Deciding to upend your life by quitting your job and moving to a new state can provide peace of mind or it can send you into a panic. My decision to leave a great job, working with great people, in order to spend a year writing a novel may turn out to be a disaster or it may pay off. Fear is a wonderful catalyst. I have always said I am going to write a novel; now is the time to do just that.
So I left a life, and a gazillion good friends, and moved from Wyoming to Arizona in late February, 2015. Life is still good, still different, still amazing.There are so many people I am thankful for – people who came into my life and are just flat-out good people. They understand why I had to leave Wyoming and get on with improving my health and following my dreams. Hey, I am 47. If not now, when? Oddly, I made a similar change 17 years ago by quitting my job on Friday, February 13, 1998. My last day on the job this year was Friday, February 13, 2015. Sometimes the coincidences just line up like the stars.
Anyway, so I live in Arizona now. Tucson to be precise. A couple of my good friends first invited me to Tucson in 1995, and I have happily been returning ever since. A few years back, my sister moved to Sierra Vista – just 80 miles away or so – and two years ago my mother moved here. So, it’s not like I’m alone. I have friends and family here, and I continue to make new friends as the days carry on. The weather has been phenomenal. I know the temps will be scorching this Summer, and shouldn’t we all be more than just a little concerned about the early high temperatures across the West? The desiccation in California is going to affect us all – we just don’t know how much just yet. When I made a recon trip to Tucson in mid-February to find an apartment and get set up, it was disheartening to see how dry and brown the landscape was all the way from Wyoming to Arizona (via Utah and Nevada), with very little snow to be seen except for a few dollops of white high up on the mountains in the Wasatch Mountains in UT. Scary.
I realize Mother Nature has thrown some moisture into the mix since then, but not enough if my opinion. Oh well, I moved to the desert, wouldn’t be polite to complain about a lack of water. Besides here’s a shot of my dashboard taken in Wyoming last December:
So, Tucson. What’s not to love about it? The Loop, a bike path project years in the making and still under construction, provides excellent outdoor activity. The Loft, a fantastic, local independent movie theatre, that shows all genres, shapes, and sizes of films is to die for. In my hometown, there would usually be one movie a month that was worth seeing, and the Academy Award nominated films would rarely arrive in our theaters until after the Oscar broadcast. Kinda late then guys. Here, at The Loft, they show all manner of documentaries, foreign films, independent films, you name it. For me, that’s heaven.
And ultimately, I’m closer to my immediate family. My sister and her family used to live in North Dakota – just a couple of hours away from my home in Wyoming. When my nephews were younger I used to see them all the time. When they moved to Arizona I naturally didn’t see them as much as I would have liked, but that has changed. In fact, I’ll be in attendance at several of their Little League games this Spring. Awesome!
I can see my nephews in person rather than through Skype.
When I left Gillette and moved to Tucson, I told myself to rest and recover during the month of March. I needed rest badly. I have a rare, slow-growing form of cancer that wears me out. The grind of my former job did nothing to alleviate that, and a month of rest is just what the Doctor ordered…without any Doctor actually ordering it. As I write this, it is Tuesday, March 31, 2015. My month of rest and recovery is over, and tomorrow I begin writing. Writing every day. I’ll work on screenplays, stories, poems, and yes, a novel. It is all well and great to say, “I want to write a novel,” but having something to say is just as important. There are several stories I want to tell. The hard part will just be sitting down and prioritizing which stories to tell first. I have freedom (YES!) but along with that I am self-employed now and must earn a living through my writing (SCARY!). A tricky proposition to say the least. Keeping structure in my day is of utmost importance. Writing every day is not a habit yet. Let me amend that statement: writing what I want to write about is not yet a habit. For the past six years I have written all manner of documents every day. Speeches, press releases, white papers, letters, social media posts, all of it. But that was for the City of Gillette, not for me. Now, I get to tell the stories I want to tell.
It’s my aim to post a new entry here every two weeks. That’s how I’ve scheduled it – we’ll see how it goes.
During my R&R month, I also checked off a couple of items on my bucket list. Here are some pictures:
Dante’s staircase into Carlsbad Caverns Note to morons: if you’re going to take a flash picture in a cave, make sure no one is walking towards you. Kinda wreaks havoc on the irises, if you know what I mean.
The Very Large Array or VLA for short, just west of Socorro, New Mexico.
And Sloan Park! Spring home of the Chicago Cubbies!
That’s it for this month. More later!