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Calling Me Home is our group's first published novel, and it marks a major milestone for both Julie and the blog itself. We started this blog more than four years ago as an outlet for some of our thoughts on writing, but also as a platform to help introduce us to you, our readers, as writers looking forward to publication. That time is beginning. In celebration, each of us is sharing our thoughts on home, how it calls us, and what it means to every "me" in our group. We hope you enjoy these posts, and we hope to see some of you February 12!
It’s ironic that just when I’m writing this post, I’m a very long, long way from home. I’m in a Beijing hotel, the first of several trips for my new job, and listening to the soundtrack for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The Chinese word for luck is fu. How fortunate and how lucky I feel to be here.
Unfortunately, my first impressions of the city which apparently uses half the world’s coal supply, were colored by a charcoal sky—literally. You might have read about the horrendous air quality but actually being there, wrapped in scarves and a useless mask, it’s really quite frightening. Where are the blossoming bonsais, the silk fans, the lush trees Chow Yun-Fat and Zhang Ziyi scaled so gracefully? As I write, from outside my window a black cat whines from the nearby rooftop. His lungs must be as black as the coal he breathes day after day.
Yes, I am far away. But even when I’m home in Dallas, I’m not truly home. My roots are in Maryland, where I spent 45 years. We didn’t sell the house I was swaddled in until nearly 35 years later when we moved my mother to assisted living, ten years after we buried my father.
Home is where I sipped cartoned milk and napped in kindergarten. Where I walked and waxed with my poetic friend Chrissie and became enraptured with a cemetery hidden in the green hills. Where I kissed my first crush behind the elementary school brick wall. Where I played canasta and choreographed dances with my Elton-John-loving friend Diane, pom-pommed with my soul-sister Karen, drank beer (shhh, don’t tell my son) with a wild Wheaton crowd. For a few years, home was a dorm I shared with athletes and druggies at University of Maryland. Where I lucked into a CPA firm that launched my rewarding career, workshopped at the Bethesda Writer’s Center, married the jackpot of husbands, birthed the kindest and coolest philosophical son, developed forty-five years of deep, loving friendships.
We left Maryland in 2005, heading the wrong way on a nine-week traverse across Europe, Japan, Alaska and finally making it around the globe to Dallas. Even though I lust to wander, whether it be across the pond or west to visit our son, Maryland does call me home. To my mother and three sisters, my dear friends, the rolling green hills. Where the sky is thankfully clear and fresh.
But for the next while my home is in Dallas, where I lucked into my awesome group of writer friends and await the release of our first success story.