*Snaps* For Good Decisions

I had a strange sensation while driving into town this afternoon, on my way to run a few simple errands. The night before had been one of those magical, hot, random summer nights filled with friends, dancing, swimming and laughter. 

As I drove, I replayed scenes from the night before, remembering interactions and unexpected faces. My mind buzzed actively and the muscles around my mouth tugged upwards. What is this? I found myself questioning. And then it hit me. Oh right: happiness. 

Last winter I found myself in a Catch-22. I felt, quite literally, stuck in Colombia. I hadn’t made enough money to move on to another city in South America, as I had anticipated. I was emotionally drained from dealing with visas, the uncertainty of moving to a new city without a job of a plan, being immediately targeted as a tourist. I knew I couldn’t stay, but where to go?

My first instinct was money. Follow the money. Everyone in the international teaching world knows that the money is in Asia. I began searching for and applying to jobs from Japan to Hong Kong, Thailand to Malaysia. The money was enticing. But in my heart of hearts, I knew it wasn’t what I really wanted. The problem was, I couldn’t think of any alternative. And so, anxiously, I dove into the applications head first, despite my better judgement. 

It wasn’t until I a conversation I had with an old friend that I started to reconsider. I still remember this as being one the most influential conversations of my life. Come home, she told me. And finally, I allowed myself to listen. 

It wasn’t an easy decision. I felt embarrassed to be returning home, jobless, with much less money than when I’d left, and only a year and a half into what I had imagined to be a several year long adventure. I didn’t want to look like a failure. 

Thankfully, I’m lucky to have a family that is both understanding and supportive. They have helped me get back on my feet and finally start to pursue my passion: writing. I am so grateful for the wonderful friends who have helped me through life’s difficult decisions. 

Five months after my return, I have never felt more certain that I made the right decision. Not only is this place my home, but it is an inspiring community for writers. I have met so many people of all ages who share similar interests and pursuits. 

At times, I think about what my life would be like at this moment if I had taken a job that brought me to the other side of the globe, far from the people and places that make me who I am. I may have been wealthier in some ways, but I truly believe that my quality of life would have been much poorer. 

Driving this afternoon, the sunImage shining on beautiful green pastures on the side of the country road, a smooth breeze breathing through the open windows, I identified that peculiar sensation: I am exactly where I am supposed to be. 

 

Calling All Writers–Online Writing Group

Those of you who have been following my blog know that one of my goals for my “Year of Writing” was to join a writing group.

Well, now I have joined two, and I’m hooked. The experience has been very positive, and being surrounded by a community of writers is so inspiring. But that is a post for another day.

Today, I am wondering who out there may be interested in an online writing exchange. I have communicated with a few other bloggers who expressed an interest in this. So I am testing the waters.

I’m open to suggestions, but I can imagine the following format:

  • Each participant will submit a piece once a week to a group of writers via email. Let’s say our day for submissions is Wednesday. So as not to overload each other, I would suggest a maximum word count of maybe 1,500 words.
  • Once you receive another writers piece, we will read and make our own written comments. We could do line edits as well as a paragraph or so of feedback. I personally would like both positive and negative critique, as long as it is constructive.
  • The reviewer will have one week to return the piece to the writer. We should return the piece with our edits and comments by the following Wednesday. When we start all over again.
  • Writers could submit a continuous piece, if they are working on a manuscript or a novel. We could do individual pieces, short stories, fiction, poetry, whatever interests you.
  • If people would like to do “group chats” that could also be a possibility, although I am fine doing it all via emails.

Again, this is just an idea, and I am very open to other writers opinions. Please let me know if something like this is of interest to you! I look forward to sharing work with you all, and as always, Happy Writing!