This week, one of my friends threw a birthday party for her son who turned 21. On my way home from the party, I thought about the relevance of the number twenty-one. For my friend’s son, it meant reaching the age of majority. He probably should be glad that the 21st Amendment was passed or instead of being legal, he’d be dealing with Prohibition. Some associate it with the century we are living in, others think of a 21 gun salute or the 2012 movie 21 Jump Street with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.
On a personal note, 21 is an age I will never see again. 21 was the age that for the only time in her life, my daughter was older than her twin brother who was born two minutes before her. How? She was in Australia and he was in Arizona. The time difference let her celebrate before him.
There also was a difference in how they celebrated. My daughter had just begun six months of studying abroad. She was delighted to have her birthday remembered by new suitemates and friends making birthday signs and taking her out for a very special dinner and drinks. My son’s fraternity decided they couldn’t let their social chairman’s birthday slip by without a good dress-up party so they threw a Hugh Hefner night. My son was Hugh in a red smoking jacket and the guests came as party-boys and bunnies. Pictures I have seen from their respective celebrations reflect both of my children having a memorable twenty-first birthday.
Writers are as different as my children. Writing habits and styles vary, but when the words flow and a satisfactory end product is produced, the celebration is the same. It is marked with the feeling of being on top of the world, being able to jump higher than anyone else, knowing that years of studying and learning the tools of the craft have resulted in reaching an age of majority and mentally hearing a 21 gun salute.