My Writing Journey, so far.

May 13, 2024

My writing journey is only beginning. My writing journey started in 2018, eight years after my wife of 28 years, Cheryl, unexpectedly died of a massive stroke. The intervening years were rough, to say the least. I spent a lot of time during the first year just sitting and contemplating in the Sonoran Desert. We had left the Seattle, Washington area in 2006 and relocated to the much warmer climes of Tucson, Arizona. During those times of introspection in the desert, I learned a lot about myself but I still suffered from her loss. Eventually, I decided I needed a complete, 100% change in my life.

In 2013, I left Tucson, not to return to life in Seattle, but to start from scratch in Colombia. My two sons were split on my decision-one thought it was a great idea, and the other, well, didn't like the idea at all. I decided to work as an English teacher in Barranquilla, Colombia, on the Caribbean coast. Barranquilla is not a tropical paradise city, it's a light- and medium-industrial city with nothing to attract tourists. It doesn't even have a nice beach, but what attracted me at the time was its lack of native English-speaking teachers.

In 2018, I started writing out my feelings and thoughts about my late wife and what happened in the intervening years. As I wrote and rewrote countless times I found myself coming to grips with her death in a way I hadn't before. I finally felt like there was a way to move on, forward, past those feelings of loss, not that they will ever go away completely, and I hope they don't. But the grieving was finally coming to an end as I wrote about her death and my lousy way of dealing with it.

I continued teaching English and was doing well until the pandemic and quarantine hit in early 2020. The English classes came to an end and my students didn't want virtual classes, business people prefer in-person lessons in their homes. I decided it was time for early retirement.

As I came to grips with Cheryl's loss and my grieving was coming to an end, my writing changed. My writing took a drastic turn and lengthened to include my new life in Colombia, and as the months went by, it became a novel. It's not biographical but it does include about 25-30% of the scenes that are either completely real or slightly exaggerated experiences that I lived. The novel has not yet been published, even after eight rewrites/drafts and three different professional edits. I expect to have the cover art done soon and self-publish shortly thereafter.

Between writing those drafts I started writing short stories and doing various writing exercises. I read countless blogs and websites about writing and figuring it out as I went along this new journey. I also started submitting some of my short stories to anthologies, online magazines, and websites. As of today, I have had sixteen published online and in print by fifteen different short-story publishers.

In November 2022, I started a backpacking journey from Colombia south to Uruguay, then back again to Colombia. I arrived in Colombia in September 2023, then left again, for another journey south in February 2024. During this period I did no writing, but I continued to submit short stories occasionally. In April 2024, I decided to settle in Arequipa, Perú, and I have acquired just about everything I need including an apartment. Now I am settled I can get back to work on writing my next book. I have two novels in the works, both about a quarter written. I look forward to getting back to those so I can find out how they end.

That's my writing journey so far. Maybe a bit unconventional, but it's happening, bit by bit, one story at a time, one book after another.