The Goodbyes Begin

The moving date is set. June 4th. Of course, if I get a job soon, then I’ll move down ahead of the rest of the family. But having an official date makes me nostalgic.

Two Sundays ago I said goodbye to my Ann Arbor critique group. We’ve been working together for I want to say four years. Is that right? (Why am I so horrible with keeping track of time?) We were all newbies to the game of YA writing and publishing when we began and in some ways it’s been the blind leading the blind. But looking back, I can see a lot of growth over the years, both in relationships and writing skill. In a very real sense, I couldn’t have had the success I’ve had without their help. And in some ways it’s been my church. I often forget that people aren’t as interested in talking about the craft of writing as I am. On good days, I hold my tongue with general public. Did you ever see Anne of Green Gables? Poor Anne, she is so talkative! Always getting scolded for not holding her tongue. There’s a scene in the movie where she confesses to Myrilla, (whom she so badly hopes will adopt her) that she knows – she really knows – how irritating her talking is, but “if you only knew how much I really wanted to say but didn’t!” And oh, have I felt that way about writing. And my critique group has been my sanctuary for saying anything and everything I want to say about the thrilling/exhausting/heart-breaking/ball-busting/insane business of trying to publish. I will miss you all.

Josh has also begun saying goodbye, and wrote a beautiful last post to his blog. Thanks, Josh. I took a quick look back over some of the posts and it was fun to remember things like showing the girls the fairy doors in Ann Arbor. They never believed in Santa, but BY GOD the fairies in Ann Arbor are REAL! There was also the day the Eleanor was interviewed by the Humane Society for starting Vegetarian Wednesday with Josh. She’s now become a full-time vegetarian. I got to remember seeing the Dalai Lama speak. There’s so much more obviously, but I’d forgotten about those. It’s been a long chapter for Josh and the kids and I, and I’m sure I’ve said it before, but this is the longest we’ve lived somewhere together. To read about some of the good times was nice.

Now, I’m off to get ready for an interview. When they ask me what my weakness are, I think I’m going to say, “Well, every time I see sweet potatoes on the menu, I order them. That and carrot cake.”  What is it with the orange veggies? Love ’em!

Published by jody sparks

Jody Sparks Mugele spent her first career in marketing writing and leading teams of writers and editors. After her son came out as transgender in 2015, she dedicated herself to advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. For two years, she led the Indianapolis regional chapter of PFLAG, a nationally renowned LGBTQ+ advocacy group. She has given many conference talks about parenting trans kids, healthcare in the trans community, and suicidality among LGBTQ+ youth. And with GenderNexus, an Indianapolis-based advocacy organization, she created programming and led support groups to work with parents to help their children through all aspects of gender transition. She recently moved to Northeast Georgia where she is excited to develop opportunities to continue to strongly and proudly advocate for LGBTQ+ members of our society. She also LOVES kitschy Christmas crafting!

3 thoughts on “The Goodbyes Begin

  1. So hard, and so exciting. This is the kind of stuff for which the word bittersweet was created! I love what you have to say about your writing group, and talking about writing. Good LORD, I have that problem. I had lunch with my best friend of 20 years today, and she is neither a writer nor (I can barely say it) a reader (I know, GASP!). I am SO excited about what I’m working on now, though, that I spent at least 15 minutes telling her about it. It’s a tribute to our friendship that she listened and seemed interested the whole time. But believe me, when I finally stopped talking, I was thinking oh jesus I can’t believe I couldn’t make myself shut up sooner!! Don’t worry, you’ll find new people to whom you can talk your craft to your heart’s content.

    (And you have a carrot cake weakness?!? Maybe we were sisters in a past life.)

    1. I’m sure we were sisters. But truthfully, I have a pretty general cake weakness. And of course you that you can talk to me about your writing any time, right? Right.

  2. Your post brought tears to my eyes. You having a date to move makes it so final. I have so loved having you in our critique group. You are going to be so, so very missed. You’re right. It’s great to have a place like that to talk about writing. Not that many opportunities with the rest of our worlds.

    Good luck with your job interview. Since you must go, I hope you find a job soon. If not, enjoy the time off and finish your book.

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