This past week has been a series of miracles for me in my writing life. I literally opened my email box every single day to read that pieces of mine had been accepted. In fact, every single thing I have ever submitted was accepted. I almost became hysterical Friday evening when driving home from work on the freeway: the impact of all this good news was overwhelming. I had to pull over at a gas station and wait until the haze in my mind cleared. I am still finding it difficult to concentrate!
I am not sure why my stories were accepted. I can only say that they were liked by whomever made the final decision, and for that I am grateful.
I have been without words to describe how all of this feels. To have gone from never sharing a sentence with a soul eight months ago to beginning to identify myself as a writer publicly..to this..it's almost too much to take in.
But I have been very encouraged by this past week to widen my writing scope. I have been blessed to have conversations with both writers and editors in several genres, and because of these illuminating conversations I have decided to begin to write fiction.
I will still write stories that are creative non fiction, just like the ones you've been reading here (and beginning soon, in other places!). Tales of place are my strong love, especially when intertwined with memoir--but I think you will find place has an equal importance in my future fiction. (And of course, I will still be writing travel stories for this website and for submission elsewhere.)
My two current book projects are travelogue/memoirs: the first, a tale of regret and renewal (as well as a bit of a nervous breakdown!) while living with an indigenous tribe in Panama. The second, a love story about falling in love with a boy in Calcutta while working with the sisters of Mother Teresa. You'll find a "Books" page on the website this week which will tell you about the upcoming books!
But at the same time, I will be trying my hand at short fiction stories and outlining a larger fiction book project which I have been thinking about for awhile. It will dance through some of the exotic locales I have lived in and so those of you who have enjoyed my adventures will find plenty!
Here on the website you will continue to find stories about real places and people, and sprinkled here and there you will begin to find fiction short stories as well.
The past eight months have been very difficult for me, despite the praise and the chances to publish my work. Sometimes the harshness of adhering to a disciplined writing life and the devotion that it has required has meant great loneliness and rapid change. Yet at the same time, the stories I have been writing have nurtured me and cared for me as no person could.
When I began to call myself a writer, I knew that my life would be different. But I didn't know any other writers and I had no one to ask what I should expect. Perhaps this was a good thing, for it made each writer I have met recently a fascinating creature, both weather beaten and full of glory. A few writers were brave enough to tell me that my life was about to crumble, but that it would rise up again. They were right: it completely fell apart. But it then immediately grew into a green valley, a city, a metropolis, until my life was so large that now I find myself forever lost in it. It's not unpleasant. It's just vast.
I used to fit writing into tiny spaces, moments. Now I think about it all the time, and I rush home each day to meet my words with kisses. This is a love affair of the truest kind, one that has taught me more about self love and reflection than I could have imagined.
I took a lot of risks in the last eight months. This past week has shown me that I need to continue to make them. I thank all the people who have helped me thus far. I hope if I keep working very hard, the future will continue to be bright.
Amy Gigi Alexander
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