Monday, August 5, 2013

One Month in Seattle--the good & the bad

We've officially been in Seattle for a month as of today. For the most part it has been amazing, but I will admit that I just called my mom crying. The job hunt thing has been extremely stressful. Even though I know it was silly, there was definitely a small part of me that hoped/wanted to believe that when I got here things would work out almost magically. Like after four years and two other projects, maybe I'd get The Call that my most recent book had sold. Or I'd find The Ultimate Dream Job and land it right away. (I've found a couple of Ultimate Dream Jobs, but so far have not been able to land one.) My hopes were buoyed by the many people who were impressed by the leap I was taking and said things like, "So few people are willing to just go for it like that. Things are bound to work out because you have the guts to try."

I should probably worry less and give myself more credit for the whole having guts things. But I'm really terrible about both of those things ;)

I will say that even though I didn't want to cry, especially not today of all days, this was the first time I have cried like this since I got here. In Chicago, I woke up feeling miserable just about every day and I had an incredibly hard time shaking it. In Seattle, when I get freaked or sad, I can usually shake it off just by going for a run because this is my view:

I can see the water, the sky, the mountains when it's clear (it was one of the only gray days we've had when I took this), and those cranes, which for whatever reason, I find even more appealing than any city skyline (though I do love the Space Needle and the fact I can stare at the city skyline from the bus stop by my house). And the air, the clean, clean air that smells of rain and lavender and other flowers whose names I haven't learned yet, it purifies me and takes the bad away.

Also, when I'm stressed, a fifteen-minute bus ride gets me to the place where I've always felt the calmest and the most at peace--the place I used to take a 4+hour plane ride to at least once a year. I'd go there are the beginning and the end of trip every time. I'd take a million photos and videos so I could try to recreate the feelings it stirred whenever I needed them. Now it's mine whenever I want it:

And so is this:

And this:

Stressful as it has been not having work, it has been nice to have the time to get my apartment unpacked and in order. It feels like home. A magical home where I wake up and go to bed every night staring at a beautiful horizon--colorful, sometimes cloudy, filled with green and trees and occasionally a mountain.

I've also had the chance to explore new parts of Seattle and spend time with friends. My husband and I have a great new tradition established on Sundays (which I used to sleep through most of due to bartending until 3 am) where we go for vegan brunch and pick a new walk to go on. Yesterday we went to Lincoln Park in West Seattle for some gorgeous beach and bluff views. Last week we hiked through the wooded Interlaken Park (which is his favorite so far and is definitely one of mine, but I love places close to water even more). And the Highline with it's delicious vegan food and infused liquors is definitely one of my favorite bars ever.

It definitely feels strange that I haven't written fiction or had the strong pull of an idea--I've had nibbles and a little bit of the desire to go back to my damn Modern Myth book that I never finished. I'm not looking at this lack of creativity as an omen though. It's part of the process. The move has been all consuming, and if anything I'm just scared to pursue another novel until I see something happen with the two I've already written. Maybe I'll focus on an essay collection since I do love the work I do for Rookie. Maybe I'm about to stumble on that Ultimate Dream Job and I'll need to focus on that for awhile.

I know that my creative spirit will thrive in Seattle once given a little more time, though. I feel right here even when I feel wrong and full of doubt about everything else. So, a month in, I know I definitely made the right choice and took the right risk. It's just the trusting myself/the universe that the rest will work out that is the hard part.

P.S. I apologize again for not having documented more of the moving process--I really do mean to, but the job-hunting has eaten up so much time. (If you can get a job before moving cross-country, I certainly advise it.) I haven't gotten much response to these posts anyway, so maybe there isn't much interest (and if so, I'm sorry for being boring!) or I'm just posting too sporadically (again, sorry! The job thing!). At the end of the day, though, I really intended to document this all for myself anyway, so I'm sure I will at some point. And I will make another promise to try to post more frequently at least on tumblr, but we'll see how that goes! I think I do better on Instagram!


Alison R said...

Nothing worthwhile in life is easy and one month in a lifetime is no time at all. By nature I want it all..... yesterday. .... but through age, tears and tantrums I've learnt that when things don't work out is because I was going after something the wrong way or in a way that wasn't healthy to me. Life has a way of pinging you back onto the right track. We meander here and there and that's how we learn. Maybe if you'd landed your dream job straight away you wouldn't have been motivated or free to start your lovely Sunday tradition. Things will work out when the time is right. Tears just show you are human and that this is important to you. It keeps you searching and hoping and tests you to find out what you really want. I moved to London with two suitcases and no permanent address. There was lots of tears and laughter and crazy doubts but ultimately it paid off. I have a good feeling about this move for you. And for your book. Keep the dreams alive I believe you will be rewarded. Maybe not how you think you should but it'll be how you need it to be :-) xx

Rachel Vincent said...

This is just to let you know I'm thinking about you and wishing you amazing luck on your job/idea hunt!

miaohdeux said...

My sister quit her job and moved to Chicago exactly one year ago yesterday. It was tough going for a while, but ultimately she is really happy she came - and she now has a great full-time job, plus we live a block away from one another!

I encouraged that move, and I completely support yours (though your pictures are REALLY tempting me to visit!). I know things will work out. <3

(Meanwhile, I am working on my book every morning as I ride the bus to my day job.)

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Thank you, Alison, for sharing your own experience and your kind words. I'm definitely doing my best to keep the dream alive!

Thanks for the luck and thoughts, Rachel!

And thanks, Lauren for your encouragement and telling me about your sister's story. I hope it works out that way for me, too, and best of luck with your novel!