Dita Basu - <!-- -->If I were a

If I were a

IMG-0651 If I were a…

Did I tell you that the Fairy Godmother paid me a visit yesterday? Yes, she tapped on her magic wand on my shoulder and said,

“You are granted a blessing, my dear. You can be whatever you want to be.” Really! I gasped. Why didn’t you come earlier, Mother? I have little time left. No, of course I didn’t spit it out. She is the Fairy Godmother. She had noticed my silver crown, but as if I were a little girl, she stroked my hair,

“Think fast, my child. Not a lot of time to fool around.” Saying this, she shoved her hand in her pocket to take out her smartphone that was buzzing and excused herself to answer.Looking at the dazzling stream of light she left, I thought, hmm, what do I want to be?

Once I saw a tiny Volkswagen bug’s license plate —’when I grow up I want to be a…’ it sped up too fast and I couldn’t read the rest. The imagery made me chuckle now.

Like a lost traveler in the middle of a desert, I chased mirages all my life to be the best mom, the best wife, the best homemaker, the best teacher, the best… and forgot about myself. My days ended before I could answer to the call of that wee voice that was inside me…I was too tired by then.

Now the house is quiet, the kids left the nest. There are no expectations, no deadlines for me from anyone, except from myself.

“I want to be a writer, Mother.” I said when she returned.

"You are a writer, my child. Whoever writes is a writer, and you’ve been writing since you were a little girl.” She grinned.

“ Not that kind of writer. I want to be a genuine writer, whose books shine in the bookstores and library shelves. The one who is noticed and regarded. The author who touches readers’ hearts… can write awesome…” I almost choked. Godmother nodded with a smile. “You know the price for that?” I nodded.

“Yes, I have to beg and persuade them that my writing has worth. It may even bring them profit. My work is marketable. I have to sell myself.” I knew what she’d ask next.

“Fetch me a list (long enough to make a chariot) of the agents and the research you’ve done.” I handed her the list. “Follow their tweets and blog posts and treat them as breadcrumbs to write individual query letters…. Where are they?” She added. I was expecting a golden chariot ready by then, but Godmother said,

“Show me your bruises and tears and how you are coping with the rejections and silence.”

I did. I rolled up my sleeves and showed her the thick skin I had formed these days. She brushed her gentle fingers over my wounds, happy to see my tenacity and perseverance.

“By the way, are you still writing? For joy?” she asked. I kept quiet.

“That’s the second phase of this author’s journey. Regardless, you must have fun. That’s when the readers connect with you and together you create something that is immortal. We can’t do this alone.” She smiled the most affectionate smile.

I nodded, faintly understanding what she meant.

"Then there you go.” She said with a stroke of her wand, “ Go have a ball.” And I started spinning, oblivious when the clock would strike for me to stop. Until then I’d keep on writing, writing with joy.