The subject line on the most recent of (frequent) communications from TIAA-CREF reads: “Ready for Act II?”
Act II? Heck, I am trying to get Act IV underway!
Since leaving graduate school nearly 40 years ago, I have been a bank vice president (Act I), an English teacher and department head at a secondary school outside of Philadelphia (Act II), and a director of the Alumni Affairs Office at my undergraduate alma mater (Act III). Three acts. The End?
But what I really wanted to do when I grew up was to write, to read about writing, to write about reading. As a young girl, I spent hours at an old roll top desk in our attic writing poems and the first chapters of novels. I created little news sheets for the neighborhood. I was the Features Editor of my junior high’s newspaper.
Then something happened. I chickened out. It was safer to go to graduate school. It was safer to work for a bank. It was safer to be a teacher. It was safer to work for a university on the administrative side. I could still publish the occasional essay, book review, and then blog post “on the side.”
Well, I don’t want the writing to be on the side anymore. It’s time to get over the stage fright.
And how do Act IV’s turn out? Shakespeare always has lots of action happening in Act IV. In the tragedies, during Act IV the forces (natural or supernatural) come together to culminate in violence, and then in Act V everyone dies. Not very heartening! In the comedies, confusions are cleared up, characters are rescued, married, restored to their kingdoms, and then Act V just wraps things up before everyone goes to bed.
That’s all well and good for Shakespeare’s characters: they have their lines given to them. For my Act IV, I will have to make up all the lines, find my fellow actors, build the sets. And I have such flimsy boards on which to build…
I needed some guidance, and that led me to look for writing blogs. I was lucky that one of the first I found was Anne R. Allen’s Blog. And one of the first posts I read seemed as though it had been written just for me: “The Must-Read Story for Writers with the Impossible Dream.” She shares the story of Walter Reuben, a screen-writer and film-maker who didn’t have his first big success until he was nearly 70 years old.
Another post earlier this year, “Writers: How to Succeed at Building Platform Without Really Trying,” helped me get over my procrastination about creating a real website, a place to build a platform out of my flimsy boards. And that post referenced “newly retired Boomers.”
I take to heart that it’s not too late to grow up to be what I really want to be. And I am not alone in wanting to have an Act IV.
So here goes…!