I was supposed to be an artist.
She asked me.
On her deathbed, she told me.
She told me that art was my calling. She told me that I need to do art to be the great success she knew I was to be.
But I did not do art.
I did business.
Because she told my dad to do business and he did business.
He put everything into his business. Failing, he put more in.
Failing, no, doomed to fail, he put in more and more. He put in everything until he had nothing left to put in.
And I ran his business.
I ran and ran and ran until there was nothing left to run.
I ran past him telling me he couldn't pay me anymore. I ran his business until I couldn't anymore.
But that is love, isn't it? That is what family does for love. And for family.
Because a dying wife and mother told us to do it.
Now the surviving husband is broken and broke.
And the daughter isn't an artist. She is a broken mom with a laptop and a voice.
Is that art?
Because I was supposed to be an artist.
'How's your business going?'
'Fine.' I hate it.
My fingers are crossed, but I'm not sure if that's enough anymore.
They always end up letting you down.
It always happens in droves.
She caught me with the knife when I was sixteen, maybe seventeen.
There's no winning with blame.
Every time I think I'm getting better at this whole life thing, I do something wrong and set it back.
I like getting older.
There's something about with age and experience comes wisdom that's exhilarating.
I'll see this one through, I tell myself. I'll finish it.
After this, I'll put it to bed. After this, I'll move forward.
Something I learned as a visual artist and writer is that some of the best healing comes from expression.
There's something surreal about standing in front of a crowd of strangers—writers who all want the same thing.
At the end of the Writers In Paradise sessions, everyone got a chance to present a refined version of their submitted work, or a new story they were working on.
I was the only teenager at Writers in Paradise with Dennis Lehane, Sterling Watson and other well-known authors back in 2006.