I Used to Be a Writer

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).

julie versus vegetables
Julie vs Vegetables was my best friend, my lover, my life source. Then she was all like, peace out, bitches.

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!

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