I’m sitting here drinking a cup of coffee and feeling reflective—not reflective like that tape nighttime joggers wear so they don’t get hit by cars—the think-back kind.

This week I’ve been basking in the creative genius of my children. I’m so pleased that they are exploring their artistic sides. On Monday, I’ll be attending the graduation of child Three of Five, and congratulating myself on producing another amazing adult, who will no doubt contribute to the world in a positive way. Tomorrow is Four of Five’s birthday. She’ll be 17. She’s beautiful and brilliant and has the whole world before her. I truly believe she can do anything she wants. One of Five and Five of Five are writing novels as I type, and Two of Five has been creating some beautiful poetry.

Which brings me back to me. As I funnel children through the school system, I think back to myself as a high school kid. There were good moments and there were bad, but throughout the ordeal I had an insatiable love of reading and writing.

 I was in a critique group with my boyfriend, Tim, when I was in the 9th grade. I remember he read one of his short stories and used the word “traversed.” “Oh he’s so smart,” I thought, and I attributed that to the fact that he was a senior and wore a fedora. “Maybe,” I thought. “If I had a fedora I would be that smart and use words like ‘traversed’.” But my parents said no to the fedora and I don’t believe I’ve ever used that word in one of my stories, which probably turned out better for me in the long run. (Although I currently own a fedora. There’s still time to work it in….)

I’m sure we all do this, but I find myself wondering what would have happened if Now Me went back to Then Me and gave me some writing tips—told me to keep on keeping on, forced me to read something besides Nancy Drew and The Black Stallion (Yeah, I had a crush on Alec Ramsey). I jest of course. I’ve read more books than I can count. My favorite places were the library and the paperback exchange when I was young. But while I wrote some AWESOME stories in my youth—Stellar Strategies; Carnelian; and Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday to name a few—I definitely spent more time losing myself in other people’s fiction than honing my writing skills.

Now Me can’t go back and help Then Me but Now Me can help Now Me stop procrastinating and Now Me can certainly encourage One, Two, Three, Four and Five of Five to follow their dreams with courage and conviction.

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