The past six years have been a remarkable period of reinvention, as well as self-discovery for me. Prior to that I was stuck in a pattern of working in jobs that sucked the soul out of me, crushing my spirit, and causing me to dispair that I'd ever find a place where I belonged.
For me, life truly began at the age of forty, as I am the classic late bloomer that you occasionally read about, or listen to interviewed on a talk show.
I remember vividly, beginning a quest to find myself while assembling contracts at Unum-Provident, in 2001. Beginning with Gregg Levoy's book, Callings, and setting my face towards developing a career focused on writing, I've made steady progress toward my goals, some of them written down on a piece of scrap paper, during my solitary lunches outside of the gray, glass and cement corporate prison I was forced to endure.
Book #2 is now in the can and at my designer, waiting to be prepared for printing. This is my second book that I've put together (with a third on the way, in October). Additionally, I published someone else's book last summer, which helped me to realize that I'd rather focus on my own writing/publishing. I have plans to begin a forth book, in the fall. This is all taking place while working a demanding daytime job that is fulfilling and helping me to keep my writing financed and viable.
I don't spend as much time as I used to, being irritated that other writers get recognized, or featured by Maine's literary community. Occasionally, I do feel irritation when I peruse the list of featured writers at events like the upcoming Maine Festival of the Book, and see names of people that routinely sell a fraction of what my first book sold. While this event has some stellar talent, there are many local authors that would make for a more realistic sense, in my opinion, of who is writing about Maine, and what that writing looks like.
These seasons of frustration and the sense of being ignored for what I've accomplished grow wider in duration, however. One book doesn't make for a writing career, so I'm using that major-league chip on my shoulder to motivate me, and keep me outworking my competition. (Shhhh! Don't tell anyone my secret.)
As I grow in experience, I'm learning that I have much greater control over my own direction and success. Working a full-time job has given me a freedom to no longer worry about outside forces that I have little, or no control over, anyway.
As I continue down life's corridor, having passed the halfway marker, I'm confident that in another decade, I'll have a substantial catalog of books, both varied, and successful in whatever niche that I choose to target, festival invites, or not.