kid.
Here’s what I know: My stock of short stories that I feel are good enough to sell is tapped out. If I want to submit anything else I have to wait for something to perhaps come back, or I have to write something new. That’s a good place to be. And I have no shortage of story ideas. I’m reading several knock-out good novels/novellas that Timid Pirate is going to be publishing later this year, and every one of them is crackerjack. I have some of the best friends in the world–they even braved opening night crowds, high ticket prices, and IMAX 3D to see The Avengers with me for my birthday. There’s a teriyaki place a few blocks away that makes spicy chicken teriyaki so good it’s like getting a handjob from Jesus. My bills are paid. My family and friends are healthy. Fried chicken and waffles might sound weird, but damn! I used to think Glen Campbell was hokey, but “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” are sincerely awesome songs even now.
Sometimes the secret to happiness is not getting what you want, but instead wanting less and learning to appreciate what you have. When you do that, the world is a pretty good place. So I remind myself:
Find time to breathe deeply.
Live with mindful compassion.
Keep within sight of center at all times.
And always remember–you are in your prime.