When I was in high school my family had a unique Christmas tradition. Each Christmas Eve my parents would arm us with the latest and greatest Nerf weaponry and we would raid the neighbor's house. We'd break down the door (figuratively-- usually we just rang the door bell), stormed the house, and started all sorts of foam ball chaos. Needless to say, the neighbors loved us (no, they really did).
One Christmas Eve as we were dressing in our camouflage and painting our faces black, I had an idea. If I was going to be a villain, I'd better do it right. So while all my siblings painted thick smudges of black across their cheekbones, I did the only logical thing. On my face I painted angry eyebrows, a thin mustache, and of course, a pointed goatee. I was only short the black cowboy hat.
My brother did a double-take when he looked at me. "What are you supposed to be?"
And that's when I knew. I was different-- something in my brain was just wired a little different than other people (even my family-- which is saying something considering it seemed totally normal to us to play a giant game of war on Christmas Eve).
I believed this for years, trying to keep a lid on my "quirkiness." And then I took up writing. After just one writing conference I realized I'd finally found MY people. I'd returned to the motherland. In fact, this whole writing world fits me so perfectly that it's hard for me to understand why it took me this long to realize it existed.
This last weekend I went to a writing retreat with my critique group, ANWA (not just my chapter, but the whole group-- think 30 women, one cabin, and a bunch of laptops). I had such a great time and met some wonderful women. Though I'd never admit this to my husband and children, it was hard to come home.
So the next time you see me storming a house with a Nerf gun and you wonder, "Why has she painted a mustache and goatee on her face?" you'll know...
It's because I am a writer.