Sunday, May 25, 2008

Keys to . . . the Future

by Nina Wright

I’m ready to go. Again.

Last week I flew to the Lone Star State. This week my destination is the Sunshine State.

Sound like fun? Not entirely. This is all business travel, all the time. Of course I promote my books wherever I go; however, my reason for traveling is pure survival: I need a new day job, so in order to get one, I’m going where the jobs are.

Where the jobs aren’t is here in my corner of Ohio. Sadly, we have the foreclosures to prove it. My lovely oak-lined street has become a depressing place to take an evening stroll because so many homes are now abandoned. This is what you’d call a “nice neighborhood”—situated near a large park and a major university. Unfortunately, people can’t afford to live here because they can’t find jobs here anymore. We're hearing the old joke way too often: "Will the last person to leave please turn out the lights?"

The up side of my situation is that I’m going to have a new series of adventures, probably in a part of the country where I’ve never lived before. And I'm sure it will inspire me to write something completely different because that's what happens every time I move.

The down side is that I have to move. Again. But after moving four times in the past five years, I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I’m ruthless when it comes to deciding what I can live without, a practice that has made me bolder at cutting the flab from my fiction.

Although I'm starting this adventure alone, my fiancĂ© plans to join me. He has a house to sell, and he needs a new job, too. We didn't foresee the problems that make this move necessary; they've complicated our lives. Nonetheless, he's proud of me for being resilient, and I'm proud of him for being adaptable. Many of our friends haven’t changed jobs or homes in twenty years or more. They can’t imagine psyching themselves for interviews and new careers in faraway places.

This much I know: even when you don’t think you have choices, you always have choices. For starters, you choose how to look at every moment of your life. And you focus on the fact that things get better. They do, they do.

Plus, it's all grist for fiction.

Tomorrow I’ll be in the air before the sun comes up. Even if the power goes out as I’m leaving my apartment—which happened last week—I’ll be able to get my automatic garage door open and my car out; I’ve learned how to handle that small emergency. Even if I lose my keys in the parking lot of one airport and don’t discover they’re gone until many hours and miles later when I’m in another airport—which also happened last week—I won’t worry. People find keys, and they turn them in.

Even if nobody found my missing keys, I would have keys again.

Please tell us about your "keys"--your survival strategies, recoveries, or contingency plans. We all got 'em, or we don't get far. My father taught me that lesson long ago. It's still working for him, I might add: today he turns 96!

Happy birthday, Dad, and happy travels, everybody!


Anonymous said...

Regular, full-time, soul-killing office job to pay the bills. I write in my free time. My own time.

So I guess you can't live frugally off of the vast royalties from your novels?

In your job searching, do you tell prospective employers about your fiction writing? I would think I would not. I've had too many employers who think it is their right to tell employees how to conduct their personal lives. I couldn't imagine a mere office boss telling me that one of my plots is no good or such.

Keith Raffel said...

SO what do you have in your future? A new husband, a new home, a new series. Sounds exciting!

Jessica Lourey said...

You are a true adventurer, aren't you, Nina? I am sorry for the discomfort all change initially brings and jealous of the new experiences you're about to have. I look forward to seeing them in your writing!

Felicia Donovan said...

Nina, embrace every moment as a new beginning. Accept what is, forget the past and relish in the moment at hand. As Keith said, you have so many positive things in your future. I hope they all turn out to be wonderful adventures.

Happy 96th Birthday to your Dad who surely has many wisdom "keys."