On Moving On, Moving Up

It’s not only moving that creates new starting points. Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities. — Kristin Armstrong


I’m still here.

Stressed. Harried. But breathing. Breathing is good. I’m going to need all the breath I can take in soon.

See, I posted my last entry from the inside of a safe, happy cocoon. All systems go. The hum and thrum of my life buzzing along, ensconced in a smooth rut with deep sides. Comfortable in a warm house in a quiet neighborhood that we’ve lived in for the last 11 years. Content in a middling-sized city smack in the heart of flyover country that we’ve called home for the last 17.

And now I’m dashing off this entry instead of updating the spreadsheet of TO-DOs before me, the ever-expanding catalog of tasks to complete before we can put this house on the market and hand our warm haven over to a new owner, all the details to remember before we bid our bland but interesting (yes, this place is a paradox) metro a fond farewell and strike out for somewhere new.

In other words, we’re moving. Oy.

This move was completely unforeseen back in February — well, at least so far off on the horizon it just blended with the earth-rounded haze. We had talked for many years about moving back to St. Louis, our stomping grounds. It was always a “some day” kind of thing, until “some day” became “now” with a phone call and a job offer. So here I sit, surrounded by piles of accumulated stuff to pack, piles to throw out, piles to donate, and harboring a pile of excitement and nerves in my chest cavity.

And, writing? Writing has been packed in a box somewhere between the good china and random bits cleaned out of the junk drawer. It will move along with us, nestled in its bubble wrap, until I slit open the packing tape, unwrap it, and exclaim, “Oh! I forgot I had this!”

One golden delicious benefit of this move — I’ll be less than an hour away from the “fictional” setting of my book, Crater County, loosely based on the county where I grew up. Instead of relying on my memories of the trees, the smells, the sounds, the way the land rolls and dips, I can throw a backpack in the car and walk the trails my characters walk, feel the same air on my face, touch the bricks of the town where they’re living their lives. I can’t wait to see the depth and nuance this adds to the story, the new perspective this provides. I’ve often thought the setting of this book was a character unto itself, given how its interactions with the book’s living characters shapes and twists and provokes their behavior.

I know, I know. Without the proper context about my monster WIP, its basic plot, characters, themes, this is rather meaningless. That’s something I plan to remedy in future posts. I can’t wait, though, to introduce you to Crater County as it’s meant to be seen — in high summer at twilight, blue-gray shadows forming under thick stands of oak, the water-heavy river air shimmering in the diminishing patches of late afternoon sunlight, ripe with magic and misdirection.

Until then,

This post is an entry in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. This month’s question was “If you could use a wish to help you write just one scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?” I suppose in a month or two, I will get my wish, which is to see the setting of my book as my characters do. You can check out other writers’ answers to this question here:

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