Last friday I turned 31.
I went to a Temple Country Retreat & Spa (which I truly recommend) and stayed for the weekend. While I was there, wondering what is going on with my life and feeling.. naturally at a spa.. relaxed, I came across a shelf full of books.
Apparently, the Hotel Spa trusts the customers to take the books we want, believing they will be back at the shelves before checkout. (This would never work in Portugal… the shelf would be completely empty by now.)
My eyes wondered around the covers, and I spotted a novel from Cecelia Ahern I never read before. How could I refuse such easy offer? Right there, in front of me, screaming to go and take it (for the weekend, of course!).
The inner cover took my breath away. There was this picture (I can’t find anywhere else! the one I’m using for this post is not even close!) of an astonishing young woman, with a wonderful smile on her lips. It was the perfect picture of a young writer with the world at her fingertips – I could see it all in that picture, in the way she looked into the camera, relaxed, happy, fulfilled.
The title couldn’t be more misread on my part, on that minute, “Where Rainbows End” – surely meant to be a lovely happy expression, correct with all her happy-ending books, but it stuck with me like an end of a fairytale. I couldn’t stop asking, “What am I doing? I’m not her. I could never be her!”
I believe Cecelia Ahern started young (22) and at the top of her game. She decided to write ‘PS: I Love You’ after finishing a higher degree on Journalism and Media. She wrote it in 3 months – at night while sleeping during the day -, and wrote it just because she felt like it – no higher reason attached.
That only happens when you are young and it’s easy to feel all the time in the world is at your hands, right? That, and the fact that she was the daughter of an irish PM, should have helped. (Yes, that too, she is a brilliant writer, I must admit!)
I kept on looking at her picture, how lovely she was – how lovely she still is on the pictures of her latest books – but how that young girl intimidates me. The reason was truly beyond me, I couldn’t understand why that was. Not after reading so many books on Creative Writing, and all of them stating that each writer is an individual, so different from the next, that it doesn’t matter how others got published, each path is different from the next.
We are so fragile. All aspiring to the same thing, to write. To make a living from our writing. And it is what makes us different that will make us successful one day. However, even those innocent pictures of successful young writers – that are not young anymore, but even more successful – dwell on us and bring us down. Why is that? Why do we doubt ourselves more often than reach for the stars without shallow fears? I mean, what do we have to lose, anyway?
Is it really about our self esteem, or much more about discovering something that complete us and make every day matter, no matter who is there reading it?
I think while we are questioning every little word we write, scared crazy by all pictures hiding behind book covers, we should do as they say: Fake it until you make it, and hope that makes any sense one day.
I mean, Cecelia Ahern is still beautiful, but that picture behind the cover of “Where Rainbows End” shouldn’t intimate me, so lets fake it: it inspires me.
I read her books, I’m a fan and I’m truly happy for her.
Keep it going Cecelia!