April 22nd, 2012

if I were me

Too fast

April is a landmark month for me.

April 10th--my birthday, of course--but April 9th is my dad's deathday, and April 9th is also the landmark of the first time I sent a submission off to a reputable magazine whilst possessing an actual clue about how publishing worked. April is also when I got an agent, and my first advance.

This year isn't the "ending in zero" year on any of those. Last year was the 10th anniversary of Dad's death. I don't really recall marking it on the day, not really; I fell apart on his birthday, but not because of the years that had passed but because of something else entirely, which triggered a torrent of grief and unhappiness that in some ways, I'm just now seeing the end of. I haven't been talking about it. I haven't been able to talk about it. But it's there.

This year: I turned 37. My writing career turned 9. My agent and I passed the 3 year mark. And Dad's been gone 11 years. I was 11 when he first told me he had cancer. I was 17 the last time I saw him. I was 26 when I found out he'd died, on my birthday.

No April has been as bad as April 2001, and many Aprils since then have been nearly as good as the ones I remember from my childhood. Even prior to the big writing career moments: we went on our honeymoon in April 2004 (almost a year after we got married), for example.

But I'm not so much dwelling on the highs and lows of Aprils past as I am remarking to myself how fast they keep coming. My editor and my agent both remarked on it when I saw them at the end of last month: "Seems like I just saw you!" "Once a year is actually pretty often!"

Given how fast the last ten years went, how fresh things from that time still feel in my mind, I am so very conscious that I may be writing an entry like this in another 10 years, and I will have even less accounting for how the time passed so quickly. It's not like I'm not doing things with my time: I have books to show for it, and there's a growing stepdaughter who helps mark the dates. But it does seem to whirl on and on, ever faster, and there's only so much I can do in terms of mindfulness to slow it down. It's our lot in life as human beings, as creatures who travel one way in time: we have no real control over the perception that time is speeding up.

Breathe deep. April will be here again before we know it.