Monday, September 23, 2013

I am a writer, I said.

the writer

Not long ago, I was at a dinner party at my friends' home when someone I had just met asked me what I did. I don't normally get this question because I am often in the company of people who already know me, therefore, know my story. And I have had the same job for almost thirteen years. Since I peered at a photograph of a tiny girl far away in South Korea many years ago, I have been a mother. A job I was more than thrilled to have, and luckily, it is a lifetime gig.
Prior to the coveted mother job, I was an office manager, a Medicare customer service person ( a tiny slice of hell), a temp at Microsoft, a salesperson in designer clothing, a secretary to an attorney, a guest artist, a cooking store employee, an assistant to a chef, a cooking school owner, and then a mother to two children that my husband and I adopted from Korea over the course of three years.
When our kids were in grade school, I started writing a fashion and lifestyle blog with the encouragement of my friend, Alicia Burmester, who liked my style and encouraged me to give blogging a try. And then I was hooked. I had nine whole followers, my mother included, but I didn't care. I loved it. I posted my musings on Facebook where I got enough feedback and chatter to know that I was doing ok. And the more I wrote, the better I got. It didn't matter if I had nine followers or 9000, I was happy to keep on writing.
I come from a family of writers, articulate speakers, amusing storytellers, and all around talented, smart, amazing people. My paternal grandfather Tom Astle, was the Editor of The Billings Gazette. My brother, Tom Astle, graduated in film and television from Northwestern and is a successful television and movie writer. All of my siblings, aunts, uncles, and other various family characters are among the smartest and wittiest people I have ever met.
Last spring Sarah Caples, who is the mother of one of my daughter's friends, and I started talking. She asked me what I did. I told her about my blog and she told me about her online magazine. A couple months later, she offered me the job of being a fashion writer for Vanguard Seattle, an online Seattle arts, music, culture and fashion magazine she had begun the previous year. I started writing a weekly column and since then I literally cannot wait to get to the computer each day to write. And sure, I get worried sometimes that my voice isn't valid. I am not some twentysomething living in NYC and getting media attention and book deals. But I know that doesn't matter in the end. What does matter is that I love it and it only took 50 years to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. So that's worth something, right?
Back to the dinner party. "What do you do?", one of the guests asked me.
"I am a writer", I said.

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