For a good part of the summer, I’d spent every free moment on an application for the A Room of Her Own grant. I outlined all I’d done to make writing a priority and how I’d be willing to quit my job and accept the $50,000 grant as my only income for two years. I’d finally believed in myself enough to apply for the grant. I felt, deep in my being, that I would win the grant.
Shortly after I submitted my application, I received notification that they’d canceled the 2015 grant and that I could reapply in 2016. Which got me thinking: why couldn’t I create the opportunity for myself? Why couldn’t I free up time and space to write? I loved my friends and writing group and weekly wine nights and running dates. My dream is to be a full-time writer, though. To have the crazy deadlines and dedication I do during Nation Novel Writing Month. I want to live my passion.
So I applied for a job a few counties over. I didn’t tell anyone until I got the call to interview. Two weeks later, I’d rented out my house and my boyfriend and I moved from the rainy Northwest to the Columbia Gorge. We’ve battled snow, ice, a broken down 4wd we purchased for the weather off some sketchy guy on Craigslist. A skunk. A 45 minute commute. Nowhere to bake my beloved lava cake, as my ramekins are in a box somewhere in the abyss that is our storage shed. I tripped over a deer leg while running and then realized, after I tripped on another, that they were just leftovers from a hunter who’d taken the rest for meat and hide. This was actually of comfort. The BBQ flew out of our truck during a rain storm. We almost died during said rain storm. Twice. That’s not exaggerating. But we have some amazing people that have helped along the way, from near and far. I’m slowly making new friends and have found a few great places to run, once I’m in town to enjoy it (because mountain lion tracks alone scare me). Cell phone service is dismal, at best. Hopefully fingers crossed we close on a house this weekend and will live “in town” in this rural area. Where the coffee shops close at 8, there’s no sushi and everyone is so nice it’s surprising. Other than the coffee, I’m surviving.
Have I written as much as I’d planned in the three months I’ve been staying at a friend’s house? Not a chance. What I have written, though, has been an act of love. It’s not forced and I have the energy to do it. I’m immersed in a whole new way of life and, at times, a new dialect. It’s pure writer bliss. Especially when the fire is crackling, there’s a foot of snow covering the ground and it’s Saturday—no where to be, nothing to do. Granted, I loved my writing group and weekly wine sessions with some of the most amazing women I know. I so badly miss my yoga students. And the ability to go to a coffee shop at 3am if I have a story idea? I miss that.
My characters grow most when they’re out of their comfort zone, and I believe that I do, too. This hasn’t been the first time I’ve made a huge change in my life and I doubt it will be the last. I like the challenge and as stressful as the transition has been, it’s amazing to know that I’m getting through it and to know that I have people rooting for me. My lofty writing goal isn’t a novel this year, or to win a huge scholarship (although I’m still entering!!), but to just be authentic in my writing and in my life. Life is messy. And that’s okay.