I’m an anticipator. I worried much of this last year that my husband would lose his job. I felt sad when our daughter began high school this fall, knowing how little time remains for her to be with us. I was scared recently when my mother suffered a mini-stroke. Perhaps these emotions jumpstart needed actions or prepare me for what may come, but nonetheless they stir me into a state of disequilibrium. More than ever I need to break things down and live moment by moment. This very day my husband is employed, our daughter is here, my mother is alive, and I am grateful!
As a freelancer, I struggle to contribute half to our financial mix. The last two years have been particularly tough ones in the publishing industry. Still, there was an “up” side to the economic downturn. With fewer assignments I had more time to develop personal projects. For years I claimed to be too busy to nurture my own ideas. This fall marked the realization of a lifelong dream with my debut as an author in The East-West House: Noguchi’s Childhood in Japan. It’s been two years since I had a book out, so my greatest hope was that this new one would put me back in circulation, give me the chance to keep going. Right away an editor I adore offered me an illustration contract. Two other personal author/illustrator projects may be close to acquisition! I have a comfortable amount of design and art direction work to hold me steady. Generally I have established a better balance in my work life between assignments and ideas I want to develop. I am grateful.
We lived in New York for 18 years. I am often nostalgic for that time. I miss the sense of community I had there, miss feeling part of the publishing world. But looking backward, just like looking forward keeps me from recognizing what is in front of me now. If I examine this moment I am reminded that I know many local colleagues in children’s books and have begun some rich friendships. I rely on these peers to help me critique my work and for an exchange of ideas. Our group blog has shown me that I can experience community independent of location—we do mash, don’t we spuds? I am grateful.