Sixteen months ago, I came across this advice for writer’s and posted it on this blog the day we moved from Georgia to Tennessee:
Don’t put down too many roots in terms of a domicile. I have lived in four countries and I think my life as a writer and our family’s life have been enriched by this. I think a writer has to experience new environments. There is that adage: No man can really succeed if he doesn’t move away from where he was born. I believe it is particularly true for the writer. -Arthur Hailey
I was born and raised in the South. For the first 23 years of my life, I lived in and around the same small town. It was wonderful. I knew everybody, and everybody knew me. Even when I went into the city, it was a rare person who didn’t know my dad or my grandmother or my aunts and uncles. (When I was in high school, it sort of stunk, because there was no way I would ever have been able to get away with skipping school…) I knew the people and the back roads and the way the weather worked… In my imagination and future plans, it was simply where I would always be.
Then I fell in love.
That changed things. This Southern girl was plucked up by her roots and plunked down in… Michigan. In a million years, I never saw that one coming. For the first year, I was miserable, with a capital M-I-S-E-R-A-B-L-E. Then my roots sunk in and I started to bloom. It ended up being an amazing experience. Then came North Carolina, Georgia, New York, North Carolina (again), New York (again), Georgia (again) and, finally, Tennessee. I’ve moved a lot over the past 15 years, and after the second one, it truly became an adventure. I have so loved seeing new places, meeting new people and running into old faces in new places. To be honest, looking back, I have had the time of my life. God knew what He was doing in every move, and all of these different places are a part of me now, making me someone I never would have been if I had stayed rooted in my hometown. There is a flavor to my writing that certainly would not be thereotherwise. This is why I love the Alex Hailey quote. It makes sense to me. I “get” it. Shoot, I’ve lived it!
Now, we are headed “home.” As you read this, all of our worldly possessions are in the back of a moving truck, and we are on the road… again… possibly for the last time (unless God does something crazy on me, which He has been known to do).
Part of me is so, so, so ready to sink my feet into familiar soil, to go where everybody knows our name, to provide a new stability for our daughter. But there is another part of me that will miss the excitement, the uncertainty, and the newness. It’s been a wild ride, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
I’m sure there will be more to say about this but, for today, we’re pointing our car toward home, toward family and friends we haven’t seen in a while, toward good BBQ and our favorite stretch of beach. If you think of it, say a prayer for us as we settle in and look for our “forever” home there. It’s the start of a whole new adventure!
P.S.–Word Wednesday will be back next week. Be ready for Matthew!