I’m chilling in my hotel room in sunny San Diego, looking out on the pool and thinking about how grateful I am to be here.
Usually the past few years, Present Me has been very jealous of Past Me. Past Me was pretty much never in pain; Past Me was a karate master with so much energy she would jump around and dance for the hell of it. Past Me didn’t feel so ground down by life all the time, and her bright future seemed so certain.
However, right now, Past Me is super jealous of Present Me. Past Me has wanted to go to Clarion since I was a tween. Past Me didn’t have the resources or wherewithal to up and fly across the country for weeks and weeks of writing. Past Me was too socially anxious to dive into a crowd of strangers and start making friends.
In less than an hour, I’m going to meet three other Clarionauts face to face. I already had a sandwich with R a few weeks ago, but that felt like a feeling-out, trying to prove I wasn’t going to die of fear. Now I feel ready to jump with both feet into this adventure and meet all my fellow travelers at once. We four are going to eat lunch together and get to know each other a little before we voyage en masse to Clarion’s check-in at 2 pm, where we will meet still more new friends.
I follow a lot of minor nerd celebrities on Twitter and blogs. People like Wil Wheaton or Kyle Cassidy or John Scalzi or Paul & Storm. People who do acting and writing and photography and music full-time, who have committed to the art they love with all their souls, and the common thread among them, I think, is gratefulness.
All of them know they couldn’t have gotten where they are without the support of their loved ones and fans and a whole society that, to some degree, values what they do. And they are so happy to be doing it, and so aware how lucky they are. And so I follow their example. I may not have legions of adoring fans (YET), but I do have a loving family and a supportive husband and a long-suffering boss who authorized my leave of absence. I have the whole of modern civilization to thank for this amazing chance to live my dreams, to lay down the blueprint for how my life might someday look when I am a writer full-time. And I know how lucky I am. I am so grateful.