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 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.
A member of the Society of Authors and a mentor for The Girls Network, I live with my husband Paul in London, where I continue on my journey to support great causes such as Compassion UK, the Pre-marriage Course at Holy Trinity Brompton and to seek compatible opportunities to occupy the space I’m in and to find happiness in it too.
For more information on my journey Contact Me here.