A year ago I ended a journey. And started a journey.
The day after I was home--the next day--I was told the trip was paid for. Remember? I said I only had half of the money. A friend from college surprised me and fronted the rest. I cried and cried. That was the moment I knew I really had to find a passion.
I don't think there was a "what is it?" process. I think I just started writing. I've always written, but somewhere along the way I got tired. With my first novel, I had all these snippets of scenes that I wrote at work over the first two weeks of being home. There were so many and none of them went together at all. A friend said to me, "just pick one and write it." So, I did.
Then I wrote a half a novel. Then, I stopped and re-wrote it. Then, I kept going.
It was somewhere in the re-writing stage on a day in early April (in fact--it was the day New Moon came out on DVD because I was at work at Borders) I met Myra. She came into the store and we (she, my boss Elizabeth and I) talked YA books. Then, we found out that she had a book coming out. And before the night was over, I said to her, "I just started writing a YA novel. I mean, I don't know what it means. I love writing. I don't know what to do. What do I do?" She told me to get on twitter and get involved. And I did.
You don't realize how much a single conversation will change the course or your life until it does. I mean, if I'd never met Myra that day I would've never used twitter correctly. All of April is a blur of #yalitchat and blog reading and writing my novel. That's how it started for me. She pulled me into a world of encouragement and amazing people. I felt like I could do something for the first time in my life. It was a good feeling.
When the floods came to Nashville in May, Myra introduced me to Victoria and Amanda. I've said in various places that those three women really taught me a lot. And they did. Perseverance. Hope. Possibilities. The importance of putting yourself out there, of trying. I can't tell you how awesome and unexpected their entrance into my life was--and how needed. In a way, the flood washed away all the bad I had in my life...because by the end of it all, I was loaded up and leaving. It was quick and unexpected, but I'd never felt more assured of a decision in my life. Leaving Nashville was hard and easy in the same breath.
Leaving a place that you didn't love is an easy thing to do. Leaving a place full of people you did love is a hard thing to do. You see the purpose in a place over time. Since I've been in Boston, I've learned the purpose of the misery I allowed myself to live in Nashville.
I was in Tennessee so I could my internship. I was at my internship so I could go to South Africa. So I'd be inspired. I had an internship that made me work--so I could work at Borders--where I'd meet Elizabeth (my boss). She was the person who got me reading YA. So I could meet Myra, V and Amanda. So I could be on twitter. So I could be encouraged. So I could move to Boston and have a community before I even arrive. All of that so I could write.
It's all entwined. Each moment, each decision, each conversation. A year ago I started a journey. I'm sure a year from now I'll be on a new one. I don't know what that looks like but I'm sure that it will one I'll never forget.