Growing up, I was fortunate that my family lived in some interesting places. The first decade of my life placed our family briefly in Tulsa, Oklahoma (where I was born) and in Suriname – or Dutch Guiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Jamaica and Washington state.
They tell me that in a Chinese restaurant in Pittsburgh I excitedly ordered “pasghetti,” and my mother was quite certain that when I began studying foreign languages in middle school it was simply because I wanted to be able to talk with everyone, everywhere. My childhood scrapbook from Paramaribo, Suriname includes local food and restaurant mementos, and I have vivid recollections of time spent in the widely divergent edible produce trees in our yard in Kingston, Jamaica: lychee, banana, lime, (especially) mango, pepper and breadfruit, as a brief start.
The point is this: I realized recently that food and travel memories have always been part of my life. As is typically the case when I make a (shocking to me, obvious to others) discovery like this, I spent some time thinking about this and processed those thoughts by writing. Considering the journey from those early and exceptionally diverse food and culture experiences to the present resulted in a little diatribe about finally saying firmly to myself: “Self, you may be a writer.”
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have my contributions published over the past decade on topics ranging from my flounderings in parenting, business and sustainability to the delights of food, wine and travel. I’ve poured my heart out in essays about my little life, our home and our daughters and – shocking but true – I’ve held ten times as many words back as I used them to simply process things for myself.
And yet, it was only with the recent debut of a gorgeous (due to the stunning photography of Hatch & Maas Collective) spread and cover story in the November 2013 issue of Arkansas Life that I finally said, above a whisper and with some degree of certainty: I am a writer. I write things.
The article is available online at Arkansas Life, and the guys at Hatch & Maas Collective posted a gorgeous blog post about the experience as well.
More about this voyage over at The Little Magpie: On Writing.