What do you do when you've achieved your dreams?
Today is the day. After months of planning, and years of preparation before that, my first book is finally out in the world. Ash Rising is published.
So, what am I thinking about right now? Actually, a stupid movie I saw 16 years ago.
Autumn of Grade 7, it was. When you are 13, the ‘hot movie of the season’ is less the forgettable side note it is now and more like an astral event. That season it was Coyote Ugly.
There was a line that stuck out to me in that movie: ‘what do you do after you’ve achieved your dreams?’ I sat there dumbfounded in that dumb movie. It had never occurred to me that there might be a life after.
Well, now the day of my dream has come. It’s been a pretty long road, but I finally have a book out and published in the world. Of course, there are always levels and layers. Yes, there is a book out, but is it a bestseller? the inner critic sneers, and for now that’s true. But the initial dream was simply to get a book out. When I won the ELLE magazine story writers’ award years ago, they asked me in the interview: what are your goals in life? I responded without hesitation: get published, be happy, don’t die. I never thought I’d actually be sitting here with 3 out of 3.
And how do I feel?
Honestly, pretty damn scared. Long before my Coyote Ugly watching days, I would read myths. The biggest punishments and the worst crimes all related to one word: hubris. Scraping the stars. A word from pride that comes directly from another word for violence: arrogance that hurts. And now I find myself thinking back to those tales, because to call myself an author out loud sounds like the worst possible presumption and I find myself slinking around expecting Athena or whoever to jump out of the linen cupboard and bop me on the head.
This then is the answer, and the real fight. What do you do after you’ve achieved your dreams? You learn, slowly, not to apologise for them. You learn, really slowly, to try and be as proud of yourself for achieving them as you would of anyone else doing it. And perhaps most importantly of all, you learn not to be defined by your dream so much, so excruciatingly very much, the next time around.
I hope you enjoy Ash Rising, I really do. I also hope that it doesn’t mean so very, very much to me and my self-esteem that you did.
Have great weekends all. I love you.