by Hannah Roveto
I am an author. I do not put these words out there lightly. My work-in-progress is almost – not quite – in agents’ hands, and I am acutely aware of the steps from here toward publication, the uncertainty, the dangers, the challenges. Some day, though, someone will ask, “When did you know you were an author?” and this is what I will say:
The school system in my town is under huge pressure to prepare each and every child for Ivy League colleges, because children who fail in the universal quest to become professional athletes then have a back-up plan. This is what I tell other parents as a joke, although some do take a moment to realize I am kidding. Parents check other people’s kids status on Honor Roll, ask how many A’s were earned, in what subjects. Where they get A’s reflects talent, skill, arenas of future success.
Thus, you can imagine the reaction when I said something along the lines of the following aloud: “Just because a child gets an A doesn’t mean it’s a talent, and the one who doesn’t get an A might be destined to do something great in that subject. There are other factors. Like just plain time.”
Heresy. So I asked them to consider my own journey. I was going to be a veterinarian when I was young. But A’s in math and science did not lead me there. I started college with a major in Soviet Studies and International Relations, and A’s did not get me to the United Nations, either. I ended up in the journalism school, and took my first job in public relations because they would pay me to write. I realized I’d been a writer all my life.
Since I was able to spell, I filled notebooks with stories and story fragments, but fiction is without a doubt its own unique alchemy. I mastered business writing, and finally five years ago sat down to try my hand at fiction with serious intent. It was something I’d dreamed of, played with, but never really committed myself to at that level. (You know what I mean!) Then I put myself out there for a writers group, looking for people whom I trusted enough to push me, and I found them. Two years later, I am finishing revisions on a novel that I believe in. Better yet, my Writers Group believes, too.
“So,” I concluded, “it took me this long to become an Author.” The word slipped by everyone else, but to me, it hung in the air. Now that it is out there, aloud, I own it in a way I never have before. I felt it. Not only a Writer, an Author. Right now. It's time.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
by Hannah Roveto