I took the above photo earlier this morning during the blue hour; it’s my favorite time of day. It’s the only time of day or night where the earth is neither fully light nor fully dark. It’s the time in between when anything is possible.
The title —After the Darkness, Before the Light— shook loose a few things that have been rambling around my head for the past few months, which gave birth to today’s thoughts on where I’ve been and where to go from here.
Once upon a time I was the resources editor for our local parenting magazine. I spent eight years compiling the calendars and writing features about holiday and seasonal happenings, but my real love was the annual toy test feature, an 11-month labor of love. Starting in January and working straight through November I researched toys and the companies who made them, read trade publications, magazines and press releases, searched the web for the newest and coolest toys. In February I made my annual visit to Toy Fair in New York City, where I met with toy companies and wandered the floors of the Javits Center visiting booth after booth watching amazing toy demonstrations. The rest of year was spent researching and requesting and cataloging the toys we received for testing. You haven’t lived until your job includes opening endless boxes of new toys for the holiday season. The UPS man hated me, but I suspect a few of my coworkers enjoyed the endless toy deliveries. October brought about toy testing and the writing of the toy test feature.
One year we held the toy test at a local mall. This just might have been the most fun I’ve ever had while at work. We had local sports mascots and Disney Karaoke, goody bags full of neat little toys and CDs and books and assorted trinkets. We had lots and lots of toys to test and lots of little toy testers and their parents; mall patrons could test even more toys. I was so proud to have put together and pulled off such an amazing event. The publisher even had lunch brought in that next week because she was so happy with the event’s success.
I left my job in 2008 for any number of reasons but mostly because I was feeling burnt out. It’s been a little more than four years now and in that time I’ve survived six surgeries, three of them major, 32 radiation treatments, and countless medical tests.
I recently completed a journalism class and am currently taking a digital photography class at my local community college, both of which have helped to reignite my creativity.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about what I want to be when I grow up and what it is that I want to do with my life and I keep coming back to my beloved toy test and a feature I created shortly before I left, Hot! Hot! Hot! It was part of the news and notes section of the magazine, it asked local children’s shop owners what was selling well and what products parents were loving and what they thought would be the big trends for the coming season. It was a tough feature to put together because print magazines have such a long lead-time and some of the information would be out of date or speculative. I always thought this would make for a fantastic web feature.
So where do I go from here? Honestly, I don’t know.
- Is there a job out there for someone who loves to write about fun stuff like events and Halloween happenings and new products and what’s hot in stores right now?
- Can a blog make money?
- Can a website?
- Do I want to work for someone else?
- Do I want to go my own way?
I don’t know the answers to any of the above questions. I have a lot to think about.
A few weeks ago a girl I graduated high school with died after being hit by a car while out jogging. The only way I can even begin to make sense of this tragedy is to believe that her story was meant to end here, that it was somehow already completed. I don’t know. I can’t get the thought out of my head that it could very well have been my story that ended and if my story wasn’t meant to end almost three years ago, what’s my next chapter? Where do I pick up the story line? I don’t honestly know, but I can’t help feeling that I need to literally and figuratively pick up the pen and start writing my story again in order to be worthy of my story not ending on that October day.