The only unfulfilled love I’m willing to talk about openly is writing. And the realization that the love affair will never be reciprocated hurts just as much as that first time someone came out and said, “I like you. I just don’t like-like you.”
Writing will never like-like me. I’m too old, and it’s not that I’m too old as much as born at the wrong time – the non-generation. I’m not a baby boomer. I’m not a Me. I’m too old to be a Gen-Xer. Or Y and Z for that matter. I missed the computer age – I didn’t even have a computer until I got married and I was forty-one before I actually owned my own – a laptop, which took me a year to finally use with any kind of regularity. My kids know the VCR as the machine next to the TV that has never worked.
I read Julie Andrews autobiography recently. She grew up in the fifties, and I was sad to discover that her voice is my voice. That’s how I write. Very formally, describing how the leaves rest on the rooftop, narrative on top of narrative with very little emotion unless it’s purple prose. I write like someone who grew up in the fifties, only I have no story to tell. My parents weren’t alcoholics, I did not overcome drug abuse, I wasn’t abused or molested. My parents sent me to college. I lived at home until I got married.
This non-generation of girls was expected to grow up, be prim and proper, but still know everything, go to school, college and be anything you wanted, anything boys could be even President of the United States. At least until you got married and had kids and in that order. And when the kids were in high school you could go back to work because women were independent now.
You can’t be a writer. A writer is impractical. And they drink. They don’t have two nickels to rub together either.
Get a degree and then you can write.
Get married. You can write later.
You’re still young. You can’t wait to have kids. Writing will always be there.
Well, guess what?
Writing didn’t wait for me. Writing found someone else. Writing computerized. Modernized. Writing grew up, and changed with the times where it needed to. More do it yourself. More travel. More health care and fitness. New writers came along. Younger and prettier and having seen people like me get left behind knew just what to do to keep up.
Writing won’t ever come back for me, and I just can’t catch up. My writing is tired and old; timid. Like me.
My best friend, like any good friend, pushes me towards the love that got away, prods, challenges, shames, but he can only push so far. I keep my hand on the ledge. I don’t know what’s down there. I lean over, but I can’t see very far, and what I can see is dizzying.
What if I fall?
What if I catch up to writing and I’m just not good enough? Staying back and wondering is better than being rejected again, isn’t it?