It never ends, and it's never enough

You're a senior in high school.

Where are you going to college?

You go to college, get a degree.  In the middle of a recession.

Where are you interviewing?

You land a job paying peanuts.  To compensate you take the company up on its offer to reimburse tuition and begin a masters program.

When are you getting married?

You get married.

When are you going to graduate?

You receive your M.B.A. 

When are you getting a better job? 

You get a better job.

When are you buying a house?

You buy a house.

When are you having a baby?

You have a kid.

When are you having another?

Fine. You have another and quit your job to stay home with your babies.

Is he walking yet? Is she potty trained? Where will they go to pre-school?  Can they ride a bike? Can they read?  Which soccer camp will you send them to? 


When are you getting a bigger house?  

You get a bigger house.  Your youngest enters first grade.

Now what are you going to do with all your free time?  

*inhale*  You decorate the hell out of your new house, get a variety of part-time jobs, become a "professional" volunteer at the school, and oh yeah, write a bunch of stories and get a novel freaking published.

When's your next book coming out?

*exhale* "I just had a short story released."

No.  I mean a real book. 

You struggle to keep from uttering the following words aloud:  Well, maybe if you hadn't invited yourself over and usurped my entire evening, I'd be working on that right now.

So when does it end?  Will it ever be enough?  Even if you veered from my course at any point above, I'm sure it only led you to a different track of questions.  As my very wise friend explained, it's just the way people show an interest in what's going on in others' lives.  I get that, and it's very nice.  But why do the questions always push forth into the future? Why are people always looking for more, more, more?  Is it not okay to take a moment to just be satisfied?  Ever?

All that being said, this past week I've started working in earnest on my next original manuscript.  :)   I got tired of answering with "I will ... Soon ... It's all up here in my head ... Blah, blah, blah" and I'm delighted to be back at it.  So maybe I'm the kind of person who needs that gentle pressure or I'd never accomplish anything.  How about you?  How do you respond to incessant question of "What's next?"

Here's what's next for  young adult author Carol Oates---her newest novel, Ember, will be released tomorrow!  Congratulations, Carol.

Carol is being interviewed at the brand new Omnific Publishing blog, where you can win a copy of the Summer Lovin' Anthologies---signed by all the authors---just by becoming a follower.  


erica and christy said...

I never EVER ask anyone those questions. Maybe it's because my sister-in-law actually gave me a baby outfit for my wedding present and I thought that was horrible (the baby didn't come for 4 more years, btw). Or maybe because I have a master's in non-profit management - yes, I paid a college $15,000 to teach me how NOT to make money...

Sorry your party guests are such bummers!

Suze said...

Turn the question back on the questioner. Works every time.

Hang in there, kiddo.

Tara Tyler said...

yup. round and round it goes.
similarly, my kids never seem to be satisfied.
we get back from a wonderful vacation and spend the next day at an amusement park with friends, then they ask for a friend to spend the night and are disgruntled at my "no!"

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Um, I wrote another book...
Although I flat out refused to follow through on the kids thing.

Jennifer Lane said...

That's great you started on book #2! I was fortunate to have two books written before I found Omnific and the third book is coming along super slowly. Fortunately I hardly ever get asked "When are you going to get married?" and since I'm 40 people are smart enough to know the miniscule likelihood I'll have kids! But I agree the questions never end. The response to short stories has been very curious. One reader asked me why write a short story when you could write a novel. Until I tried it myself, I can see how a novel bias could easily develop, but short stories are FUN!

anthony stemke said...

I think it's great that you persevered and finished your mba. And the writing thing? Congratulations, your star is rising.

Susan Oloier said...

Congrats on starting your next book!
Since my second son was born with a life-limiting condition, I am very much an in-the-present person. I rarely look to the future anymore. But so many people do.
Excellent post!

Michael Di Gesu said...


I'm worn out from your post... I'm so happy you finally have a moment to do something for YOU.

I just keep telling them In Time ... Stops them in their track every time.

dolorah said...

Like there's ever "enough" of anything?

Just go with it :)


Anne Gallagher said...

I never married, but I do have a child (born when I was 42). I had a lucrative career as a restauranteur and gave it up to have said child. I lived in questionable housing to be near the beach (friends thought I was crazy.)
I received a BA in Native American Ethnology from a hippie college which everyone said was a waste of time and money.

I have never lived my life by any kind of compass set by others. Some days I wish I had. Other days I'm so glad I didn't.

I've always had a passion for living my life the way I wanted, and no one could tell me different. The problem was, I wasn't living my passion - writing. And now in the quietness of my middle age, I finally found the passion that was missing. And I'll never let it go again.

Write, lady. Write it all down and don't stop. Don't give up and when neighbors drop by, pick up your keys and say, "I was just on my way out, sorry." And as soon as they leave, go back to your computer. Don't let anything stand in your way. Including yourself.

Unknown said...

I'm breathless after reading this. You just stressed me out putting pressure on all the things I worked so hard to keep on the back burner. How dare you bring out the truths in all of us! :)

Anonymous said...

What's next? I have no idea -- but I'm liking now a whole lot. Great post, Nicki, and good luck on the new project!

Jennifer Hillier said...

So true. It's never enough, there's always something else we should be shooting for. Or at least it feels that way!

Loved this post.

DEZMOND said...

those questions just never stop, do they?
Love, love, love the cover of that EMBER book! Gorgeous.