When I announced to my family that I was considering the position of Editor at betterafter50.com, I was expecting to be met with pomp and circumstance. Hugs, congratulatory remarks and all the things that normal people do when hearing good news. To be fair, we are not a very typical family, so I can’t imagine why I would think that this moment would be different.
“What about your book?” asked my daughter, who was munching on some combination of items that qualify as vegetarian while standing in the kitchen. My WTF gaze darted to my husband who basically avoided eye contact and shrugged. I hate when he takes the ‘I’m not getting involved’ position.
“What do you mean?” I shot back, defensively. “It’s finished. It has a beginning, a middle and an end,” I said, far less confidently than I wanted to sound. Foolishly, I looked to the man I had been married to for almost 28 years, hoping he would rush to my defense. He simply shrugged again.
“Didn’t you take that class super special class, the one in which you promised to be finished finished?” She said sternly. I know that tone; I have spoken in that octave many times during her and her sister’s teenage years. At that moment, I had so many things I wanted to say. I needed the right words to tell her how scary it is to put something you love, and dreamed of doing forever, out in the world for other people to judge. I thought about letting her know how hard it is to look at my Scrivener document every week and not seem to be able to print it all out and consider that it is, in fact, done. I wanted to tell her that I feel defeated, because another summer had come and gone and I hadn’t sent it to Amazon publishing or written one damn query letter.
“I can do both,” I said when I finally found my voice again. The truth is, holding the position of Editor at BA50 is the first thing that has excited me in years. I’ve spent years at Grub Street, a nonprofit writer’s group in Boston, where I learned how to give and receive positive and constructive criticism from some of the most masterful instructors and amazing groups of peers. I found helping others edit is fun and enlightening. Through these experiences, I developed a good eye for editing, a good ear for storytelling and a big heart for pieces that move me. After so many years and so many drafts of my novel, I love the idea that betterafter50 has real deadlines, and is a place where I can cultivate new talents and watch my work come alive.
But I get what my daughter was saying. She was, as I hoped she would be, proud of me for tackling something so big and so prestigious as novel writing that she just wants me to see it to completion. Our children are the windows into our souls for sure. They see the brightest of futures for themselves and secretly for their parents too. If I had stopped to take a breath and not gotten defensive, I would have realized that all she was saying was that she didn’t want me to give up on my dream of being an author, something I have yearned for during the past decade.
So I need to be mindful. I promise to be dedicated to BA50.com and its mission, and try with grace to tread in Ronna Benjamin’s footsteps to ensure that the newsletter content stays meaningful, current, and fun, I am truly honored to to join BA50 Founder and Publisher Felice Shapiro as a member of her highly creative team, helping to build exciting new bridges between new writers and seasoned ones. However, I will also devote time to seeing my novel to completion. I know that they love me, these three humans who are not typical but are my family, and I know that they only want what is best for me. So for them, and for me, I will try to obtain the title of author while maintaining the job of editor.
Being a woman in my fifties, with an empty nest, affords me the time to do many things I may not have accomplished while I was raising kids. The beauty of this age is that I am still young enough to do things I love like travel, exercise, cook, socialize with my girlfriends, and of course write. I look forward to adding Editor of BA50 to things that I love and hope to share my journey with each of you, our beloved readers, along the way. Please send stories of your own life journey to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.