It’s appropriate that I start this blog at the same time warmer weather finally arrives, bringing with it a much-needed sense of newness and life. After the longest, coldest, and most miserable winter I’ve ever experienced, I feel like everything is starting over, in a very good way!
When I flip back through pictures of my first few months in Seoul, the memories feel just as long ago as my time in Brazil, or even Texas. Freezing temperatures, pneumonia, and general blah-ness pretty much sums up what followed autumn in Korea. But now things are changing, both in this country and in my personal life. The sun makes it possible to venture outside without wrapping up like an eskimo. My right lung is still expanding, slowly but surely; I can walk up hills without gasping for breath.
What was an unfortunate turn of events with my job has now given me the wonderful opportunity to seriously focus on music and writing. I’ve spent more time in the past month with my pan than I did the entire time I lived in Salvador, and the practice is really changing how I think as a musician. The two groups I’ve been playing with are so different from one another, and both really give me the chance to work the steel drum into genres of music it isn’t typically used in. Pan can be so much more than soca and calypso, and it’s really fun to try and fit into other styles. Plus I’m exploring the instrument in a way I never have before.
The advantage to being bed-ridden for half the winter, of course, was the fact that I was forced to write. I’d finished the first draft of my novel just before checking into the hospital in December, and by the end of March I completed all of the major revisions and sent out a few queries. Right now the book is in the hands of several beta-readers who are giving me some great feedback, so with a little more polish I’ll be ready to really start querying agents again. I know the road to publication is long and at times ridiculously complicated, but I’m excited about the entire process- I was actually happy to get my first rejection letter, because I felt more like a real novelist!
I also stumbled onto a fantastic writing opportunity that I might have missed if my winter situation had been different. I started a blog at MatadorTravel.com, responded to a post on the travel writing forum there, and within a week started working as the intern editorial assistant for MatadorGoods.com! Breaking into freelance writing is especially difficult right now due to the recession- same with publishing a novel, actually. With people losing their jobs left and right, it’s natural for some to think “I’ll just sell *insert fabulous story idea here* and make millions!” Getting published, be it a novel, article, short story, or anything else, has actually never been harder. The influx of would-be writers, combined with the already suffering publishing industry, makes it difficult to get a big toe in the door, much less a foot. So I’m really grateful for this internship at Matador Goods. The editor, the fabulous Lola Akinmade, has been so gracious and helpful to work with. Check out her website- she’s a really amazing person!
So bring on the heat, mosquitos, iced lattes, havaianas, all of it- I’m ready for a change in seasons!