. . .

For me, the idea of writing seriously didn’t blossom until I was in college. I loved my time at the University of California, San Diego because my professors took the study of literature seriously and encouraged my creativity.

Yet, as much as I wanted to write, actually doing so was hard. I used to tell people, “I don’t like writing, I like having written.” In retrospect, I see that I was uncomfortable floating in the salty ocean of uncertainty that writing requires. Clinging to the belief that experience would make me more buoyant, I told myself that I couldn’t expect to write anything worth reading until I was forty, giving myself a two-decade reprieve from truly taking writing and myself seriously.

Fast forward forty years.

In turns out that decades of experience has brought some buoyancy, but also a good deal of ballast. Fluency has come only with hard work. Success has been tempered by real failure. Creating is as mysterious to me now as it was forty years ago. The sea of uncertainty, it turns out, is a writer’s natural habitat. Uncertainty, I suspect, may even be our oxygen.