If you’re still awake, here’s the last part of the FEAR trilogy…
A BIG birthday was coming up and I was determined to wake up in an exotic location on the big day. So I chose Goa in India. Before jumping on a plane to India, I’d noticed the rumours circulating at work of voluntary redundancies. By the time I returned from India, these rumours were now fact.
Voluntary redundancy would be offered to some members of staff.
Would I qualify? And if I did, could I take the leap of faith and just leave?
When it’s your time, everything begins to happen.
I was accepted.
I was out within four weeks.
That last day at a job I had enjoyed for thirteen years was filled with joy, so much joy. I had craved this moment for so long having fantasised and re written the scenario in my mind on numerous occasions. Now it was a reality. The adrenaline would sometimes subside, temporarily replaced with that feeling of ‘Oh my gosh, what have I done?’ Fear battling to break into the fortress of certainty. But mostly, it felt ‘right’ and I could not wait for the next part of this adventure called life, to begin.
The only question on my lips; ‘Where to, now?’
For me, there would only ever been a choice between two US cities. One of these was New York, the home of many a writer at some point in their career; from Maya Angelou to James Baldwin to Langston Hughes. So clearly, this was an obvious fantasy fuelled, first choice. However, being a Londoner for most of my life meant having tired of the hustle of a fast paced city life. Therefore, Atlanta offered the bright lights, a small town feel and a lower cost of living. Then there’s the weather. I’d heard about the sunshine appearing well into autumn plus its close proximity to Florida couldn’t hurt! Besides, I had already fallen in love with Atlanta way back in 2005, during which my heart and mind had already fixated on the certainty; ‘I’m gonna live here one day!’ I hadn’t even signed my first publishing deal then, but such was my self belief (a must for anyone embarking on becoming an author) I believed it would only be a matter of time.
People often ask; ‘Why America?’
The vastness of the country for one. I have been blessed to have previously traveled to various parts of America and was always amazed at the beauty and differences making up each state. Snow in Colorado, sunshine in Florida. It is not a country without serious and catastrophic faults. The effects of slavery, systematic racism and military occupation abroad has dimmed my glamorous childlike belief systems regarding America. And I am under no such childlike illusions. But, as I allowed myself to exclude the equations of politics, just for one moment – I experienced two things; beauty and peace. Whenever I truly allowed my eyes to drink in my surroundings, whether this be the Blue Ridge mountains of Georgia or an ancient African tribal dance practiced in New Orleans in remembrance of former slaves, I experienced something quite beautiful. When I truly allowed myself the opportunity to immerse myself in what I had been lacking in my former life, I found myself in a learning experience unable to be gleaned from books or Wikipedia.
As a result, my creativity has soared.
Apart from a brief period when my writing mojo decided to take a hike, my output is plentiful. Buoyed up by the sunshine, exotic birds and the urgency to write in a way I had always dreamed of – uninterrupted.
For now, I remain satisfied with my choice to stay put in Atlanta. I am in love with that ‘southern hospitality’ you hear so much about. It’s real. The mere act of a stranger singing ‘good morning’ as I casually walk on by, is enough to warm my heart for the rest of the day and indeed, strengthen my need to stay. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to waking up some mornings cloaked in panic – but this is normal. Fear will always have a way of trying to halt your dreams. I acknowledge this, and move on (until the next bout).
I will not let fear win!
I can’t deny the gratefulness I feel when I wake up and the sun creeps through my window, running through every pore. A fresh scene involving my characters, percolating in my head ready to be tapped onto the keyboard and onto the screen. The joy is indescribable. Being a self confessed loner and extrovert works well for me. I write alone during the day and try to meet up with fellow writers and other ‘go it alone’ humans in the evenings.
Any regrets? No. I am hopeful and prayerful that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and things can only get better. I once heard the saying; faith is like climbing an invisible staircase. It is, and I’m enjoying each and every step!
So fast forward to January 2017… to now… what’s happened?
I can honestly say I achieved my main goal and wrote about three novels in the process – one of which is Orphan Sisters and it’s out September 2017. EEK!
More on that later…