The purple headband barely restrained the overflow of curls of the girl behind the podium. Her braces flashed when she opened her mouth to speak. There was a hint of tremble in her voice. She began to thank her teachers, her parents, her coaches, etc. I glanced at the clock and wondered how much longer would this ceremony last?
What could this soon-to-be graduate of middle school possibly say that I would need to hear?
Then it happened. That moment when you meander downstream without paying much attention to where you are and an unexpected gift floats on by.
She said, “Life happens when you step out of your comfort zone.”
Her words gnawed at me.
They crawled inside me and set up camp alongside the whispers…
…you need a web presence… you need an agent… you need a following… it’s not enough to write a good book anymore…you need to blog…are you really living a writing life?
To blog would be to go against my own currents. I’m too private a person to share my thoughts. It took years just to admit I write. And would I really be writing or procrastinating from starting that next book or sending out those query letters?
Then it happened again. Another gift drifted toward me. At a recent gathering with my writing friends, Lynda Mullaly Hunt (One for the Murphys, Nancy Paulsen Books 2012), poked us with a question: Which do you fear more: failure or success? My answer was easy – success.
Success would take me out of my comfort zone.
I admit I have ventured out before. I did quit my job, backpack though Europe where I met this guy, then moved to Ireland, married him and had two children. I did not only write that novel, but I also let those fourth and fifth-graders read it (what a relief it was when they told me they liked it).
It wasn’t a pimply, poised middle-school girl who prodded me out then. It was Patrick Overton and his poem about faith:
When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid for you to stand upon, or you will be taught how to fly.
This blog is another step out of my comfort zone – to where life happens. I hope, of course, to soar one day with the birds. But right now, I’ll just pray I don’t break an ankle when I find solid ground.