If you’re following this blog, I hope you don’t mind that every once in a while, I like to post what I’m working on in this exciting, new freelance writing career of mine. Last summer, I left a long-term job as an arts curator and marketer to venture into this scary and fickle world. It was a leap of faith and so, I can’t help it – I get giddy to see it bearing fruit.
I’m guessing that every writer likes seeing a piece published, but it’s extra special, at least for me, when it’s about a place or subject that sends me head over heels.
Recently I saw two of those pieces go out into the world.
First, for Birmingham magazine, I wrote a story about taking my mom camping for the very first time. In her life. Sure, it was car camping, but it was still a new experience for her and she handled it beautifully. If you’ve never been to Grayton Beach State Park on the Florida Gulf Coast, hopefully this will give you a feel for it and remind you die-hard campers of the first magical camping experience.
Camping on Grayton Beach: Mild winter and access to amenities make for an easy getaway
Tent. Sleeping bag. Air mattress. Pillow. Headlamp. Camp chair. Coffee …
We must have gone through the essentials a half dozen times. When car camping, the list can get burly fast, but since this was my mother’s first-ever camping trip, we wanted to be sure she came prepared. Keep reading…
Next, in the first of a series of Weekend Layover pieces for Paste magazine’s new travel section, I wrote about one of my new favorite places in the world: Ojai, CA. I had the pleasure of spending a week in Ojai in November and was impressed and inspired by the beautiful landscape and creative people. Standing on Meditation Mount and looking out over the valley, I was reminded of the Tuscan countryside I love so dearly.
Ojai is a crazy expensive place to live, out of reach for many of us – especially a freelance writer. But, it sure is a great place to visit and replenish. If you haven’t been, add it to the list. It’s an easy trip from Los Angeles or Santa Barbara (and a wildly beautiful coastal drive.)
Weekend Layover: Ojai, California
Walking through Ojai, a mission-style town 90 miles northwest of Los Angeles, you quickly understand why “the Village,” as locals call it, has long been a magnet for those seeking escape, restoration and natural beauty. You’re snuggled by magic and surrounded by mountains, hills and protected forests. “There’s something about Ojai that makes me feel centered and restored,” says yoga teacher and new resident Andrea Brook. Keep reading…
There’s more to come over the next few weeks including a few more stories for Paste, al.com, and Birmingham magazine. Next up, a preview of a play happening next weekend in Birmingham. It’s a chilling work, co-presented by Birmingham Holocaust Education Center and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, about the consequences of hate. I attended a rehearsal today, and because of my background in the arts, was tempted to jump in and help with staging direction.
I reminded myself that was no longer my role. Today, I’m a writer and my job is to observe and reflect. I’m learning a whole new skill set and enjoying every minute of this crazy, roller-coaster ride of a business – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.