My kids have been trying to get me to play Mario Kart on the Wii since Christmas. I’d honestly rather clean those vile little bolts around the base of the toilet than play video games, so it’s taken them a while to get that silly white steering wheel in my hands. When we started playing I felt like I was 15 again the first few minutes of having learner’s permit. I was overcompensating so hard that I was bouncing off rocks and guardrails and enormous mushrooms and whatnot. It was infuriating—just when I got up enough speed to clip along there’d be another obstacle or a quick turn. I asked the kids if there was a course that was simply a straight road so you could just gun it. They looked at me as if I’d just revealed a vestigial tail, and said, “Uh, no. What would be the point?”
That’s kind of what I wanted the writing life to be. You know, put out a book and then gun it. But, as my kids would say, “What would be the point?” Perhaps there’s a reason I’ve run in to an enormous mushroom or slammed into a guardrail. Perhaps it’s not supposed to be easy. Because we tend not to value what comes easily.
Raising good children, finding work you enjoy, getting published—none of it is easy. But there are moments, like the first time you touch a book that bears your name on its spine, that make it all worthwhile. I’ve just had one of those moments.