The Year in Review
The date is December 31, 2020.
Over a year and a half ago, I quit my 9 to 5 and put my Master’s of Science in Business Analytics on hold.
“What work will you be doing?” People asked.
My first Medium article was posted on July 31, 2019 and titled, How to Get Out of Your Head. My second article was posted on September 28, 2019 and titled, A Summer 2019 Reflection, Part I: Misery.
Sharing my stories was nerve-racking at first. I wrote about deeply personal topics and if people didn’t like them, it was like they were rejecting me.
What actually happened was people liked my stories. They enjoyed my writing and could relate to my experiences. I felt understood. I had a few fans.
In November, I received a deposit in my checking account. Wow! It was the first time I had ever been paid for writing.
A few months later
In February, I earned more from a popular post, An Asian American Experience. This story was, and still is, my heart and soul spilled on paper. I was rewarded handsomely.
Chatting with my dad on the phone, I said, “Dad, I was paid for my articles! … How much, you say? Eh, don’t worry about it!”
My confidence bolstered, I continued to write, but only on a few different platforms and an irregular but consistent schedule. Mostly my articles were posted on my website and then shared to Facebook. If I had time, they made it onto Steemit and if they were well-received, they went on Medium.
I had new ideas all the time about the stories I wanted to write. They were saved in a list on my phone until it was their time to be shared. I was bubbling over.
Summer in Austin
At the end of April, Jim and I moved onto a farm outside of Austin, Texas.
In the mornings, I awoke to cool, desert air and helped Jim take care of the animals: the donkeys, the sheep, the old bull and a sweet, potbelly pig. Sometimes I spied Julius the farm cat slinking in the cool of the summer grass, but usually he was still snoozing in his favorite corner of the house.
Here, we dropped into the slipstream, carried by the flow. Creativity spurred on by the momentum of creation.
I grew bolder and posted my stories everywhere.
Recognizing my value as a storyteller, I took the time to format and edit them, creating my experience for the reader. I started contributing to more digital platforms, like Vocal, and syndicated my writing across platforms using Pinterest, Flipboard, and more.
As I plugged into a community in Austin, I had more access to resources for a burgeoning writer and my stories gained greater interest.
Once I started writing every day, my writing improved.
I watched my Medium earnings continue to rise throughout the summer and won several writing competitions and grants.
My stories were reaching people and my words made a difference. It caught the eye of some important publisher and they offered me a book deal.
Together, Jim and I toasted the event over a special dinner at our farmhouse. We picked vegetables fresh from our little garden and cooked together. As we celebrated, we recalled our lunch that afternoon in Providence the year before when we clinked glasses in celebration of this moment. Again, writing our story into existence.
A story about the discoveries. The fuck-ups. The heartaches and heart-fulls. The epiphanies and tangential thoughts. Family and relationships. The inner-most.
My words were growing into their own style, their own flare. After so many years of simply channeling my favorite misanthropic writers, I had finally uncovered my own voice.
These days, I’m a writer.
I wake up with the sun, quiet and alone in bed; Jim is already well into his morning routine. Slowly, I pad down the hall, feeling each step of creaky wood with the tingly soles of my feet.
In the hazy filter of morning light, I make up a pot of coffee, 2 TBSP of grounds for every cup of water. Mix in some coconut milk and it tastes just like a cappuccino.
At the counter, I sit with Jim and chat about dreams from the night before and the day ahead. We do our morning flow training with Mike Chang. I putter around the house for a bit then sit down to write, like a dog circling his bed before folding his legs and laying his head.
When I was a kid, I had dreams of being an eccentric writer living in unique places, the world pretty as a picture out my window. The little kid I was would be proud of 30 year old me.
The Year to Come
The date is now April 8, 2020 and I’ve gone back in time to the place when I wrote the story above.
Rudy the Rottweiler mix is snoring like dad after Thanksgiving dinner and Jim is playing Words with Friends on the couch, waiting for me to finish up so we can watch an episode of Twin Peaks.
The light reflects beautifully off Pawtuckaway Lake and the water ripples with just the slightest of vibrations. The afternoon sun is dipping in the sky as new shadows are birthed in the trees.
I’m savoring this moment in time. With my words, I write my narrative and create as I go.