Just returned from a book festival in Tucson where I listened to two famous authors speak. I practically swooned. One had her book on Oprah's book club, twice, and the other wrote a book I adored. Jane Hamilton and Julia Glass. Sound familiar? If not, google them. This literary pair told jokes and shared stories to a rapt audience. I sat there listening and thinking that will never be me. I will never finish my novel. Never go on a book tour. Never have fans. I will never have this because I am just a waitress.
I wear a black apron and sensible shoes five nights a week and serve shrimp scampi and red wine to guests at the resort where I work in Arizona. I am the elder of the servers, at least a few decades older than the rest of the crew. How in the hell did I end up here in the fifth decade of my life?
I felt a lot of "wants" at the book festival this weekend. I want to be sitting in front of a room and talking about my creative process. I want admiring readers to ask for my autograph. I want. I want. I want all of that but I don't want to sit and spend hours writing? Oh oh. Problem.
As I drove from Tucson to Phoenix, I got to thinking in betweem racing with the semi-truck drivers down I-10. Why do I want to write a novel? What do I really want? To be famous and to meet Oprah? Actually I'd like to meet her best buddy, too, Gail, while I'm at it as I think those two together would be fun and maybe gossip about each other while the other is in the bathroom.
Do I want to say I wrote a book just so I have something to talk about when the person on the seat next to me on the airplane asks, "what do you do?" I dread that question. Doesn't matter if the person is young, or old, or in between. That question sucks. I smile and act as if it doesn't bother me to admit the truth. It was different to say I am a server when I didn't have a wrinkled neck, crow's feet and a AARP card.
Will it make my life more valuable because I wrote a book and it got published? Any less valuable than if I serve martinis and steaks the rest of my life?
All this thinking makes me want to pour a glass of red wine and watch Home Hunters International, watch people buy exotic homes in far flung places. When I watch this show, I can't help think that if I wrote a book maybe I could afford a house in Costa Rica or Madrid. Now there's a good reason to write. Maybe I'll turn of the TV and actually turn on my computer and start typing away. Or maybe I'll have that one more glass of wine.