My birthday weekend was replete with the kinds of people and events, I'd wish everyone I care about could have on their birthday. And yes, there were signs.
The front of my daughter's house was decorated with a Happy Birthday sign. Primarily, it was there for my grandson, who celebrated his fourteenth birthday on Saturday, but I choose to believe it was there for me as well.
This evening, Wayson Choy spoke about signs and symbols in a writer's life and I realized there have been quite a few signs pointing the way for me. However, it takes me quite a while to understand the portents.
New ones given to me on Sunday, when I visited my daughter. My youngest grandson made a card for me. The front of the card has a "door" that opens, and the card says
"Do you choose to open the door to life?" I am not impartial. I'm blown away by my soon-to-be twelve grandson's ability to cut to the heart of things. My daughter gave me a beautiful brick candle to light my way. And the man in my life gave me a book. And not just any book, but: Writing Life: Celebrated Canadian and International Authors on Writing and Life.
Over the years, there have been lots of other signs. Some of them seemed negative at the time. My eighth grade teacher insisted I couldn't possibly have written the story I submitted and tried to fail me. My tenth grade teacher said I should continue to write poems. Eventually, I did, but they came back from editors with notes that said - not these, but do you have more. I didn't send more. This could be an endless list. My mother kept every letter I ever sent to her until I insisted she get rid of them. One of my ex-lovers has a stash of my letters and will not give them back to me, nor will he destroy them. I've only written eight short stories that I feel are "finished" but two have been published. That should be considered a good average, but of course I don't consider that - I wonder what's wrong with the rest of them.
I've managed to ignore the fact that I wrote a two page letter that enabled the Veterans program to get half-a million dollars in expansion money, and every other grant proposal I wrote brought in money too. Then there was the condolence letter I wrote to a former client's son. It was a simple and direct letter about having known his father. I did it because I wanted to acknowledge a man's life, but the son was so moved by it that he made a very large donation to the agency, and a friend tells me that he continued to do that for two more years.
So, there have been lots of signs, I'm just a slow reader.