I’m not one to believe in things that I can’t see (with the exception of gravity). I’ve never been very religious or spiritual. Indeed, I have distinct memories of reading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women in the church pews on Sunday mornings much to the disappointment of my parents who hoped to instill if not a specific religion at least some kind of faith. This year, though — maybe it’s getting older, maybe it’s an attempt to be less cynical — I found my faith. Sort of.
Let’s go back a bit. A year ago I found myself feeling… stuck. I had just turned 30 and had recently come off of a two-year creative streak that brought along with it some small successes in writing: acceptance into two creative writing workshop groups, a residency in the middle of Nebraska, and publications in journals I loved. I was still working a full-time job while I completed a manuscript, waking up many early mornings and workshopping pieces with other writers and friends on weekends. I was thrilled that the manuscript had some interest from agents, including one agent in particular who asked me to do a revision and resubmit only to her, an opportunity I was pleased to accept.
After completing the revision and resubmitting in early 2017 (the date is seared into my mind: it was a day after the current president’s inauguration), I found myself in a new and different place than I had been just a few months before: a bit directionless. It was the first time since I started writing seriously that I didn’t have a creative project to work on. I continued to work on short stories here and there, but found myself repeating themes and characters. So much of my creative energy had gone into the manuscript, and there wasn’t much leftover for other writing projects. At the same time, I was horrified at the turn the country had taken, and was more interested in finding ways to create a greater impact in the world around me. (Please note: I do understand the argument to be made that writing, and art in general, can have profound impacts on the world and serve as their own form of activism, but that’s not where I was at.)
And so, for the first time since I began writing six years before, I decided that I needed a break, and I took it.
I dove into something totally different: a fashion business. I’ve always loved fashion and saw the intersection of it a cause I care deeply about, sustainability, in secondhand clothes. With my business partner, we launched And We Evolve in the fall of 2017.
Things happened slowly or quickly after that. Winter felt like it stretched on forever. I waited to hear about my manuscript, tried to balance working a full time job with the business, and generally ended most days feeling entirely exhausted. And I still wasn’t writing.
By the time summer came, balancing all of my work while maintaining my sanity became impossible. I took a leap of faith and quit my job, maintaining enough contracts and side-hustle money to carry me through while I continued to work on the business. I wasn’t writing as much, but in its space I discovered new talents and interests, like photography and even business operations, that I didn’t know I could possibly do or be any good at. And all at once, things began to change. I was more energized about my work and less exhausted at the end of my days. I felt grateful for the opportunities presented to me and for having control over my time in ways I hadn’t had in years.
In the middle of all of this, I received a call about my manuscript. The agent who was once interested was still interested. My manuscript had stayed with her, and she offered me representation.
Which leads me to now. I’m in an interesting space in my life. If you asked me a year ago if I’d be here, no longer working in an office, co-running a fashion business, and steadily beginning the writing career I had only dreamed of having in my twenties, I may not have believed you. And so while I still don’t believe in any one faith, I do believe in energy exchange, and I believe giving in a bit to universal intelligence — whatever that is — has helped me to get here. (That and being thankful for each moment.) I’m still working on myself every day, and I’m doing it with gratitude.
If you’re reading this, you’ve almost certainly played some role in the changes in my life over the last year. And for this, I thank you.
I’ll be sharing updates and some thoughts on here when I can. Thank you for being with me on this journey so far. <3