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“Lyrical, Beautiful, Beastly and Brilliant!”

10/30/08,  a few hours into being 30

As I start to type this, my 20s are 38 minutes departed.

Now, for the first time, I say:
I’m 30.

I’ve looked forward to this birthday for years. Striving for Gandalf-like wisdom and awesomeness, I have dismayed in my youngness and lack of gray hairs. 

To answer your questions before you ask them, no. No, I do not possess a magical staff the likes of which to defeat mad, powerful, and mad powerful wizards with. No, I have never defeated a balrog. And finally, yes, 30’s a far cry from 400… 

…but it’s a step in the right direction!

I no longer wish to actually be Gandalf, but I remain excited by this birthday. I’m excited to know not only that I made it this far, which given my childhood was not a certainty, but that I made it. 

I haven’t just lived to 30, which alone would have stunned me half my life ago to foresee. I’ve lived.

5/24/11, about halfway between 32 and 33

Yesterday, author Rusty Fischer gave my novel The Monster’s Daughter a five-star review, the title of which I’ve borrowed for this entry.

Even if I’d navigated away after taking in the stars and the title, I would have been exuberant.

I absolutely did not stop with the title. That’s a good thing, too, because the review itself was even better. See, for example:

Often funny, majorly sad, equally scary and powerfully poignant, Ginny is such a great character; one of the most realistic I’ve read in YA fiction — and I’m not just talking YA vamp fiction, either! It struck me as I read The Monster’s Daughter how without the vampire parts it would still be a riveting, dark and lyrical tale of one dysfunctional family; almost any dysfunctional family.

To me, this said: Your book accomplished exactly what you hoped it would. That’s exhilarating stuff.

As I drove home twenty minutes later, I reflected on that review. I thought of how, because of my childhood, my hopes have always exceeded my expectations for my life.

Every time something wonderful happens, I recall my birthday letters to my friends. In those letters, I’ve thanked my friends for helping my life become more full of wonder by far than I ever allowed myself to believe it might. What could be a better time to reflect on the came-before and the yet-to-come than a birthday, after all?

My next birthday email will include a few new bullets. As I type out those bullets one October to come, I’ll be thinking of where I came from. Where I’m going. All the people whose actions and words have helped get me there. And I’ll be thankful, as always, for people taking time out to lend a hand or share a kind word. It’s those graces that get me through the hard times . . . and make the already good ones, those such as I am blessed to live right now, a millionfold brighter.

ETA: I’ve added a few date references to clarify it’s not actually my birthday today, though this entry refers to a personal birthday tradition. I’m loving the preview of the warm wishes I can expect for my 33rd birthday! 🙂

  1. May 24, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Happy, Happy Birthday to YOU! I wish you happiness, hope and great health. Do indulge a bit today and treat yourself to nice meal and more with those you love. 🙂

    • May 24, 2011 at 5:28 am

      Thank you for your kind words, for many reasons–not the least of which includes the fact I failed to reflect it’s not actually my birthday! (I’ve updated the post to reflect this. *cough*)

      Seriously. Thank you for your kind thoughts and comments, here and elsewhere. For the inspiration you share on your blog.

      I woke up and started writing this at 4 a.m. (fully intending to be done at around 4:18 a.m., d’oh!) when coughing fits made it clear no more sleep would be possible. Despite that rough beginning to the day, I feel like a My Little Pony flying across a rainbow. 😀

  2. May 24, 2011 at 5:44 am

    Wow, great review. Congrats, Deborah! And what a great idea; birthday letters to friends to let them know how much they mean to you. I’ll try to remember to do that the next time my birthday comes around. I think I still have a couple of friends…

  3. HL BISE
    May 24, 2011 at 5:48 am

    From another, whose “hopes have always exceeded my expectations for my life,” I wish you a fantastic birthday!
    P.S. Every June, I buy my kids a slew of books for their summer reading; I’m going to add THE MONSTER’S DAUGHTER to the list (and then have them write a review, for you, too)!

  4. May 24, 2011 at 5:55 am

    OMG…it’s my oldest daughter’s real 30th birthday today. Again you are speaking to me. Now…I’m off…to compose just the right words.

  5. May 24, 2011 at 6:08 am

    And…CONGRATS on the 5 star review!

  6. May 24, 2011 at 6:37 am

    5 stars?! That’s amazing! Congratulations – reviews don’t come better than that. x

  7. May 24, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Congratulations on the great review!

  8. May 24, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Congrats on the review, well done!

  9. May 24, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Congrats on the review and Happy Birthday. May your day be everything you want it to be and more! Love reading your posts 😀

  10. May 24, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Friend, I am too busy now-a-days to make a post. You knw, I am working in a University in Keral, India as Section Officer.
    I am M.A in English Language and Literature and in Gandhian Studies as well.
    I hold LLB and LLM.
    I would like to circumnavigate. Want of resources and lack of time prevent me from that. Besides family responsibilities hold me back…
    Any how I am happy to invite you to my little village in Kerala.

  11. May 24, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Awesome review & a very happy birthday!

  12. May 24, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Congrats on the great review! Did you have any doubts though? You’re a terrific writer!
    Many birthday wishes too I’m sending your way. ((Sigh)) I wish I could be thirty again. Old enough that you’re starting to gain wisdom and being taken seriously, but not showing the ‘real’ signs of age yet. Being 30 is wonderful. Enjoy it, for it too is fleeting and soon you’ll be joining the over forty club with the rest of us. 😉 Many blessings of good fortune and happiness I’m sending your way! “Happy B-Day Girl!”

  13. May 24, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Woohoo! Well deserved. And happy about halfway birthday! 🙂

  14. May 24, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Wonderful! I love the fact that you send out a birthday email, thanking your friends for helping you get to where you are today. What a great gesture. Would you mind if I steal the idea for my next birthday? Of course, my birthday isn’t until next year, and I’ll be turning 43. No guarantee I remember this wonderful idea. 🙂

  15. May 24, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I loved my 30s!! In my 20s I felt full of wisdom due to my life experiences, but I didn’t feel like I was taken very seriously by others. How could a person be wise in their 20s?? (Well, perhaps I’ll have to blog about that!).

    I’m excited for you for your great book review! 🙂 🙂 :)!!!!!! I actually just bought your book for my Nook this past weekend. I’m going to be at the beach all next week and it’s going to be my beach read (providing I can get some reading done with 5 noisy college-aged kids with us!) Fabulous post, and a very happy 1/2 birthday to you!!

  16. May 24, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Happy Birthday. I loved my 30’s – you just feel like you understand your life’s calling and can finally put things in motion.
    (just to give you a heads up — forties are even better)

  17. May 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Congrats! Wonderful news. 😀

  18. May 24, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    CONGRATS!!! Now I Really can’t wait to get my copy! See what all that self doubt gets you? 😉

    and…October birthdays Rock! and 40 wasn’t so bad either. although I’ll let you get to 33 before we get too far into that discussion. 😀

  19. May 24, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Happy Birthday! A 5 Star Review is a great birthday present. . . and well deserved, I imagine. Just think what awaits you as you continue to improve with age.

  20. May 24, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Even if it’s not your birthday, Happy Day! I like your sentiments about where you came from, graces, etc.
    And, congratulations on your book review. That’s fantastic. I plan on buying the book for the students in my school (conveniently, where I am the high school librarian). I’ll let you know their feedback! I wish you all the best with your book!

  21. May 25, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Congratulations on a five stars!!

  22. May 25, 2011 at 3:59 am

    Wow, congrats! Your book sounds amazing. 🙂

  23. May 25, 2011 at 6:10 am

    I’m over the moon happy for you!!!! My heart is just pounding, seriously.

  24. May 25, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Hey Deborah –

    WOW 30-years old yesterday. Ya’ ole’ girl, you! 😉

    You have so much to look forward too. For Christmas 2011, I’m buying you a jumbo box of Depends. Awe, no need to thank me. I can see it in your eyes, you’re a happy gift openin’ granny now. For Valentine’s Day, you’re getting the brand new edition to “Wheel Chair” magazine. You’re worth it now! And for Mother’s Day almost a year from today (and gosh, twilight fading from you as age 31 in so near), a knitting needle kit. I’m all heart ;).

    30 is a great age Deborah. You’re not a fumbling girl and you’ve become much more wise on the “do’s” and “don’ts” for your life. And look what cool things are happening for you in your life. A 5-star review of your book. That’s some very hot-happening business going on there Deb. Kudos to you and that review, “Ya ole’ girl, you! 😉 ^5!!!!!!!!

    Happy Wednesday to you. 🙂

  25. May 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Congratulations on a great review. I have to agree that words are powerful tools and it’s those that are close to us (sometimes not so close) who remember a few kind words that makes a huge impact on how our lives pan out.

  26. May 29, 2011 at 6:41 am

    The aging process rocks, right?

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