2003: I started this blog. I did not have a clue about blogging or why I was doing it, I just wanted a place to write. I posted sporadically, mostly about current events, or journalism –I was working as a newspaper editor at the time. I took the GRE and began researching grad schools – I had wanted to earn a degree in creative writing for a long time, and I felt that if I didn’t do it soon, I’d never do it.
2004: I quit my job as a newspaper editor, got married, and began grad school in Boston. Big year, huh? My husband remained in San Francisco when I started school (two weeks after our wedding!) and we flew back and forth a lot. I felt uprooted much of the time.
2005: More split life between Boston and San Francisco, more working on the MFA in nonfiction writing. I began working at a national literary magazine, and I did a brief stint as an intern at a literary agency. I wrote a lot.
2006: I moved back to San Francisco in the spring, after finishing all my MFA coursework. I missed Boston. I continued working on my MFA thesis from the West Coast for the next six months. I flew back to Boston periodically to check in with my advisor. My thesis was a travel memoir about a year spent teaching English in Bundang, South Korea. I had wanted to write that memoir for a long time (ten years!). By the end of 2006 I was awarded my degree. I have mixed feelings about the MFA experience…mostly it was positive, but the whole thing continues to seem nebulous and hard to parse.
2007: I adopted a dog. I stopped freelancing and went back to work full time as a reporter. Thereafter followed five months of angst over when I’d find time to write and lot of work stress, with some humorous incidents mixed in. You know, your usual “can’t put on my own boots” and “locked out of my house with only kimchee to sustain me” and “can’t get my own boots off” stories. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and quit my job to return to freelancing and my own writing goals. I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month to celebrate. Two weeks after quitting my job and beginning NaNoWriMo, a bad case of tendonitis in my arm forced me to take a break from the computer.
2008: Still struggling with pain in my arm and all manner of treatments (physical therapy, medication, acupuncture) I had to stop writing for a while. I stopped blogging here in May 2008. I meant for the writing break to last a month or two, but it ended up lasting for a lot, lot longer. Late in the year, you see, I had a baby boy.
2009: Things turned quite domestic around here. I began emerging from the fog of sleep deprivation and new motherhood. And well, the fog. (I do live in San Francisco, after all.) I began writing again (pain free!), mostly working on essays and short stories. I started blogging again here in July 2009, and was reminded of the motivation that I used to get from blogging, from reading other writers’ blogs, and from thinking about writing on a regular basis. I had missed that a lot. I began my Alphabet: A History project, which turned out to be a great writing exercise.
2010: A year in which I was sick. A lot. Toddler germs and sleep deprivation laid everyone in my house low for weeks at a time. I considered how to turn “mired” into “reinspired.” I revised an old essay and tried to get at the truth. I tried very hard to stay in the room. I had my first short story published! I visited Denver, and Chicago, and the East Coast. I had a fabulous, inspiring time at the Napa Valley Writer’s Conference. I considered the art of revision. I read a LOT, and discovered some new favorite books.
2011: I attended the AWP conference in Washington, DC. I became obsessed with linked stories. I got serious about submitting. I grieved for friends in Japan. I went back to work at the newspaper for six months. I visited 5 states in 4 weeks. The working, the toddler and various bouts of sickness completely derailed my writing and blogging routine by the end of the year. Sigh.
2012: So far, a fabulous year! I found out a story of mine will be published later in the year. And a story of mine was shortlisted for the Fish Publishing Short Story Prize. I took a life-altering trip to the Galapagos Islands.