“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.”
I drove home from the city today and got off at the wrong exit (not unusual, I’m a dork and get lost everywhere!) but the route took me through my old neighborhood, my childhood neighborhood.
Driving past my dad’s old auto shop, the apartment my friend Anna lived in, and the hole-in-the-wall taco dive that serves the BEST steak tacos brought back melancholy feelings. There was good old 35th Street: home to the Hobby Shop and it’s long glass counter of candies, Scoops, our fav ice cream hangout, though we always ordered the nachos and 7-11, that used to be a White Hen Pantry, where we’d stop for gum and fountain drinks when we started driving. Memories flooded back. Old blue shiny fleece jackets sporting my grade school’s logo, the sweat pants pushed up to our calves and slouchy socks that matched our tops. Yes, I grew up in the 80’s…
I remember walking home from fights with friends, softball game losses and long, sun-burned days at the pool. Hovering in the air was the essence of my girlhood. The girl I used to be. She was loud, wild, frizzed and freckled. And she was a writer. She wrote sappy love poems, mostly; get-out-of-detention essays; and the unusual, magical short stories derived from a list of Spelling Words. She was full of life, words and a passion for creativity. A girl who dreamed of writing novels, living in Italy and maybe being a teacher.
Today, 25 miles from my girlhood home, I sit on the couch, with my 7-year-old, after a long day of learning Advanced Excel. What does that have to do with writing? Nothing! That’s the point. I still consider myself a writer, though I make a living as an executive assistant and make a home as a wife and mom. Not writing novels for income, not living in Italy. But I do still write. Everyday I promise I’ll write more. Reach that word count goal. Finish that damn first draft and complete the second full revision of another work-in-progress.
Starting is key. Watering that seed every.single,day. is the only way that tree will grow. I’m trying.
Have you planted your tree? Don’t wait another 20 years.