by Susan Seyfarth
I never used to think of myself as lucky. In fact, when I was younger, I considered myself actively unlucky. After all, I was the short, glasses-wearing, flat-as-North-Dakota girl in a family full of curvy, long-legged women with 20/20 vision. Throw in a full-body case of freckles & you have a junior high experience not to be envied.
But I got older. I lived a little. I discovered that what you don't have can't sag & then I got some really, really cute glasses. I realized that there's something to be said for never being taller than your date. And guess what? Girls who read their way through the ugly years are interesting to talk to, which is a bonus when you're finally dating boys old enough to care what a girl has to say.
On the whole, I've felt luckier & luckier with every passing year. Happier. More comfortable in my skin. I've gotten good at just letting the old freak flag fly, you know? Embracing my inner geek. And my outer geek. And the geek that pops out sometimes when I am taken by surprise. All of them.
But own up to writing romance novels? To strangers? That was hard.
See, ever since I quit my job to raise my baby, now 4, people have been asking me how I stay sane at home all day. (It comes up even more often now that we've been joined by my youngest, almost 1.) The answer, of course, is that I write. Romance novels. Unpublished romance novels. Yes, I do have a degree in English. And an MBA. I guess it's just harder to write good smut than you'd think.
And since that's not a conversation I care to have with everybody at my husband's office Christmas party, I started just patting the asker on the arm, smiling vacantly & saying, "Oh, honey, I'm not sane."
But then my husband, who's been treating my writing as a career since well before I ever did, called me out. He said to me, “You’re a WRITER, Susan. You’re good at it, and I’m proud of you. If you don’t start telling people about it, I’m going to.” Gulp. Time to embrace my inner geek again. All of her, this time.
Shortly after this conversation, we went on vacation with my husband's best friend from grad school and his friend’s family. Now bear in mind, this friend’s wife is a VERY accomplished woman. We both have lovely husbands & charming children, but she went & piled on a high-powered career, some scary smarts, & the ability to type really, really fast on a blackberry. Terrifying.
And of course she asked the dreaded question: What do you do to stay sane at home all day with an infant? One look at DH told me I was about to be outed, so I sucked in a deep breath, kissed my credibility with this woman goodbye and confessed. "I write romance novels."
We endured the requisite moment of awkward silence and then she said the unthinkable: “I’ve been writing a pirate novel for YEARS!”
And thus a fast friendship -- and happy critique partnership -- was born.
Now can anybody guess who this woman was? None other than our very own Kirsten Scott. The latest bandita to do us proud & SELL! We went to our first RWA National Conference together in Reno, & were first time GH finalists together in Atlanta. She’s been with me every step of the way on this bizarre, winding career path, and I've been lucky to have her. And I owe it all to my husband, his exquisite taste in friends, & his uncompromising determination to be proud of any old thing I do.
Am I the luckiest girl in the world or what?
So how about you? Has the universe ever rewarded you for being exactly who you are? How have the stars blessed you lately? Where's the luck in your life?