I ran across an old acquaintance recently, someone I hadn’t seen in years. We decided to share a meal and catch up. We talked of where our lives had taken us in the years we’d been out of touch. It was the usual stuff: jobs, houses, husbands, kids, etc. Being near the same age and both of us with empty-nestdom in sight, the talk finally turned from the past and the present to the future.
She shared what she was planning. A return to college for an advanced degree in her field and then a second career in the same field but with a different, more interesting slant. I said that sounded great.
Then I shared what I wanted to do with my post-child-rearing life: write novels! You would have thought I’d announced I wanted to don a mask and save Gotham City. Both with body language and with words she made it clear that becoming a professional writer at my age was a silly fantasy and that the most I could hope for was to write as a lovely time-fill hobby and maybe self-publish to give myself the illusion of success. Er, thanks.
Did it discourage me? Not really. But it did make me think about the people in my past and present who, without ever having read a word I’ve written and so with no basis from which to judge, judge anyway and try to get me to stop dreaming, stop striving, sit down, shut up, and act like everyone else. I don’t think I’ve ever found people like that appealing, but I have run across enough of them through the years. How about you? Have you had people try to derail your dreams? Not just your dreams of writing, but any dreams?