Sun, 15 Mar 2015 02:44:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 59735348 /posts/its-always-now-in-my-mind-tall-ships-july-4-1976-new-york-harbor-to-hudson-river/ Wed, 13 Aug 2014 23:01:43 +0000 /?p=3827 Tall Ships, July 4, 1976. New York Harbor to Hudson River.In 1976 I lived in a highrise apartment in Yonkers, a few miles up the Hudson River from Manhattan. A couple of friends lived on the same floor but on the river side. From their balcony they had a great view of the river all the way south to the George Washington Bridge.

On July 4, the day of the United States Bicentennial, my friends invited me to come out on their balcony to view Operation Sail. Sixteen ships had sailed to New York City from all over the world to celebrate the 200th anniversary of American Independence. They’d come from Europe, Scandinavia, Central and South America, the Soviet Union and even Japan. All were working ships with young crews learning to sail the way that seafarers had sailed for uncounted centuries.

Of course, I said yes to the invitation. It was Sunday and the weather was fairly clear except for the slight haze that hung over the water. I could make out the pale silhouette of the bridge as we waited for the ships to come into view.

Suddenly one of my friends touched my arm. “Look,” she said, and pointed. I caught my breath. From beneath the bridge, sails were moving upriver. They were faint and far away, growing slowly larger. Soon there were three.

Like the ships from far away that had come into this river three, even four hundred years before, they passed between the dark cliffs on each side of the Hudson, swaying slightly, unrelenting as time. Ghost ships. Haunted ships. Invaders.

I felt my lips grow cold. I was afraid.

The feeling is clear to me even after so many years, maybe more because my reaction was so unexpected. It was as though I’d been standing on the banks of the river that day when the first European ship had come into the estuary. I’d looked up to see a massive craft with great wings that filled with wind and brought the future into my land. A future that I didn’t want and couldn’t have imagined.

I couldn’t look for long. I left the balcony. The image, the feeling, they’ll always stay with me.

]]> 3827 /posts/moved-to-a-new-domain/ Mon, 07 Oct 2013 21:00:33 +0000
My site has moved to my full name, Sally Jane Driscoll ( Hey, that’s here!

Consider this a special thank you for coming along.

It will take time to set up this new site to be as useful as possible, but I’m looking forward to growing my internet presence.

My old blog was a wonderful learning experience. I appreciate each one of you who took the time to stop by, read and participate.

In closing, all I can say is—

Mule, make tracks!

/posts/your-entrepreneurial-soul/ /posts/your-entrepreneurial-soul/#comments Wed, 03 Apr 2013 01:12:22 +0000 How can an old-fashioned Detroit assembly line worker walk away from the factory and become a creative, independent 21st-century entrepreneur?

That’s the way I now see the situation faced by fiction writers today.

Here’s what happened. Last month, I picked up Robert T. Kiyosaki‘s Rich Dad Poor Dad for a dollar at a library book sale. I was interested because I had a poor dad—a “progressive” teacher and administrator, strangely enough the same as Kiyosaki’s poor dad—and a rich uncle, my dad’s brother—a businessman who created a chain of discount record stores… “and never the twain shall meet.”  My family background made Kiyosaki’s ideas shockingly personal.

Since then, I’ve been feverishly delving into this new-to-me world of entrepreneurship and business and money. I now have an sense of the chasm between Amazon and the publishers formerly known as the Big Five.

In his book Retire Young Retire Rich, Kiyosaki mentions the difference between the corporate mindset and the entrepreneur mindset.

This is simplified, but listen: corporate publishing is a bureaucracy. In contrast, Amazon, big as it is, still has an entrepreneurial soul.

What does this mean for fiction writers, especially indie fiction writers?

We fiction writers create products that didn’t exist before we invented them, new products that other people are willing to trade money to get.

In the past, we turned our inventions over to bureaucrats. We were like craftsmen who left their workbench because they were too focused on craft to be businesslike. When times got hard, they had to get an assembly-line job. 

Think of each car coming off the assembly line as a short story anthology, a compendium of the collected works of all the workers. Except each worker keeps writing the same story over and over.

Is it any wonder we now see copies of copies of an author’s original idea? It’s like different models of assembly-line cars. Take the original idea of the car, give it a slightly different shape, color, accessories, horsepower, mechanical tweaks. It’s the same basic car, just a different model.

Take the original Twilight, The Hunger GamesFifty Shades of Gray, give it a few twists and tweaks, turn out a dozen other novels, TV shows and movies, even a new genre, all based on the original invention… and what you end up with is different models of the same basic car.

It’s no longer enough for us to be craftspeople at heart who work on an assembly line, turning out stories for a bureaucracy to sell, tweak and reproduce. It’s not enough to hand over our copyrights—our only assets—to a bureaucracy that knows better than we do what assets are for.

We as fiction writers have to approach this process differently. What would it mean to be a fiction writer-entrepreneur?

Nora Roberts has famously said that writing is her job. Writing need no longer be a job within an enveloping corporate context. Writing is now the personal business of each indie writer. We must approach this as business people, not as employees, assembly-line workers or baby bureaucrats, but as entrepreneurs, like Amazon.

Amazon is currently the farmer’s market where we take our crafts to sell.

Many of us still have the craftsman’s view of the marketplace. We have to enlarge that view.

Now I understand better what Kristine Kathryn Rusch has been blogging about for a long time. How can we ourselves become entrepreneurs, each of us a mini-Amazon?

Some writers have taken the first steps, but there are so many questions.

What’s the best way to protect our copyrights, which are our assets?

Should each author become a Limited Liability Corporation? Would that provide enough protection for our copyrights? Would it give us a tax advantage?

Do some of us need to band together—not into unions, which are for job-holders—into some form of mutual entrepreneurship?

What’s the next step for us after the current Amazon farmer’s market develops into something else? Will we be absorbed into a new corporate bureaucracy? Or can more of us become this new kind of fiction writer-entrepreneur?

How can an old-fashioned craftsman who could no longer make it on his own and who spent years working on a Detroit assembly line walk away from the job and grow the skills needed to become a free entrepreneur?

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Mark Lieberman: Four Jobs, So Never Between Seasons /posts/mark-lieberman-four-jobs-so-never-between-seasons/ /posts/mark-lieberman-four-jobs-so-never-between-seasons/#comments Sun, 16 Dec 2012 22:11:03 +0000 Being Between: a series about moving from our current day jobs and life situations toward our true vocations and life goals.

Writers aren’t the only people who juggle more than one life at a time. Mark Lieberman tells how he combines his part-time football broadcasting jobs with his full-time job at a bank.

Just like many Americans, I have more than one job: one full-time job and three part-time seasonal jobs.

The seasonal jobs start the last weekend in August and last through the week before Christmas. They’re only on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I do get paid and sometimes I get free food, but that’s not why I have ’em. I have ’em ’cause I love what I do!

My full-time job is at Chase Bank in the Unclaimed Property department. I work Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

My seasonal jobs revolve around football. I’m a football statistician for high school games (radio and tv) and for University of Texas at San Antonio games. I started doing high school football radio stats in 1997 and TV stats in 2009. I started doing UTSA football stats this year. 

When football season starts, I make sure I get everything I need for Thursday and Friday on Wednesday. That involves what I wear to work and what I eat for breakfast and lunch those two days. Thursdays and Fridays are extremely long days for me that start at 6:30 a.m. and end around 11:00 or midnight, but I always get a jolt of energy at 5 p.m. I just flip a switch and, voila, I am on for football! Yes, I’m tired when I come home, but I get eight months to recuperate between seasons. Saturday football games are easy since I can sleep in and no early preparation is needed.

Most of the football games I work are not that far a drive from where I work and live. I hit congested areas going to a few stadiums, but when I see the stadium lights, I always get goosebumps.

My corner of the press box at Cowboys Stadium

If I’m available, I work road games, and most of those are in the playoffs. Last year, I worked a game at Reliant Stadium in Houston and Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. That was awesome ’cause I got to run around the field like a little boy and take pictures.

View of teams and fans from Reliant Stadium press box

During the games, I can’t get caught looking at the cheerleaders. I have to watch the action on the field and keep track of a bunch of stats–like total plays and total yards, first downs, 3rd down conversions, 4th down conversions, penalties and yards, punts, turnovers, time of possession, individual and total rushing and passing numbers for the offensive players, the drive summary and how long a particular play was (that could be a pass, run, punt or kick-off and also the return on a punt or kick-off).

I am Vanna White and that is my dry erase board.

I am Vanna White and that is my dry erase board.

I use a dry erase board to keep track of everything. Yes, sometimes I forget the number I’m updating so I have to make up a number and pray to the “football gods” that it’s close. I sometimes compare my stats to the official stats and I’m really close to those numbers. I won’t brag, but I am good at what I do. “The Abacus” and “The Human Calculator” are two of my favorite nicknames. Yeah, there are always numbers floating in my brain.

The only time I missed a lot of high school football games was when I worked for the San Antonio Spurs from 1999 to 2002.  Even though the Spurs gig was a part-time job for me, a lot of the games were played on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening. My radio bossman knew that the Spurs job came first.

I can’t count how many games I’ve worked. I’m a stat man, so I should know this!

At all of my jobs, I have had extremely generous managers who allowed me to work a flexible schedule so I could work football games.

Last April, I started a blog. When football season started last August, I started to write  articles for each game I worked. Now I’m incorporating pictures of each stadium, the press box, the broadcasters, the teams and even the food I eat.

Military Appreciation Day at the San Antonio Alamodome, 11/11/12

From January till August, I relax a lot, take a bunch of naps, watch television, and blog, but I also enjoy spending time at home with my wife Nina.

Thinking about everything I have on my plate, I find it amazing that I’m doing it and doing it pretty damn good. I’m used to being busy and I’m good on time management. I also don’t wear myself down at any of my jobs and don’t stress out over stupid little things.

Tomorrow, I’m heading to Austin, Texas, about a 90-mile drive, for a high school football playoff semifinal game between the San Antonio O’Connor Panthers and the Houston Lamar Redskins. The winner will play in the state championship game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on December 22nd. I hope the O’Connor Panthers win! You can read my recap of that game along with pictures in my Sunday blog post.

Connect with Mark on Twitter and on his blog.

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Serena Dracis: Between Lives? Don’t Micromanage the Universe /posts/serena-dracis-between-lives-dont-micromanage-the-universe/ /posts/serena-dracis-between-lives-dont-micromanage-the-universe/#comments Sat, 08 Dec 2012 16:43:19 +0000 Being Between: a series about moving from our current day jobs and life situations toward our true vocations and life goals.

In this fifth installment of the Being Between series, Serena Dracis shares her three-step plan of how to work with the gods when they push you into a new life.

Thank you, Sally for inviting me to guest post on your blog! I’m thrilled and honored to be taking part in this series; it’s a subject near and dear to my heart.

Recently I wrote about reincarnation, a subject I love and will probably revisit again and again. If you have a chance and are interested in the topic, I invite you to hop on over and check it out.

Do we live more than one life? The answer is yes—and not always in the soul migration sense.

I often refer to my animal training career as “my past life.” I worked at the sea lion show of the San Diego Zoo for eight happy years during my late 20’s and early 30’s. My life was all about animals, training and educating people about the environment. It was so much fun! Really, I look back at the zoo as the best job I ever had, and the award from my peers for Excellence in Training still hangs proudly on my wall, alongside my animal pictures. I was single, young, and I loved my life. I used to say they’d have to pry my cold, dead body out of the zoo to bury it.

So how did I end up as a married nurse in Seattle, with the wildest animals around me a flock of chickens? It’s a little bit like the old me died and a new me was born. 

I hit a rough patch. My grandfather died, an old friend died, and my dog died. I was feeling very alone. Losing my grandfather was not unexpected, but my friend and my dog were taken far too soon. Mike took a turn on his motorcycle too fast, and Pagan had a heart condition I didn’t know about. I started to question my life.

It hit me that my life was my career, and nothing else. Social life? Ha! Flirting with men at dance clubs or the gym led nowhere. Guys were frightened off, uneasy because I went into a cage with wolves and cheetahs every day. Once I literally watched a man’s face turn pale in the dim light of the dance floor when I described how the wolf jumped me one day. It was kind of fun at times to watch them squirm when I described some of the gorier job aspects, but scaring potential dates is a dead end relationship-wise.

I was also broke, and living on my credit cards. Animal training is not exactly a high-paying job, and the cost of living in San Diego kept getting higher and higher. I had the career I’d dreamed of since I was a little girl, but the rest of my life was empty. I knew I was unhappy, but didn’t want to accept it. This is your dream job, your perfect life, I’d tell myself, but it wasn’t true any more.

So the gods pushed me. I had a bad accident on the job: I fell into an empty pool and knocked myself out. I was off work for a month and on light duty for the next six months, which meant I didn’t work an animal that whole time. Which meant I had plenty of time to think. Somewhere in that time, I came to realize that this phase of my life was over and it was time to make a change.

Seattle called. I have always had a love for this city. My brother lived here and, bless him, offered to let me live with him while I changed careers, went back to school and got my nursing degree.

When you’re following the right path, the way will be smooth. I got right into nursing school at time when competition was exceptionally fierce, and graduated near the top of my class with glowing recommendations from my instructors.

Along the way, I also met the love of my life and got married. The perpetually single San Diego girl was married with a new career within three years of moving to Seattle. Talk about a life change!

Oh, it wasn’t easy. Don’t get that idea, but doors opened at the right time, and opportunities rose just when I was strategically positioned to take advantage of them. My greatest gift though, was figuring out how to open those doors and generate those opportunities.

Believe. Believe in yourself, believe in your dreams, and don’t let negative thoughts and self-talk dominate your inner conversations. You can create the reality you want, the life you want to live, but it takes three very important components.

1) You have to know what you want. You have to hold it in your inner vision so clearly, so beautifully that its image is never far from you. You cannot let thoughts of “I can’t” or “It won’t work” whisper in your ear.

2) To know what you want, you have to know yourself. Not just the bright and shiny parts you show the world, but the darker spots you’d rather keep hidden. You have to know them all.

3) Ask the Universe to give it to you. Or God, or Spirit, or whatever resonates with you, in whatever manner you are most comfortable. The trick to this: don’t micromanage the Universe. Ask, but let Spirit do the work of bringing it about. Ask for what you want, but don’t worry about the how. The Universe will reveal that to you.

I know it looks so ridiculously easy, but it works. Remember I said my path to becoming a nurse was smooth? I followed these steps. Now I’m working on moving into my third life: bestselling author. I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way. As before, doors are opening, opportunities are rising. I’ll keep you posted.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Be sure to come back for the next post in Sally’s Being Between series.

Connect with Serena on her blog and on Twitter.

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Charis Maloy: Between Now and the Next Adventure /posts/charis-maloy-between-now-and-the-next-adventure/ /posts/charis-maloy-between-now-and-the-next-adventure/#comments Sat, 01 Dec 2012 13:39:10 +0000 Being Between: a series about moving from our current day jobs and life situations toward our true vocations and life goals.

In this fourth installment of the Being Between series, Charis Maloy talks about living from day to day while planning for future happiness.

The mad writer Copyright 2012 Charis Maloy All rights reservedWow, Sally really didn’t know what she was getting herself into when she asked me to do a guest spot about transitioning!

Most of my readers know that I’m a busy girl. Multiple jobs plus trying to write and start a small business make for chaos. What Sally wasn’t really aware of are some of the major transitions in my personal life that are affecting the way I relate to work, and the sacrifices that I am making in order to do what needs to be done.

For the last year and a half, I’ve had my status as family doormat thrust down my throat. For the third time in my adult life, I allowed a certain few members of my family to bring me to the brink of bankruptcy. All while I was working nearly 100 hours a week.

In February, the characters in my head demanded that their story be told. On a major writing binge, I began to tell their stories. Then I had to stop and start building timelines to keep them straight because I had anywhere from 8 to 10 characters talking to me at once, telling me that I had, not a book, but a series.

Last May, after nearly twenty years of hiding my true self, I finally worked up the strength within myself to acknowledge that I am lesbian. This, in a small Wyoming town where my biggest support system has always been my very LGBT-unfriendly church. This is also the place where I once put my job on the line by mentioning in an offhand comment that my brother is gay. 

At some point over the summer, friends for whom I had been beta reading and editing talked me into starting an editing business. Hence, my alter ego was born.

Transitions? Let me see… Charis before Copyright 2012 Charis Maloy All rights reserved

In terms of work, I quit three jobs that I hated, began a small business, continued writing and got a part-time job at a local fast food joint. What this usually means is that I get paid little to nothing to do what I love, and when I get more hours at work, my writing and editing suffer.

In terms of life, I am nearly packed. I’m selling the house and moving to a land far away. Sacrifices abound as I leave behind small children (not my own) who won’t remember me when I see them again. In order to truly become myself, I’m losing connection with the family that keeps pulling me into their web. The benefits outweigh the costs, however, as I will finally be permitted to be me.

I live my life from day to day, always planning for the future, always working toward my goal of a peaceful, loving life where I’m allowed to be true to myself and I can let my characters tell their stories. Some days I’m on cloud nine and everything is going according to plan. Other days it’s all I can do to keep from hiding under the blankets and crying because it’s so hard to have to stand completely alone in the face of the storm.

I only know that the few moments I’ve had that are close to what I seek are the happiest moments of my life.

When I look back on this time, I will see the strength that it took to stand true to myself. I’ve been trying for twenty years and I am too close to succeeding to fail now. Yes, this is a potentially expensive endeavor. It could cost me irreparable damage to my relationships with my family, and that is truly the biggest cost. The only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that those relationships MUST change, or I will not have stood for myself. Therefore, I will have failed. I must stand for me, hoping that by making clean breaks, wounds will heal.

As I look at the boxes around me, I must sign off. I have to finish packing for the next big adventure.

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Lena Corazon: Learning to Love the Space Between /posts/lena-corazon-learning-to-love-the-space-between/ /posts/lena-corazon-learning-to-love-the-space-between/#comments Sat, 24 Nov 2012 13:47:11 +0000 Being Between: a series about moving from our current day jobs and life situations toward our true vocations and life goals.

In this third installment of the Being Between series, Northern Californian poet, novelist and sociology doctoral candidate Lena Corazon talks about her multiple lives and shares one of her poems.

Even though I’ve been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since I was a little girl, I always considered it to be little more than a hobby, something I did for fun. The route of academia seemed far more practical, and so I decided that I would study for a PhD and become a college professor.

I was lucky enough to get my wish. I entered a PhD program in sociology straight out of college, and quickly learned that grad school, like academia itself, is one big juggling act. For the last four years I’ve been student, teaching assistant, and scholar. I slog my way through 300+ pages of reading each week, grade what feels like mountains of assignments, and look for spare time to cram in my dissertation research.

It’s little surprise that during my first couple of years as a grad student, I didn’t pick up a single novel or write one word of fiction. Why? I had a skewed fantasy in my head about what it meant to be a “serious” scholar. Serious scholars, as far as I was concerned, did not prance about in make-believe worlds. Serious scholars didn’t waste time having conversations with imaginary people. Serious scholars did Very Serious Things, like immerse themselves in social theory and write books filled with academic jargon. 

But as every writer eventually discovers, the impetus to create cannot be completely suppressed. I’m learning at long last that I am both sociologist and creative writer, a woman with a foot in the world of rationality and theory, and a foot in the wild places of my imagination. There’s no way that I could give up one life for the other. Sociology provides me with the tools to understand social inequalities on a systemic scale and the passion to teach others; writing gives me the opportunity to use my academic knowledge and weave it into fiction.

Somehow, this juggling act has proven successful. Challenges like A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) have helped me to integrate academia and writing, allowing me to set small, achievable goals essential for managing my many interests. Over the last eighteen months I’ve completed my MA thesis and satisfied the requirements to advance to doctoral candidacy. I have four novels in-progress sitting on my hard drive and if things go according to plan, I’ll be ready to publish at least two of them in 2014. That will hopefully be the same year I complete my dissertation, earn my PhD, and hit the job market.

At the moment, I’m enjoying a year’s research leave from the university, so my schedule is more flexible than it has been in a long time. I spend three days a week doing archival research for my dissertation, a study of 19th century Catholic nuns in the San Francisco Bay Area. The rest of the week is split between family, writing, and self-care.

I’ve come to love this space that lies between lives, because it’s only here that I can achieve wholeness.

by Lena Corazon

There are some beginnings that strike the heart with fear,
send it racing with adrenaline,
careening pell-mell, till anxiety steals every word.
But this beginning is simple joy
like a sunlit meadow, or a sea of white daisies waving in the breeze.
This beginning stands at the edge of infinite possibility
a million unmarked pages waiting for that first breath of inspiration,
that first drop of ink.
I spill that ink now, my first offering,
a promise of passion and commitment both,
to allow truth to flow from my pen,
to remember that “in the beginning was the Word”
and that Word brings life to me.

Copyright 2012 Lena Corazon. All rights reserved.

Read more of Lena’s poetry here, and connect with her on Twitter and on her blog, Flights of Fancy.

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Louise Behiel: Between a Rock and a Hard Place /posts/louise-behiel-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place/ /posts/louise-behiel-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place/#comments Sat, 03 Nov 2012 14:14:20 +0000 Being Between: a series about moving from our current day jobs and life situations toward our true vocations and life goals.

Today I’m honored to welcome romance writer-translation manager-psychotherapist Louise Behiel.

When Sally asked me to consider contributing to this series, I had to smile—so very often I consider myself caught between a rock, a hard place and a mountain.  Think of me in the middle of a triangle where the walls seem to be closing in.

I’m blessed with many interests, a need to serve and a passion to write.

During the day, I’m the manager of Interpretation and Translation  for the Health Authority in Alberta, Canada. It’s my job to make sure that our limited English-speaking patients have access to trained and highly competent medical interpreters.

I am fascinated by the practice of medicine and by the amazing care given in our facilities. But, given that I don’t like blood, needles or body fluids, this is as close as I can come to the action.

Just in case you’re wondering, I speak only one language. But many of my staff speak three or four. One speaks eight. They work with medical professionals across the spectrum of health care. They can explain medical procedures, outcomes and information in each of those languages. It’s a big job (imagine keeping up with the ever-evolving medical terminology) and I’m honored to be part of the team. 

To feed my need to help others, I have a small private practice as a psychotherapist. I majored in the issues of women, but my practice has included lots of men. Go figure. They tell me I’m unshakable and nothing embarrasses me. (They’re right.) It just proves that the Universe has a sense of humor.

In my spare time, I write romance. I love stories with happy endings. Romance is a nice foil for all the pain and trauma I work with.

So what’s my day like? I work full time and have a one-hour commute. I see five to ten clients a week. After that, I write. In my spare time, I spoil my grandchildren, keep my life in order (I’m single), market my books and play on Facebook.

What’s my long-range plan? Writing is today’s key to sanity and the key to my transition to retirement. It is something I can do for a long time. Since it feeds my soul, it’s something that will always be part of me.

In the meantime, I have a mortgage to pay and a retirement to fund.

Is all the work worth it? I think so. I have a rich life where I know I make a difference. And I have many writer friends who understand my passion for getting words down on paper. We all know I wouldn’t be happy if I delayed writing until I had time to write.

Could I write more? Maybe. But when I’ve had an unproductive week, I refuse to get down on myself. After all, I’m already busier than a one-handed wallpaper hanger. Beating myself up for not doing more writing is pointless, counterproductive and depressing.

I am in the between stage of transition from where I am to where I’m going.  It’s not always comfortable, but it’s necessary if I’m going to follow my dream.

So what’s your dream? What are you doing to reach it?

Come join the conversation on Louise’s blog, and catch her on AmazonFacebook and @LouiseBehiel.




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Diane Capri Reveals… me /posts/diane-capri-reveals-me/ Thu, 25 Oct 2012 14:57:35 +0000 #1 Amazon Bestselling Author Diane Capri has been running a REVEALS series about writers. Today she interviewed me. Thanks, Diane!


Being between lives /posts/being-between-lives/ /posts/being-between-lives/#comments Thu, 25 Oct 2012 13:00:03 +0000 This is the introduction to a series of guest posts about moving from our current day jobs and life situations toward our true vocations and life goals.

Do you have each foot in a different life—or a few different lives?

I do. Feels like I’ve been trying to transition from one life to another for as long as I’ve been alive.

There was a time when I almost crossed over from everyday life to being a full-time writer. My short stories and poetry were published, a play was produced and I wrote two novels (bad ones).

Or maybe that time just looks idyllic in retrospect. I was pretty much a single mom to my son and daughter for ten years since my husband was away on business five days a week. Then I went to graduate school and worked part time as a graphic artist, while still being a mom.

After that, I started teaching college and thought I’d found the perfect career. That’s what so many writers do, isn’t it? Teach class, then close the door and immerse themselves in their real work.

But teaching drove me crazy. I couldn’t write and teach, too. The words of my lectures drowned out the words of my fiction.

So I became an editor on a medical journal. At last, silence!

I could write again, but found myself transitioning to a different kind of writing. I’d always written short stories, but now I was trying to write novels. Real ones.

That’s not easy. Short stories are like paintings, novels are like movies. Hardly the same thing at all. I had a lot to learn.

Years passed. My children grew. I moved from New York to Baltimore to San Jose to the Texas Hill Country. I left my editing job, tried working for a literary agent, then went back to the old job.

All the while, the writing continued, stopped, continued, stopped— I don’t know how many times I quit absolutely, positively for the last time.

Finally, I gave up.

Now, whether I write for a few stolen hours a week while working as an editor, succeed and make a living as a novelist, or have to wait to write full time until I’m old enough to retire, I accept that writing fiction is and always has been the focus of my life.

There’s a kind of peace in that.

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