The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye.
– Jimi Hendrix
How do we know when it’s time to say goodbye? I think about that a lot. One of my very best friends told me several weeks ago that she will be moving at the end of the month. Her house sold quickly and now they are packing. She will go to another state, where I won’t be able to reach her unless a long road trip or plane flight is involved. It’s devastating in some ways. I wasn’t prepared to say goodbye, but I will. Life demands endings, just as it demands new beginnings.
It’s scary to say goodbye, though. During my middle school graduation, I had a moment where I looked down at the grass of the recreation field and realized that I would never be in this same place in this same moment ever again. I would not have the same teachers or classes. Recess would be different. Chorus would be different. The feelings I felt would be different. My high school experiences would change – I would have to let go of life as I knew it.
To this day, I often think about how we all do something once and that experience can never be recreated exactly the same way again. I was an Emerging Artist Grantee during one of the most challenging times the United States has ever seen. I got to make a friend with my mentor without ever meeting her in-person. I got to slip deep into my grant project, a novel that I fell in love with after finishing. I can never have these exact same experiences again. And while in a lot of ways that is good – I don’t ever want to experience another pandemic – it is also sad to leave something behind, even if it was challenging.
This Emerging Artist program has been wonderful. I finished my project novel, The Harvest, about halfway through the grant period and then sent it on submission with my agent. She called me on Monday night to tell me that she loved it. That it is the best thing she has read of mine. “It’s all about the growth of the writer,” she told me, and I felt those words very deeply. This last year has been immensely trying, but I have also grown more through it than ever before. I have learned how to focus on myself instead of trying to control everybody around me. I have learned how to set boundaries with people who hurt me, how to push through hard times alone, and how to maintain my composure when it feels like everything is falling apart. These lessons are reflected in my writing.
We have all had hard lessons to learn this year.
With that being said, I know now is the right time to say goodbye. I am sad to end this wonderful program, but I am also grateful for all that I have gained from it. Thank you for reading, supporting, and making this program possible.
Until next time,