Well my dears, we have a wealth of posts today! A while back I was asking if anyone wanted to guest at ALBTALBS and J. Kathleen Cheney contacted me. 🙂 We began talking about the type of posts we have here, and birthday ones came up – and guess what? Today is her birthday! So she was all “I totally want to do that!” Whee! Everyone remember to wish J. Kathleen a very happy birthday. (And also check out Has’s reader post – she’s one of us. :D)
Hello, there! Limecello invited me to do a guest post on my birthday, and here I am. This year is a special one for me. Not because of the number (although 49 is 7 squared, which is cool!) Instead, I’ve got a bigger present coming, a novel coming out in less than a month.
What’s that got to do with birthdays?
Birthdays are the days we reassess our lives. In Spanish (and other languages) they say “Feliz Cumpleaños!” which when roughly translated means “Happy Completed Year.” You’ve got another complete one under your belt, and what do you have to show for it? What goal did you accomplish?
Now, admittedly, I usually have something regarding my weight on that punchlist. And I usually haven’t met it. I often have a lofty goal involving exercise or education or spirituality, and have achieved them with varying degrees of success. But there’s one that’s been bugging me for many a long year: getting that book contract.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but never had the time. I had a career as a department store buyer (which is surprisingly time-intensive). When I left that job, I switched to teaching, erroneously thinking, “Ooh, I’ll have plenty of time to write.” Well, any teacher can tell you that’s idiotic. For me, writing in spare moments never worked. I always felt guilty for taking time and attention from my ‘real’ job (especially when students were involved.)
But one of my favorite writers published her first book at 27 or so, and that set my mental goalpost. For years I felt bad every time my birthday rolled around. My age increased but I still didn’t have that coveted book contract. 27 came and went, then I was 30, then 40, and still….no time.
And then one year I finally had all the kinks worked out and when my birthday came around, I had it. That book contract I’d been kicking myself over for years–well, decades, honestly–I had it. I could hit that completed year mark with the satisfaction of having achieved one of my major lifetime goals. Whew! There’s an amazing rush when you get one of the big ones under your belt. (That sounded really dirty, but I didn’t mean it that way.)
It’s lovely to have goals and to achieve them. So what’s the thing that you keep planning to do, and every year find it still undone?
BIO: J. Kathleen Cheney is a former math teacher who’s taught everything from 7th grade Math to Calculus. Her short fiction has been published in several magazines and anthologies, and her novella “Iron Shoes” went on to be a Nebula Finalist in 2010. Her novel The Golden City will be out from Penguin on November 5th, with the sequel The Seat of Magic following in July 2014.
Happy birthday Ms. Cheney! Thanks for visiting with us on your special day!