I’m 40 today. Not exactly sure what that means. I feel like I should finally get that poetry manuscript published, or I should start teaching creative writing in the back of my neighborhood bookstore, or get an MFA. I’ve just started to understand fiction enough to write some bad false starts of short stories. One may be a flash fiction piece or it might just not have anywhere to go after two hundred words. I think I’m going to send it out anyway and see if anyone likes it. I still worry about people liking my work or liking me. I have some emotional distance just from sending more stuff out over time, but rejections still suck. Unfortunately there’s no great clarity after four decades except that I’ve gotta keep doing this, whatever this is. This writing thing. This making it up as I go along thing. This pretending I can teach people about it thing. Because this thing is beautiful. To quote a George Saunders thing, “I don’t care how old you are; do something beautiful.” I wish I had more to say. I wish I was a wise old man. The only wisdom I have is to go all out and try to make it beautiful. For me, the beauty comes in the trying.