Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Beginnings, Birthdays and Books

by Janis Patterson

Yesterday was my birthday. I won’t tell you which one, only that it’s a big one – one of the ‘0’ ones. An entire new decade lies before me, and it’s taking all my courage not to turn around and attempt to run the other way, back through previous decades which, no matter how scary they seemed at the time, suddenly seem safe and easy.

Every birthday is a step into the unknown; if you want to be picky, I guess that every day could be regarded the same, but a birthday – especially an ‘0’ one – is so much more cosmic. It’s a new beginning, much as the beginning of a new book.

Now that’s not so big of a stretch, to compare a birthday and a book. A new book is a completely different world, and world-view, and commitment. Your life will never be the same once you type ‘Chapter One’ or do your outline or whatever it is you do to start a new book. You are committed, either voluntarily or involuntarily, to a new state of being that will affect your life majorly for a while and minorly for the rest of your life. The actual length of time is immaterial, because when the project is over, you can’t go back to being the way you were before. You will be irrevocably changed.

Life is constantly in flux; each day is different, just as each page in a book is different. It’s just that milestones – birthdays, beginnings – always seem so much more noticeable. Especially the birthdays. Especially the big birthdays. The ‘0’ birthdays. It is a literal change in your life. But – whether it’s writing, or birthdays… it sure beats the heck out of the alternative!


7 comments:

Linda Thorne said...

I made the transition to the "0" birthday too. In June. Starting a new decade and it's scarier getting this old (at least my "0" seems old to me). You are so correct about the process of starting a new book being a whole new world and your life never being the same once you type 'Chapter One.' I think anyone who has ever started working at being a writer will identify totally with this post. Good job. Quite interesting.

Fran McNabb said...

I totally agree that birthdays and starting a book have similarities--some are frightening, some are wonderful. I hope your next decade is exciting and wonderful.

Morgan Mandel said...

Those 0 birthdays always get me down. I used to think 30 was old, and now I'm more than twice that age.

Anyway,I'm trying to finish a book I started years ago, and will be glad when it can be born to the reading world.

Susan Oleksiw said...

It's nice to read my feelings on birthdays spelled out on the page by someone else. I always begin a new book with such optimism and hope, thinking that perhaps this one will turn out to be the one that works perfectly. But if that happened, would I dare right another? I'd rather keep writing no matter what.

Sandy Cody said...

Love this post - and the spirit it represents. Embrace change!

Jeremy said...

Happy Birthday! Analogies that connect the writing of a story to the way our lives wind and turn are at least as old as the Bible, possibly as old as story-telling itself. May this next year's story be the best one you've told so far! :-)

Carolyn J. Rose said...

Happy Birthday and may the next decade be wonderful. I'm facing a 0 decade in 2017 and am reviewing my bucket list to see what I still want to do. Definitely see Iceland and Scandinavia. Definitely write a few more books. Definitely swim a mile once more without flagging down a lifeguard.