Monday, May 19, 2008

The End of a Long Journey

Do you remember the good ol' days before computers? Nothing intimidated me more than cranking a fresh sheet of paper into the typewriter at the start of a new writing project. I'd stare at that unadulterated page and hope against hope that the letters...then words...then complete thoughts...that formed as I typed would texture my fiction world with an artistic splash of contrast and color rather than sullying the 8.5x11 virgin field.

Some of those first-word jitters eased ever so slightly when the computer age ushered in push-button deletions. But the sight of a blank page/computer screen, and the thought of needing to fill scores of similar blank pages in order to complete an understandable (and hopefully entertaining) story, would all but give me permanent brain freeze. There's nothing quite so intimidating as the first step of ANY long or challenging journey.

And there's nothing quite so thrilling. . .and unsettling. . .as typing The End.

Frankly, each time I've finished a book, after the initial Wahoooos and Snoopy dancing, I found myself adrift and wondering What now? What's next?

Yesterday, our family wahooed and Snoopy-danced as Courtney, our youngest of five, walked across the stage at Case Western Reserve University's convocation center to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. We celebrated the end of a long and successful education-journey for Courtney.

Today, I imagine she's feeling a little adrift at the idea of closing the door on a successful college career and taking that first step into the work-a-day world. My mother-prayer today is that Courtney takes plenty of time to savor her successes before she cranks that virgin sheet into her typewriter and types "My Future" on the title page.


Mary Connealy said...

Congratulations, Courtney and mom. :)

Just remember Susan. If you kid messes up, they always blame the parents.

So when your kid does good, it follows that you should get the credit, huh???? :)

Pam Hillman said...

Congratulations to Courtney! I know she (as well has her mom and dad!) are on cloud nine!

I don’t think I could have written a full novel on a typewriter. I’m such a penny pincher (I’m the ACFW treasurer after all, lol!) with a “waste not, want not” attitude. I could never throw ream after ream of beautiful 20 lb paper into the wastebasket. Shudder!

Same with digital cameras. I can now take all the pictures I want and delete at will. I took over 500 on our vacation this past summer, and deleted the ones that were too blurry to tell what or who it was. 500 pictures on 35mm FILM, not to mention having them developed? You’ve got to be kidding! lol

Kim Vogel Sawyer said...

Congrats to Courtney, and I echo your mother-prayer, Susan. Our youngest daughter and our Korean foreign exchange student (who has been with us the past three years) just graduated from high school. So now hubby and I are officially empty-nesters (can I add I don't like it?). Maybe I need to think carefully about how my next "life pages" will be different without the kids underfoot and foraging in the refrigerator...

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Courtney! I know your mom and dad are so proud today(and every day!)

I love typewriters! I wrote my first novel--a gothic novel for English class when I was fifteen years old--on an old blue typewriter that my parents gave me for Christmas. Believe it or not, I write my first draft in steno pads. I know it's old fashion but the words just flow better when I've got a good pen and clean sheets of paper. Only after I have that first draft on my flash drive do I make all my revisions on the computer.

Patty Smith Hall

Blissful said...

Congratulations to the graduate! We had our home school HS graduation for my son on May 10h. It's a great time of celebration.

Carrie Turansky said...

Hi Susan,
Congratulations to Courtney! What a wonderful milestone for her and for you...the youngest of five.

Way to go Mom and Dad! You deserve congratulations too.

Janet Spaeth said...

Courtney--congratulations! That's a great achievement!

We're going through our first graduation here this weekend--one of my babies is graduating from high school!

And I wrote my first stories and novels on a typewriter. I had what was probably the first PC in town and didn't use it for a year--it was so daunting! It used Wordstar--the first issue of it!--and it used manual commands such as Control B for indenting a paragraph.

Honestly. I can't remember my password at the bank but I can remember that?

Anyway, back to Courtney--best of luck as you venture forth!

Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

Wow! Congratulations to Courtney. An exciting end to a successful college career and the first step toward what promises to be a rewarding future.

Susan, I know you and your dh are busting proud, as well you should be. But I suspect there's also a moment of melancholy as you see your youngest graduate from college. My folks still have 1 more left at home who is quite a bit younger than me, but he's nearing his "the end" too.

After that...who knows? Dad was talking about following me here to Colorado. Ummm, not sure how I think about that. :)

Cathy Shouse said...

I enjoyed reading about Courtney and you've inspired me to focus on the big picture.

Today I'm grappling with decisions about our son's schedule for his freshman year of high school.
It's nice to hear about someone who's navigated the journey successfully and is celebrating.

Congratulations to all!

Mary Connealy said...

I meant to say, too, I like the new Barbie Girls picture.

Crystal Laine Miller said...

This is a great photo! Thanks for sharing it with us.

And add my congratulations to Courtney--and her parents! To see your child on to the next step in independence and finding her calling is a remarkable milestone.