Morrissey and the Art of Getting Older

There are milestones you remember: the birth of your first child, the day you got married. Maybe the first day you started teaching and say the kid in the back has his hand raised and when you call on him he said. “Fuck you Mister Strong.”

But then there are milestones, like hearing an artist like Morrissey sing about how “his heart is full”, on 1994’s Vauxhall and I, and that admission sounds hard earned, sounds like it took him years to feel that way.

But on this day, right here this morning, at 6:15am, I feel it too. That hard earned feeling, my mind at ease at long last. Due in part to a family reunion trip in a few hours. The other milestone, the one I hope I remember is how on this morning, after reading my pages from last night’s critique group, it hits me, that this book I’ve been working on for almost four years,Bella Vista, the voice of this book has finally landed down into my lap, stacked neatly under a drawer on the desk I’m now writing this on.

This is no small thing. I’ve been through voices like some people have been through spouses. I’ve been through an almost-third-person sounding voice, a been-there-done-that-adult-voice-talking-about being-a-kid voice, that one from my group coined “Kid Noir”, then a roaring, storming voluminous voice fueled by sleeplessness, caffeine and the desperate feeling that the monitor I was listening to could crack open at any second, and then the child would cry, and my writing time would be over for a week.

This not a small thing that is a big thing isn’t just with the writing. The writing carries on no matter what, for good or bad, throughout the years, much like a marriage can and will. But in this story there are children and students and a mom and a dad, and a book, and right now, at 6:21am, Morrissey’s Vauxhall and I is sounding to me like all the things I’ve described, hard earned, and yet still not satisfied, for now, for today, until I see extended wings of my family in a few hours, it will be more than enough.

Now my heart is full.

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