It took almost a year after my mom died for me to start writing again. I was still attending the Washington Creative Writers Club, but I wasn’t reading my own work for critique. I was an active commentator, but working on my novel would take an energy that I didn’t have. As for Inkreadable Kids, with my mom’s death, I didn’t have the wherewithal or the emotional capacity for teaching. Teaching is difficult enough when the subjects are Math, English, and the like. Trying to convince kids to love writing as much as I did? That ambition died as well. I could barely sustain the dog and pony show that is front of house food retail management. Plus dealing with the financial consequences of my mom’s death took over that first year and a bit.
In the fall of 2015, I came to Amsterdam. One of the benefits of going to WIS and having 45 people in your graduating class is that it was very easy to keep in contact with your classmates. Some of us formed bonds that endure to this day. I had friends from WIS in Amsterdam and had been coming to the city for a number of years. That year, as always, I stayed with my friend Jasper. We have a complicated history, Jasper and I. His sister Anneke was in my grade and we were best friends from the 7th to 9th grade. He was in the grade below us. When Jasper and I first met, he broke my glasses. Thankfully, things went uphill from there. WIS had combined the 6th and 7th-grade beginner French classes into one, and the three of us were in the same class. I can rather smugly say that I still have my French skill, but Jasper claims not to. I’m not sure about Anneke. I’ll have to ask her.
In 1993 I left Washington and went to Boston University. I majored in Physics and stuck with the program for two years before I was able to admit that as much as I love the sciences, they didn’t love me back. Anneke and I remained friends though we weren’t in as much contact as she had moved to the Netherlands. Jasper and I became extremely close during my first year of university, and I would see him when I came home. We would continue this practice the next year when he too left for the Netherlands as his parents lived, and still live, in DC.
It was Jasper that I went to in 2014 after being with my sister. I spent a week wandering the city while Jasper worked. It was here that I finally started to reconnect with my writing in various cafes around the city. A few words at a time but it was enough. I was starting to see light at the end of the tunnel that was my grief. It would be another year before I was ready to think about my own future and what I wanted to do with myself.
I knew that food retail wasn’t what I wanted to do, and, even though my family owned the company I worked for, there wasn’t room to grow. Also, I had decided that I wanted to move back to Scotland, and started thinking about the ways in which I could do that. It would be a year before I could make any moves at all, and I didn’t know then that current events would conspire to work against me.
Summer 2015 brought many changes to my family. My sister Alex got married at the beginning of September. We all went to Greece for the wedding, including my sister Taty. Bringing her to Greece had long been a dream of both my parents. I was really happy that Taty finally got to see Greece, as I had carried around a lot of unacknowledged guilt that I got to go on trips with my family but that Taty didn’t. Taty is handicapped, though I prefer to use the term handicapable. Taty had never been to Europe so this was a real treat. After Greece, I went as was becoming habitual for me, to Amsterdam to see Jasper. It was to be a life-changing trip. On the edge of your laptop? Good. That’s up next.
That’s it for this Inkreadable Installment. As always, stay tuned. There is more to the story.