I’ve been thinking a lot about change. Change as in a movement from one phase of your life into another; change as in what can happen in an instant; change as in a process that is much slower, when the outcome pulls like a memory, a wish that hasn’t yet formed.
Change can be associated with loss, with growth. In my personal life, I sit on the threshold of this door. On June 2nd, 2022, my roommates-of-four-years and I lost our cat Kevin unexpectedly (Yes, like Home Alone Kevin) to kidney failure. His loss is miles wide, wild and winding. When I sat down to write this post, I’d be lying if I didn’t say he was at the forefront of my mind.
He taught me a lot about presence, about extending care to community in even small ways. This is the kind of cat who ran to me each morning when I’d open my bedroom door, who followed me down the hall to the bathroom and back, watching as I picked out clothes. He stretched against my leg while I brushed my teeth before he jumped to lay down in the sink—he often knocked things off the counter in the process. He made me laugh when I couldn’t find room for it.
Kevin made sure I got ready for the day, especially when days are hard; it’s an understatement how this world has given us many, many hard days. Kevin being by my side as I got ready felt like a soft nudge of encouragement. You’re here. You’re brushing your teeth. You’re hurting, but you’re starting something.
My name as a contributor to the NCWN blog and in service as your communications director is a change. It’s a positive change in my life. When I interviewed with Ed Southern about this role, he asked me what I’m most excited about. I said that the Network will give me the opportunity to be ambitious. I look forward to growing our community and continuing to shape our workshops, programs, and resources in new and exciting ways both online and in-person.
I have a lot of ideas, I told him. I hope to continue to expand our workshop model with a balance of craft-based lectures, the-business-of-publishing lectures, and editorial critique. I want to create new programs and collaborate with schools, publishing professionals, and other literary organizations on these initiatives to continue our mission of fostering excellence, opportunity, and community in the South and beyond.
And while these ideas may be a series of trial and error in the beginning, I’m excited that the Network—like what we practice in our writing community, like what Kevin taught me—places emphasis on giving room to try.
I’m grateful to be part of this journey with the North Carolina Writers’ Network. I’m grateful to learn and listen.
We’re here. We’re starting something together.