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Posts Tagged ‘small town life’

“Excuse me. Is your name Jessie Mae? Are you the author of those books?”

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My days of stammering and stuttering when I feel so flattered are apparently behind me, because, even with a giant case of jet-lag and a time-crunch that would usually have debilitated my mind, I managed to have a decent conversation with the stranger/fellow author at my nephew’s kindergarten graduation. I loved walking into my old school to be greeted by a giant hug from Younger Nephew (who apparently missed me), a warm reception from a dear friend (whom I had missed), and a vibrant narration of the school year’s events by Elder Nephew (during the graduation slideshow).

 

This is home. And if I’ve learned anything on my trip, it’s that I belong here. Taking a step back, I have seen the impact I have here in my small town life and the impact the people in my small town life have on me. And I’m truly grateful.

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The people I met and the experiences I had overseas are as vast as they are significant. My toes were dipped in the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, and the Red Sea. They reached the top of the Eiffel Tower, climbed the Arc de Triomphe, tread wIMG_4487here Moses tread on Mount Nebo, strolled through Notre Dame, and walked almost every inch of Paris. My taste-buds experienced Syrian food, French french fries, and Turkish coffee, while my mind interacted with people of all kinds in all places and my eyes saw the Mona Lisa and Monet’s Water Lilies and Venus de Milo. And as for my body, it has been trapped on a Metro, trapped in an elevator, trapped on an airplane, and trapped on a camel heading for a swim–just to name the tame parts of my trip.

 

All of these experiences will become a part of me. But so will the experiences of home. People have already started asking me what my next adventure will be. And my answer? Life. Just regular old life. For perhaps the first time, I’ll turn my eyes of wonder onto the world that’s nearby and see everyday as an adventure. For a girl who has never done things traditionally in her life, I think that ordinary life has some pretty big surprises in it for me to uncover.

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We sold more books through our website today than we usually do in rounding up accounts with bookstores. And it feels good. To have money to put into the bank and the hope of recovering costs for Mark of Orion. To have the draft for the next book complete. To live the dream with late-night writing sessions at my local Starbucks and with complete autonomy in what gets published and when.

It feels even better as I read popular young adult fiction. There I discover that my standards for family friendly reading are probably seen as prehistoric confines that we, as a refined society, should shed. Only I won’t be shedding my standards any time soon. And with every story I publish I hope that others will join me in reclaiming their own.

And yet there is the growing, gnawing sense of discomfort with my present reality. It tells me that this section of my life may soon be at its close. It scares me.

Don’t worry, I won’t bid farewell to writing. You can expect to see the completion of The Orion Records before I decide what my writing career will look like as an adult. For now, I cherish the young person’s freedom to keep writing and publishing stories that people love and are influenced by, regardless of a professional publisher’s interest or whims. For now I breathe in my small town life, grateful for extra sunshine and quiet moments to rest. But change… change is coming.

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