|(The Birthday Babes)|
Five years ago, the Big 4-5 consisted of a day spent in my pjs enjoying the quiet of our old apartment. Bruce went out for the day, and the cats honored my wish for time with the Muse by napping (or so I like to think; it's possible napping was their plan all along). I plucked at an old idea (1982, according to the time stamp on the note card) -- a Lost in Space
fan fiction called "Lost and Found" that soon found its legs. It was only to be written for fun -- and what fun it served up! Over the course of several weeks, I read my beloved birthday novella to my then-writers' group members. When all was done, various members told me they were sad it had to end. That birthday memory -- complete with Chinese takeout later that night when husband returned from his errands -- may be one of my all time favorites. There's another from a long time ago: a chocolate cake with coconut and cherries. It was served in my beloved boyhood home on the lake, a house that no longer exists. Every birthday since coming north to Xanadu, I've made a version of that cake, and this year, the Big 5-0, was no different.
I've anticipated this year, my fiftieth on Spaceship Earth, for a while. Back in my teens, I posited reaching Year: 50 with a kind of foresight that I think is unusual for the young. I knew I wanted to be living in my own home by then, and living the life of a published and happy writer -- mission accomplished on both counts, whether by destiny or design. Of course, I pondered the loss of loved ones (despite my wanting some people and things to last forever, many of the best haven't). But as 50 crept closer, I decided to celebrate it instead of mourning what I've lost over the years.
|(My favorite birthday cake)|
This year's May writers' group party served a two-fold purpose -- to gather for a day of celebrating the muses, and also to celebrate not one but two birthdays, mine plus my fab friend and fellow group moderator Irene (about to enjoy her 29th-and-holding). On a gorgeously sunny and balmy Sunday, guests began to arrive -- 21 in all -- and food appeared on the big kitchen table. So much of the latter, that we were forced to pull out our Thanksgiving folding table to accommodate. Among the offerings were baby meatballs, two sandwich platters covered with baby sandwiches in a wide variety of types, fried fish kabobs with sweet & sour dipping sauce and sriracha (my newest obsession!), homemade potato salad, veggies and dip, and desserts stretching around the room -- the aforementioned birthday cake, hot pink diva cupcakes, lazy blueberry pie, rum cake, and fresh fruit platters. I made my trusty fruit punch in the big drinks dispenser, and the birthday gifts stacked up. One was a new coffee mug bearing my Muse's handsome face.
|(A living room full of writer friends)|
The house filled with its second-largest guest list since becoming a destination for friends and writers in early 2013 -- twenty-one crammed into the living room and spilling out into the foyer. The readings were up to their usual brilliance, most centered around the themes of "The Number 50" and "The Number 60", in honor of the birthday babes. I had written a chapter of my Space:1999
novel, METAMORPHOSIS (one of only two unwritten fan fiction ideas left in my catalog of ideas, and Number 50 on the list), but decided to hold off reading until the following Tuesday night's writers' group meeting because of the party's huge turnout. Instead, I read the opening page of my sixtieth completed work of fiction, a short story penned in my Junior year of high school, "The Beckoning Sphere" (based on a surreal dream, as I recall). To my surprise, the story's folder contained only a typewritten copy of the first draft manuscript. That would have been the time I owned my first typewriter, which I'd spent the entire previous summer earning. Apparently, I'd forgotten that I had, indeed, at least once in my life composed a first draft of something other than a screenplay on a machine.
The day was energetic and energized, and stretched on well past sunset. Then, our overnight guests, the fabulous Sisters Dent
, and I did two hours of writing following clean up duties. We spent the next day enjoying more of the same -- writing fresh copy, with breaks to refill coffee and to read aloud stories and novel chapters. I was fifty, and still going about my days as I pretty much have from the time I turned fifteen and was shown a glimpse into this wondrous and fulfilling literary life I've embraced.
Next up, it's the big 6-0. So long as I meet the decade to come with the same verve as my fiftieth, putting down fresh pages, seeing my work in print and on the screen, and harming none, I'm looking forward to what those ten years will bring!