Tag Archives: London

The Roads Newly Taken

[Warning: The rocky trail ahead is just me placing the needle back on my same broken record. Am in pausing-to-take-stock mode, and writing is my way of therapeutically reflecting through it, so please don’t feel you need to keep reading if you’ve already heard all this crap. :)]

It’s been a lot of work and reinvention of my professional self this last decade and a half, what with making the Finance-to-Education career move and then the USA-to-UK geographical move that abruptly demanded I figure things out all over again…just when I’d had it all sorted. I was happy as an English teacher, truly, and gave a go at teaching in London. But let’s just say I know the joy to be found in teaching, so when I found myself treading water through an unpleasant situation that didn’t let me fully be who I am, well, signs to move on simply don’t come clearer than that.

I was devastated having my professional playing field leveled on moving overseas, but I find myself looking back on these last three and a half years—which had always felt rather random and drifting—and seeing what I’ve been doing in that time is finally starting to gel. I think. Even when I was teaching and loving it, my primary love for the English language and literature that I instructed naturally fed my dreams of also becoming a writer and editor. So, I’ve been biding my time writing web content and editing fiction on a freelance basis, and I’m on the cusp of finishing a second novel. And while my editing to date has been for the same small publisher, I’ve just been approached for my first outside gig and am thinking of shaping that independent role into something more official.

Baby steps.

The querying and job-searching continues as I seek to ultimately become a published writer and full-time editor. It’s humbling to compete with so many talented writers likewise seeking publication, and it’s humbling to compete with young graduates for the same in-demand entry-level jobs. I’m 35 with a Masters degree and CFA and have applied for an unpaid internship, for cripes sakes. It’s fair to say I officially checked my ego at the door in 2008. And now I’m wriggling and fussing a bit, as we newborns will do while we wait for our sight to sharpen and learn new uses for our arms, legs, and minds.

But in the meantime, best thing I can do is keep cultivating mah skillz, yo—hoping they pave a relevant path toward what I suppose is shaping into a third freaking career. And London itself just continues being its wonderful, literary self for me to absorb and enjoy, introducing me to Charles Dickens’s great-great-great-granddaughter, Lucinda, last week and various publishing professionals last night in the very space Sir Laurence Olivier dressed and rehearsed for his stage debut. Ahh, London. I love ya.

So can you tell I’m just feeling out my sense of validation here? Glad I warned ya? Not to worry—I’m very content. I just need to stop now and then to assess the situation…because I work just as hard now as I ever did, but without the compensation or recognition. Fine, I guess I’m not money-motivated. But I’d also always been one of those people who functioned best within the straight-and-narrow, doing everything I was supposed to with clear goals in mind. MY goals, fending for myself. And then I became someone’s wifey. And then supporting his goals resulted in resetting mine (no small feat when you’re as stubbornly independent and feisty as me and will rage against anything threatening your autonomy and inner life). And now that my never-expected-to-have-to-set-new-goals-so-soon new goals are finally clarifying, the road to reach them, I see, is a little less marked and a lot more meandering than what I’m used to. In fact, it looks to me like there are multiple pathways still lying ahead, some flat, some steep, some wide, and some narrowly hugging a cliffside. All of them, though, appear to converge on the horizon…so I guess it’s time for me to just stuff my yapper with a protein bar and take a hike. 🙂

Welcome to the Jungle – a.k.a. Where I Write

My sister, “Nicki Elson,” invited me to join a blog hop with her fellow authors. While surely a combination of her kindness and shared DNA compelled her to assure I qualified for having one whole big giant short story pending publication (at a date which seems to have been pushed back to infinity and beyond), I am too shy to join their ranks.

And just as I am beneath them, I am not above ripping off their theme anyway ;). I encourage you, though, to check out Nicki’s post, “Where Do You Write?” and meet the other authors-in-crime listed in the blog hop to discover some fun new reads or join in if you’ve got the published goods yourself (or are contracted to).

So then, on to where I write. Well, the zookeeper is being uncooperative and not allowing cameras inside the cage, so while I’d like to share images of my tree branch and vintage typewriter that my trainer sneaks in for me at night, my human alter-ego has been so kind as to provide me hers…she will narrate from here on:

So there it is. Squished into the second bedroom of a typically gargantuan, so-much-space-I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-it London flat. And in two nights, I’ll be able to officially post a sign above that bed that the great author Nicki Elson was squished in here, too—because my sissy’s coming to London!!! AHHH!!! Psyched.

As we continue the tour, note that the water glass to the left is conveniently interchangeable with a glass of red wine, as such swapping happens with great frequency. The desktop image is a photo from Cabo San Lucas from years ago that helps me escape my grey UK days. Beneath the monitor is a clock depicting the world map, which my parents gave as a reminder of what time it is in Chicago…awww. And beneath the monkeys are books that helped inform my first novel manuscript, along with my brainstorming journal and the Room to Write book of writing prompts that I only occasionally dust off these days now that I’ve found other things to yammer about.

Now about those monkeys. To be honest, when I first created the Fallen Monkey profile, I did not, nor did I ever…actually…own…a sock monkey. Truth. Now *shame*. Thus, my sister gifted me the one on the right a year ago, and me mum delivered its fickle and very green (as in color, not environmentally-conscious—that chimp could care less) mistress. The husband then wooed me with the 2011 sock monkey calendar, which as yet has nowhere to hang as a proper primate ought.

Such as in a tree…Compare/contrast the original view out the window that would inspire me to write, as opposed to after the branch-carnage ensued. At least I still have a perdy church to look at.

And now to give a nod to the second writing space used when I’m motivated to travel as far as the next room…

Netbook-n-me will hang occasionally on the frumpy but oh-so comfy sofa. While any writing done here is usually on my daily London blog for work, I must acknowledge that about 10,000 words of my manuscript were drafted with that wee keyboard in a surreal burst of inspiration whilst reclining here. It’s the one portion I consider to require the least revision, too, so I don’t know what Victorian spirit must’ve been lounging there to whisper it to me :).

So this leaves me ever-so curious—Where do YOU write?!

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