Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Making First Base
I made it to first base! When I was seven, I spent two weeks every noon hour swinging away with all my strength but couldn’t connect. When it finally happened I just stood there dumbfounded. The yelling at my back spurred me into action, and I peddled my legs for all I was worth. I almost made it, too. It took another two weeks of swinging away before I got a chance to run it again.
The first base I landed on last week has been harder to reach. Lot’s more work. And it’s taken longer. Probably 15 years. The first base I’m talking about is the first draft of my first book.
I wrote the first chapter (not chapter 1 but the first chapter written) sometime around 1994. Life has a way of putting the brakes on the things you’d like to do someday if you had the chance. In 1995 the kids and I moved to Saskatoon so I could finish my degree. There’s no way I’m going to work on a novel when I’m raising a family, attending classes, doing research for a term paper, taking the kids to music lessons, helping them with math… well, you get my drift. It just ain’t gonna happen. Teaching school had the same effect. There were long spans of time when the book vanished from all thought. More important aspects of life, like paying bills, pushed it from view.
I wonder if that’s why it’s taking Jesus so long to return. Does he have children yet to raise? Work still to finish? Projects on the go?
Lately, I’ve started my own business. It lets me be the boss, and I’ve taken charge. I carved out time to write. You heard me. The kids feed themselves these days. Music lessons are done. The professors don’t want to see me anymore. I am so done. I’ve been working a little at a time at the thing I really want to do when I have the chance. These are the joys of being 60, my friend!
I don’t feel guilty because I’m not alone. Others have been late to first base, too. It’s well known that Frank McCourt was 66 when his first book, Angela’s Ashes, was published. I saw him in a television interview a long time ago where he said he thought he would die before he finished it because it took him so long to complete. I can relate. Angela’s Ashes took him 30 years. Daniel Defoe was 60 when Robinson Crusoe launched. At 74 years young, Alan McClean saw his first novel, A River Runs through It, hit the shelves in every bookstore.
So now I’m peddling as fast as I can to second base. Life still takes priority and it always will, but once in a while, I can sneak a few minutes to do the thing I’d like to do someday if I had the chance.
Daniel Defoe. biography. 1996 - 2013. http://www.biography.com/people/daniel-defoe-9269678 (accessed April 7, 2013).
Grossman, Lev. "Frank McCourt, Author of Angela's Ashes, Dies." Time Magazine, July 19, 2009.
Norman McClean. 2013. http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16943.Norman_Maclean (accessed April 7, 2013).