It’s a surprise.
A surprise that you only have once and that you – or at least I – don’t remember. A few hours (or a lot) of stress and pressure and then someone slaps you awake and you start to cry and, suddenly, you’re a person. Before that, though, really, it’s hard to draw the line, you were only a proto-person. Real to your mother and father, real to the doctor, real to the tech who took and developed the sonograms, but to everyone else, just a possibility.
Although that’s not it at all, really.
Even though my mom says from the first that she could see the intelligence and calmness in my eyes (and, I assume, the rest of me), I feel like being born is a continuing process. We are always becoming. And, for my money, the most interesting becoming comes on after you’ve been on this planet a while.
Here you see a fair damsel in distress fending off the villainous villain, The Stork.
And what you are also seeing is a metaphor for change.
At some point – I mark it as fourteen in my personal timeline, but my mom would say earlier, and she has the “book” I wrote to prove it – I decided to become a writer. Technically, that’s a lie: I entered a magnet school aimed at the “literary arts”. It wasn’t until I reached college that I began to think about writing as something I wanted to do, always, whether it was my profession or not.
Still, fourteen, and the year before for the application process to this magnet school I wrote my first poem and submitted a story that I’d written that past year for English class, a fictionalization of my Dungeons & Dragons characters.
I’d say they were both rubbish. In fact, I will say it. Both the poem and the story were rubbish, but apparently they were enough, because I made it into the program, which set me on a path towards perfecting my writing and, more importantly, thinking of myself as a writer.
Three years after graduating from my last graduate school program ever, I’m still being born. Then, I was being born as a new Doctor of Literature. Now, I’m being born as a theater impresario. Soon, I hope, I’ll be born as a novelist.
In all those cases, what’s happening is a change of label, in how I see myself and how others see me. What’s more important and interesting to me are the qualitative changes, i.e. how my writing evolves over time. Unlike the other births, this one I can only see in retrospect. Give me a few years of my writing side by side and I can say, yes, this is where I left off concern with characters and decided to focus on plot. Or here is where image grew to be just as important to a poem as a subject. And this, yes, this I remember well: It’s when I started figuring out what I think. It’s when I started this blog.
So thank you to all who have wished me a happy birthday today and – more importantly for this venue – thanks to all of you who are following me here in bloggidom, who are along for the ride, who are wondering, just as I am, what’s waiting for us on the next page.