I moved to Boston the September after I graduated from UC Santa Barbara. I had gotten into Emerson College and was pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at a great school for the arts, and I was really nervous. I knew two people in the city: one, a girl I hadn’t seen since high school and two, a friend who I’d met and become close with in college. It was a thrilling and exhilarating adventure. I’d been writing stories and making things up since I was a kid and I was so excited that I told everyone, completely oblivious to their facial expressions saying, “A master’s in creative writing…good luck sister.” But that was fine. I was finally focusing on my dream.
Grad school was enriching and exhausting. I read and wrote feverishly, writing short stories I’d never thought of before and developing a premise for a novel that I was dying to write. I also spent a lot of time alone. I explored a city so vast and foreign to me and so far from the safe and homogenous suburb I’d grown up in. It was also far more metropolitan and electric than the idyllic beach town I’d fallen in love with during my college years. I was growing and changing at a rapid rate, so much that I could not tell if I was the same person the day after the next.
I’d made some friends in a novel workshop class that really jived. We all loved each other’s work and wanted so badly for our chapters to turn into beautifully bound books that we could find in a shelf at Barnes and Noble. But we learned that writing the great American novel can be a long and arduous process. Our expectations of ourselves and each other were high. So after we graduated we began our own writing group that still meets two years later. This group, amicably called the Pug Squad, has been a wonderful resource of support aiding so much professional and personal growth that I can’t even express it.
We started meeting once a week, always Sundays at 2:30 in the afternoon at one of our houses, giving each of us a chance to take turns playing host and growing closer and closer. Since then I’ve had a few pieces published, some nonfiction, some fiction, some poetry. In the meantime, I’m still chugging away at the historical novel that has become much more than I ever anticipated.
Throughout my journey as a writer, I have always worked as a nanny. And I truly love it. Despite the many concerned expressions from people when say “Yes I moved to Boston from sunny California to get a master’s in writing. Yes, I am a nanny.” It doesn’t faze me anymore because I’m used to people thinking that what I’m doing is unusual or doesn’t make sense to them.
I love my day job because I get to be creative on a daily basis and I get to make a meaningful contribution to a person’s life. As a nanny, I get to help a child take their first steps, learn their first words, discover the beauty of books and art, learn the joy and pain of school, find the happiness of making a friend, discover their own physical potential, and of course find out that the world is a vast, wonderful, mysterious, and frightening place that is theirs to explore. It’s a really incredible thing. And did I mention the snuggles?
That’s why I’ve created this blog. Here, I will chronicle my favorite art projects that engage children in learning and play. I’ll let you know when I have new publications and share information on how to get published. Come along and share your experiences, too, and maybe we can learn more from each other.
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