oh, timing. sometimes one has both a relatively significant life change to announce and a pre-jury-duty photo of the williamsburg bridge in the foreground of a dawn-drenched simmering hellscape to share; which of those things should one hold back to avoid cheesy new-beginning imagery? i'm no good at holding things back.
after a decade of highs, lows, hot husbands, and listicles, the ladymag and i have parted ways. it wasn't entirely a surprise; given what's happened across the industry over the last several years, everyone still in print knows that they're in for a wild ride. i've gone to work with my heart in my mouth since 2008, when my magazine faced its first big round of layoffs, and my first feeling when it happened to me—my department was consolidated with several others, and my editorial position was eliminated—was relief; when the worst thing finally arrives, you don't have to be afraid. you just become the next version of yourself, right?
i loved my ten years editing a women's magazine; i wasn't paid very well, but my colleagues were kind and the work was deliciously weird. the way my workload waxed and waned over the course of each month left me plenty of time to do my own writing, and every year or so i'd resolve to get back into it. i never did, exactly, but i would.
two days after my layoff i was in california with family. let's all raise a glass to dumb luck in vacation planning! my sister and brother-in-law are artists—he's been doing his thing for several years now, and she went full-time freelance a year ago—and we've had dozens of conversations over the years about stability and passion, the man versus the muse, all the fun holiday chats. she had champagne and sparklers waiting for us when we got to their place in los angeles, and she and i finally started using hard numbers as we talked about work. you sound more like you when you talk about writing, she said; you sound more like you, now.
my other first feeling was that i need to write for a living; i need to stop pretending that that isn't what i've wanted all along. it feels a lot like nausea, but it's motion sickness.