Everyone says they want to write a book, especially, because we now have the time and the lifetime to look back on, baby boomers. Well, L. Donsky-Levine of South Florida has done it. Finally! She thinks of the process this way: When the Mountain Came to Muhammed.
Once you get to a certain age (okay, my 60+ age), everything changes. Not just the predictably obvious reminder that youth’s presence and Elvis have pretty much left the building, but those I’m-going-to-set-the-world-on-fire kind of dreams that once consumed us are now being lavished on our children and our grandchildren because we’re just happy to be alive and ride around on their coattails.
Yeah, I think it’s pretty safe to say our younger selves were very different creatures. But that’s okay, because as we glide into this next phase of our lives, a greater and richer understanding has taken center stage. One of knowing who we are, what we must ultimately accept, and knowing that the need to prove yourself to the world beyond all its hypocrisy, is now a thing of the past. Hallelujah!
Which now means, the only person you have to worry about is you. And worry I did.
Eight years ago, I took stock of my life. I suddenly found myself feeling irrelevant as though I’d missed the accomplishment boat on so many levels. So I decided it was time to write that book I’d been talking about roughly ever since I hit puberty. Little did I know then that despite previous literary endeavors, honing my craft to a more respectable level would turn into the longest and hardest project of my life— next to motherhood.
Months turned into years. And while I continued to pound away at the keyboard in between working a full-time job and the simple challenge of life happening, the manuscript grew without an end in sight. The whole thing was awful. I was exhausted. I was also torn between a ticking clock and the idea that I might drop dead tomorrow. So I put my still-unfinished albatross aside and began working on something a bit smaller, something more do-able. A story I had floating around in my head for quite some time, about a young woman living in New York City who leads a most unconventional life, yet lives it quite alone. Casting her as both a victim and a survivor of societal issues, my character suddenly and rapidly breathed life.
It took less than two months to complete The Bad Girl. Needless to say, I felt phenomenal.
I knew this was a piece I could be proud of. Not just because the cover and content were perfect, but because it came from someplace deep about issues important to me. Issues I feel might be raised every day, but are rarely resolved in short heartbeats. It takes mountains and monumental efforts of time to grasp the big picture. It takes the kind of real talk people are hungry for where they knowingly have to open wounds, have to lift back those band-aids with a sense of readiness as they tread on territory they would prefer not to roam at all. These conversations are necessary. How else do we bring about change? How else do we grow?
I’ve come to believe that not everyone can stand up and be counted. It takes courage. Great courage to live your life out loud where things that feel shallow sink and things that feel true float upon the surface as they give voice to all those inner frailties that makes us human.
Look, all I’m saying is that as we get closer to our number being called, and we’re still upright, let’s “grab the bull by the horns.” And if that happens to involve crusading for the homeless, swimming the Atlantic, opening a cupcake shop, knitting sweaters for Etsy, or simply retiring to the west coast of Florida with all your Jujubes intact, then by all means do it!
Me? I’m writing another book. Hopefully.
© 2016 L. Donsky-Levine