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Monday, February 13, 2012

I Can Do This (Repeat)

This post is my entry into the Origins Blogfest, sponsored by Alex J. Cavanaugh,   DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude, and Katie Mills aka Creepy Query Girl and Matthew MacNish at The QQQE. 

The timing is perfect.  This month I celebrated my third anniversary as a blogger.  If you've been a Middle Passages reader from the beginning...you know the "inciting incident" that jolted my blog and the writing me, to life.  If you don't, then the post below, born from the shock stemming from events that occurred less than 24 hours earlier will explain.  The goal of the Origins blogfest  is to share where our writing dreams began. It could be anything from how we started making up stories as a child, or wrote for the school newspaper, or even what prompted us to start a blog. I'll say the following, which first ran February 5, 2009, fits the bill.

I Can Do This

Here it is-- my first morning as a member of the vast multitude of the unwashed and unemployed of 2009. OK, I exaggerate; I’m washed, but walking around in twice worn blue jeans. After 23 years with the same employer, close to half of my life, yesterday was the proverbial day of reckoning. No need to bore with the details. Suffice to say, this morning I find myself with a bit of time on my hands.

To no surprise, sleep didn’t come last night, but it wasn’t so much the shock of unemployment that had me tossing from side to side, pulling the blankets up and then kicking them off. The restlessness came from one merry-go-round question that circled endlessly through my brain. What will I do now?

As a Senior Recruitment Manager for a billion dollar retailer, there were parts of my job that I liked. Mentoring my staff, pulling at the hanging threads of complex problems and weaving together solutions, training people, interviewing eager candidates, the relationships developed over years of interaction. But to be honest the true value of my job over the last several years was that it enabled me to enjoy the rest of my life. The salary was necessary, and helpful. I worked six miles from home, could get to my now teenage daughter in less than 15 minutes and they let me. For the most part, other than the last six months or so, I left the work behind on nights and weekends. Deep inside, I knew that there was more in life I could do and there was more I could be, but the ease of the routine of my career enabled me to keep that thought on the back burner. Today though, the pot is slowly heating.

So with some sense of relief, here is where I start my reconstruction, and I have a niggling of a place to begin. For the last year, I have been an avid reader and commenter on a blog of a New York based writer with whom I am acquainted. We have known each other for several years and she has persuaded me in no small way to exploit the contents of that pan resting on the stove. As an English major with a wealth of journalism courses under my belt, I worked that interest into my job, writing memos, training documents, and advertising collateral for the field--but it wasn’t until my acquaintance with the NYC writer developed, and she pointed out that that my writing is a passion, that I began to pursue it more formally. My work friends humored my interest, passing memos by me and joking at my level of editorial detail. However, few of them know of the whopping two essays I’ve had published in the last few years, and none of them know about the black notebook on my bedroom floor filled with final drafts and copious rejection letters.

Truth be told, our family needs a lot more income than my erstwhile writing career will ever earn. So I will go to the outplacement meetings scheduled for me, I’ll rewrite my resume. I’ll do my best in this appalling economy to find a job that supplies an income that will help support a child going to college in two years. But while I am doing that, I will also do this. I’ll document my experiences as a middle aged and unexpectedly unemployed woman. Writing about my reinvention and job search will give purpose to my days, and perhaps direction in my career. Better yet, maybe I’ll be of some help to someone in similar circumstances. God knows I’m not alone, and among other things; this blog is a way to reach out to those who are in this pickle with me.

Last night, as I shifted from side to side under the down comforter, hugging the teddy bear my daughter had sympathetically placed beside me, while agonizing over insurance and 401K’s, I had a moment of peace. I pictured the blog that I read each day, and reflected on my joy in crafting my responses. When I recognized how absorbed I have become in analyzing each word, scrutinizing every sentence, pouring over key phrases to find just the right flow before clicking send, I realized, I can do this. I have something to say too.

23 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Thank you for sharing your amazing life journey so far! I think you can face this economic climate head on with the power and strength and passion of your words! Take care and good luck and all the best! x

Creepy Query Girl said...

It's amazing how much peace writing and creating challenges for ourselves can create in today's hectic way of life. Thank you so much for sharing your story! You CAN do it!

jabblog said...

Not only can you do it, you ARE doing it - and very well. Keep on blogging:-)

jabblog said...

That should have read 'Keep on writing.'

Colette Martin said...

Wow, I missed this the first time you wrote it, but I can completely relate. What a great start to your writing career.

Sean McLachlan said...

Nice way to change disaster into opportunity. And you can make a decent living as a writer, it just takes time to build up. I had to gradually wean myself off of day jobs for six years before I became a fulltime writer.

Anne Gallagher said...

And look what's happened since.
A whole different career, a daughter in college, and a whole first draft under your belt. I'd say you've come a long way baby.

Oh, and you have all of us now too. How much more could you ask for? lol

glnroz said...

goodness, it doesnt seem like three years....yes, you have led us on a very entertaining journey with your writings since that time...thanks glenn

Jenny Maloney said...

You do indeed have something to say...and I think you just said it very well.

(And all I can say about the teddy bear: awww!)

Patti said...

It's amazing what happens when life throws us a curve ball. Thanks for sharing your story.

Tonja said...

It shows a lot of strength to start over.

Jan Morrison said...

Oh this is so great to read! Thanks so much, you've alluded to much of it but I missed this first piece. Yay! You did it...
(from deep within the snowy cave of my five-day writing retreat where I'm ever so slowly losing or finding my mind)

Sarah said...

What an emotionally powerful story. Thank you so much for sharing this origin story, as a snapshot of how it was for you at the very beginning.

mshatch said...

Loved this Liza! And you ARE doing it :)

farawayeyes said...

Reinvention my favorite adventure. Nice to meet you. I'll be back.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Liza! Trust in yourself. It will be all right.

Wine and Words said...

Yes you do, and you say it well. Such a power phrase. I CAN DO THIS. Go get 'em Liza.

Carol Kilgore said...

When the door closed, writing was your open window. You ARE doing this!

DL Hammons said...

I love how writing can sometimes be the crutch we need to get through difficult times. Kudo's to you for making it this far and achieving what you have! Such an inspiring ORIGIN story! :)

Lynda R Young said...

Ha, this is a great way to show your origins. And happy 3rd blogiversary.

Lydia Kang said...

Yes, you do have something worthwhile to say, and I'm so glad you followed that instinct!

Helen Ginger said...

Keep writing. Don't give up on the dream. I'm glad you didn't. Maybe others will read this and follow your lead.

nutschell said...

wow. what a poignant origins story. thanks for sharing it with us. I'm glad you decided to include writing as part of your reinvention.
Great to meet you on this blogfest.

your newest follower,
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com