I used to be a writer. Then I wasn’t. Or maybe I always was, because maybe being a writer, like being an addict, doesn’t cease to be part of who I am just because I am not actually putting words on paper or licking the bottom of a snifter (I have some experience with both). At least that’s what I like to tell anyone who asks what my goddamn problem is and why I quit writing. Most people, like my parents, don’t love the writing-as-addiction analogy, so I try to soften the delivery by promising to fall off the wagon one day.
The most success I ever had as a writer was with a blog about learning to cook and eat vegetables for the first time as a grownup. Readers delighted in the humanity of my near regular failure, and I loved the weird satisfaction and sense of accomplishment I gained from finally learning to admit I don’t know everything (or much of anything).
That blog was a project on a schedule, a package of stories with a finite timeline, an end date with a conclusion. I loved and was comforted by my vegetables in a way I desperately needed at that time in my life, and when the project was over I mourned. Coincidentally, or maybe not, the end of that project accompanied the end of a 7-year marriage and the beginning of my journey away from Atlanta, Georgia — the only home I’d ever known.
The last great “go get em, girl” advice I got before I left town was from a published, best-selling author who was divorced and living 2,500 miles from her own childhood home:
“Whatever you settle on to get you through this dark time – and it will be DARK – you will indulge in that virtue or vice obsessively, whether it’s finding solace in a bottle or with your new best friends on TV, the Kardashians, so you might as well make the best of a bad situation and try to get through this on paper. Whatever you do, write it down. Obsessively.”
It was the smartest piece of advice I’ve ever received, so naturally I completely ignored it.
I was on the wagon for years, not writing a single word other than an occasional flirt with Twitter’s welcome, necessarily limiting 140 characters, before I emerged feeling well enough to try admitting my failures to strangers again, using you guys on the Internet as my no-cost therapists, like the good lord and my bank account intended. So it was fortuitous (for me, if not necessarily for you) that this time, this emergence was accompanied by a thrilling and joyous life change I will no doubt screw up at every turn: parenthood.
I’m uber stoked to be growing this new human with my real-life, non-vegetable best friend, Randy, who is the voice of reason and sanity when I am not (basically every day), who has a remarkably consistent ability to make me laugh when I’d rather cry (also every day), who is unquestionably the best partner I could ever dream of, but who nevertheless sometimes spits ice water on me when I’m sleeping because a flailing whale is always funny. For him.
Welcome, old friends and new. Let’s do this!