Enough

My hair is mostly gray. I’m not young enough to engage in Twitter conversations with YA authors.

But not totally gray. I’m not old enough to be revered by them.

I write by the seat of my pants. I’m not degreed enough to talk shop with the MFA crowd.

I was raised in the church. But I’m no longer Christian enough for that culture, or the subculture of writers who are fighting to find their place in it.

I was married for a quarter century. I’ve been alone for nearly a decade. I’m not married enough to join you and your husband for dinner. I’m not single enough to find my tribe in a bar or a book club.

I’m not successful enough to make you want to be like me. I’m not handsome enough to catch your superficial eye. I’m not brilliant enough to write the novel that will make you fall in love with me.

I’m not prolific enough to overwhelm you. I’m not motivated enough to market what I’ve finished.

I’m not connected enough to call in favors. I’m not humble enough to learn from my mistakes. I’m not confident enough to make the mistakes I need to make.

I’m not a good enough writer to make you second-guess your decision to write. I’m not a bad enough writer to instill in you a feeling of well-deserved superiority.

My stories aren’t lyrical enough. Or direct enough. Or familiar enough. Or surprising enough.

I’m not sane enough to be someone’s anchor. I’m not insane enough to dangle my feet over the ledge.

I’m not polite enough to appease the easily-offended. I’m not profane enough to chat comfortably with the filter-less.

I’m not happy enough to make you want to be near me. I’m not sad enough…well, I might be sad enough for most things.

It’s all enough to make me want to quit. As a writer. (And sometimes as a human being.)

But then I remember the shadows with skin on. The characters I’ve found and the characters who’ve found me. Thomas Lingonberry, whose life is changed by a bomb, a girl, and distraction. Becky, who is so broken, so alone, so in need of a friend like Lindy. Or the girl in the tiger light who doesn’t want to remember the things she can’t forget. And all the other characters waiting in line for their stories to be told. Walter “Blue” Parkins. Pearl. Raspberry Lynette Granby.

And then I realize, I’m not only enough for them. I’m all they have.

In the worst moments, the loneliest moments when depression is lying to me and all I can see are the places where I’m not enough, the places where I don’t fit, I can believe they’re all I have, too.

I know that’s a lie. I have so much more. I’ll find my way back to remembering that, eventually.

But until then, they’ll be enough.

9 thoughts on “Enough

  1. Er … my back-brain voice is telling me my comment could be construed as an insult. I’m not sure. Probably, knowing my conversational luck. So let me rephrase it. You are enough and even more. Does that sound better? :)

  2. Don’t give up! And I hope that when you’re feeling unfulfilled as a writer, you’re being fulfilled by something else, like editing. There’s nothing quite like the joy of taking a lopsided ball of clay,seeing what its creator tried to do with it, and shaping it into something beautiful.

  3. Hi. I’ve been following your blog for not too long now. Yours is one of the feeds that I perk up with interest when I notice a new post available, and this one really connected today. It’s not an easy business, this writing thing and this life.

    Thanks for writing.

  4. O.o Not young enough, not old enough; not experience d enough, but too experienced. Where do we fit in with the crowds? Or can we create our own crowd? What drives acceptance? Why do we crave it? When do we need it?

  5. Ok — I am going to purchase a kindle just to read this new book of yours. I am so excited. I think you are incredibly inspiring, I am thankful for all of the words that you have written and continue to write.

    1. That’s very kind of you to say, Esther. You don’t actually need a Kindle to buy a kindle book, though. There are Kindle apps for phones and tablets and computers. In case you want to save that money for something more important, I mean. Like bacon and/or Nutella.

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