Happy Sunday, y’all! It’s a beautiful day here in the Pacific Northwest and I hope it’s beautiful where you are, too!
Today, we’re joined by author and editor Annie Anthony. She’s got a story coming out in Ylva’s upcoming erotica anthology (so do I!). See the super-hot cover over there? Uh, yeah.
Keep reading to learn all about Annie’s thoughts on growing up (and maybe even growing older) and writing. Enjoy!
Bloom, “Little Flower”
by Annie Anthony
Nothing makes me feel older than noticing how quickly time passes. I no longer can count how many years ago I graduated high school on one hand… or even two (I finished graduate school 3 hands ago…)
I’ve climbed rocks, volunteered abroad, loved, lost, come out, moved away from home, went back, moved again. Baby, those things take time. When I hear about authors or artists or entrepreneurs achieving success at an abnormally young age (Taylor Swift, anyone?) I remember what my grandmother used to ask me decades ago about my writing. What on earth did I have to write about?
I took my three-year old blog down in March after a very painful experience prompted me to search my soul, my writing, my life. I had stuff to write about…but did I want to?
For your consideration, a few significant authors and her age of first major publication*:
- Dorothy Allison , age 43
- Toni Morrison, age 39
- Zora Neale Thurston, age 44
- Jeanette Walls, 45
- Suzanne Collins, 46
How do you suppose dinner conversations went with these women at 19, 25, 34? Did relationships strain and credit suffer while these authors struggled with day jobs, put friends and the gym or bills to the farthest corners of their minds to work on their stories? Did these women lose more than they gained by writing in fact because they wrote?
Why write, explore, dream or do anything for that matter? At some point, isn’t just getting by, paying taxes, sufficing oneself with enough, well, enough?
Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, whose name means “little flower” in Albanian*, knew she wanted to become a nun at age twelve but did not begin the service for which most of humanity now calls her Mother Theresa until she was 36 years old—after she’d been a nun for 18 years.
Spring planting and cleaning and breaking brings to mind all the ways we can improve ourselves, our homes, our work. Maybe you’re a Sara Mearns—who started dancing at age three and was a principal dancer in the New York City Ballet by 19. Maybe you came out late, or dropped out of school, figured out you loved to paint just last week, decided long after your friends did that yeah, you’d like to have kids after all.
Talents are not all like perennials, predictably returning year after year. Talents are like lot trees. Some blossom and bear fruit several years into their growth—some never bear fruit but thrive nonetheless.
We humans are complicated and interesting. We can change. A tree that is barren can grow fruit anew or again. With rain, the dying plant returns to life. Where do you find yourself this April? Are you struggling through another whatever your struggle is? Does your body betray your energy with pain, with sickness, dysfunction? When the rain doesn’t come, how can you be expected to bloom?
I can’t really say that the last few months have been difficult, or the trials of the last year still weigh me down. The reality is that life is a constant movement from season to season and each brings with it little deaths and tiny births, pains, losses, hope, inspiration. I was never Sara Mearns—I was not prepared for childhood and its challenges, for adulthood and its burdens. I by no means was a principal anything by 19. But are any of us ever really educated enough? Is training anything more than a bit of soil for your roots to rest in, deep enough hopefully so that rain and wind don’t blow you completely apart?
I wish sometimes that I could take the cancers and the insecurities the financial stresses and the tiny cuts away from the souls of everyone. I think that is really why I write. Because somehow, I write to connect to the people who have or will experience what I have or will or think I can relate to. I’m sensitive and thoughtful and profoundly, profoundly flawed. I do so many things wrong that I think I have earned my education. That whole learning the hard way. And even all these hands later I’m sure as hell still in school.
This spring I wish you nutrients that nourish and enrich; companionship in your drought or flood; enough sunshine to warm but not burn. Flowers for beauty and for food.
My blog is being rebuilt and through the generous invitation of Women and Words I’m so happy to have the opportunity to guest blog here. I’ve got several releases coming in in 2015 and I continue to work on the hard material—both internal and on the page—that I feel called to.
Happy Spring to you. To all of us little flowers wherever we are planted and with whatever climate and pest and gardenbed we find ourselves, I hope this spring we bloom.
*Credit must be given to both Wikipedia and the “Google machine” for the biographical data on the authors I mention in this blog!
Annie Anthony is a Chicago native who moved to Los Angeles in 2013. A professional holder of day jobs, she has handled complex insurance claims, worked for a dating service, edited more than fifty books in almost every genre, and managed the day-to-day operations of an indie e-book publisher until early 2015.
Annie holds an MFA in creative writing and has taught writing at the community college level and in writing workshops. She loves to crochet and donates much of what she makes to various hospitals. An avid volunteer, Annie has worked with medically fragile children and with nonprofits supporting GLBTQ issues since 2006.