Things I missed and didn’t.

It’s been a while since I’ve been on Medium, but weird things happened. Those three-year-old articles stopped paying for my membership and I got busy elsewhere (keep reading). Simultaneously I gained a lot more followers. So, I thought it might be time to just drop an update. Or maybe a listicle. Those are still a thing, right?

Are they?

I don’t know. I literally haven’t been around, though it seems like little has changed — I still haven’t figured out how to rid my Medium homepage of “how I made money six things that digital nomad blah blah blah.” Please help.

And indeed, I was a freelance “content writer” too when I came here. I was in need of a place to write again that wasn’t someone else’s blog, or Facebook, and I was hoping that some more regular practice might make me better at it (jury still out).

I was also newly married. I’d been in a relationship with a Canadian, and then we got married and began attempting a quiet lesbian domestic life with Subaru in rural northern California.

About a year into it, encouraged mostly by the writing community on Twitter and a desire to escape the endless shitty job and exhausting freelance hustle scenarios, I decided to go back to school.

School worked out. I excelled there, actually. My marriage, well, that did not work out. I’m just going to shortcut and say there wound up being some big issues. My ex-wife went back to Canada and I stayed put with dogs, cat, daughter and land. And Subaru.

About halfway into my second year of school prestigious schools started inquiring. I deleted emails from Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Cornell. I opened the one from Smith. Moving my family across the country to some posh and pricy liberal arts school was out of the question, but just to see, I wrote an autobiographical statement expressing my most wild and authentic self and sent it off.

Covid hit shortly after I accepted Smith’s offer of a full ride, but I decided to go anyway.

It took me three weeks to pack and move out of my house, most of it done with the help of several friends, all of it done while crying. I’d been settled. I had a community. A tight social pod that stayed accountable to each other and spent our hot summer days at lakes and hideaway swimming holes in a seemingly Covid-free land. My daughter had known no other life.

I’d planted gardens, laid two of my old dogs to rest there. Collected a thrift-store’s worth of oddities. Acquired furniture and art, random dump scores that I was convinced would eventually be of use. I had an ‘art studio.’

I sold or gave almost all of it away. Friends adopted my beloved cat. Other friends bought the Subaru. My remaining dog went to live at grandma’s for the time being.

Funded solely by pandemic assistance, I moved my daughter and I across the country in the middle of a pandemic, driving a 10 foot U-Haul alone. In Colorado we drove past what would be one of the first major wildfires of the season, then spent days driving through corn, factory farms and windmills until we finally hit the verdant green hills they call mountains here.

Northampton is an entirely different world from the burning wilds of far northern California. We’re on what basically amounts to house arrest, tucked away in a campus family apartment that’s actually nicer than the house we moved out of. It is, despite what the New Yorkers moving here in droves seem to think, expensive, crowded and bourgeois af. We miss everyone. We’re homesick. We’re isolated. Someone already stole my kid’s bike.

But, I’m getting a free education at Smith and there’s a Target here.

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve written on Medium, and I need to get my writing bones back, especially since I’m told there are a lot of papers written here. This semester I’ve only got one, but it’s twenty pages long, due next month and no I haven’t started on it yet. The topic is white supremacy, and we’re living in it.

Compulsive storyteller. Ada Comstock Scholar at Smith College.

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