My journey has always been about occupying the space I’m in, making the most of it, and of course, finding happiness in it.
Often, I’m asked whether I miss life in the US or not, or the more personal question that comes up all too often nowadays is, do I regret not having children? Even though each question has its own unique answer, they share a common denominator: there’s no point in pining for what isn’t and might never be. This is too practical and unromantic for some, but works a treat for me. And whether experiencing the blessings or battles, so to speak, of being an expat and child-free, I stay grounded by endeavouring to occupy the space I’m in.
As a younger woman working and living in New York, I had not fully understood this notion, but even when I longed for the rich, red clay of Georgia – and all too often I did – I tried to enjoy New York, and find the opportunities there. And I’m so glad I did.
It was only when I wrote my first novel, The Barrenness, published in 2011, that I came to terms with the importance of the power of now. Of course, now runs its course as it did with each of my life-shaping experiences, such as:
- Working as a cub newspaper reporter at The Albany Herald, USA, where I wrote a ‘Dear Abby …’ piece, and later freelancing for The Guardian, here in the UK, and for many other papers and magazines in between.
- Enjoying roles in the service sector as a communicator with the Flint River Girl Scout Council, Girl Scouts of the USA, the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI). Via HFHI, I worked directly with young people and travelled the world, eventually settling in London.
- Setting up and running SDL Communications to assist charities and housing associations to communicate more effectively.
- Writing two novels, The Barrenness and The Blindsided Prophet and a collection of short stories, The Seasons. Link
- Contributing to the Huffington Post and writing my own blog on my website.
- And setting up my current podcast series, UIO: You Inside Out.
And then there are the life-shaping experiences that underpin the space one is in, such as education. I received my BA in English/Journalism from Valdosta State University, Georgia, and in 1999, my MA from the University of Westminster, London. Proudly, I have also completed advanced fiction-writing courses with the Arvon Foundation and Centerprise Literature in the UK, and the Hurston Wright Foundation in the US.
Now a member of the Society of Authors, I live with my husband Paul in London, where I continue on my journey, seeking opportunities to not only occupy the space I’m in, but to find happiness in it too.
For more information on my journey Contact Me here.