Where's Cara? (Volume 8: The Freelanceaversary edition)
Exactly a year ago, on this date, my first national freelance food story was published. At the time, I kept it close to the vest. It was about my very recent breakup, for one thing. But there was more to it than that, I realize now. I was scared that I wouldn't make it in this freelance world. I was afraid that I would set out and sink.
In these 365 days, I have written 159 pieces. Some of them were for this blog, or other blogs, some were bits and pieces of the book, or coursework for my MFA, most of them have been or will be published in print or online.
I have made a go of this freelance life. It is sometimes difficult, but even in those moments, I often find myself smiling about the great hoax I've pulled over on the world that I get to string words together as my livelihood. It is something that I could not have known as I embarked upon this adventure such a short and such a long time ago.
To celebrate, I'm sharing that first byline, which has held up pretty well, I think. I'm also sharing something published this week in the Washington Post's Solo-ish section. If you had told me, a year ago, that I'd be able to say my work had appeared in the Washington Post, only a year hence, I would not have believed you. Sometimes, hard seasons birth good surprises.
"Slowly, I gave up the idea of picnics in the park with contraband bubbly, of wine tasting on vacation and discovering beers we both liked. I let go of the hope that had risen in me when I spoke with a recently bereaved friend of my mother’s, whose eyes lit up when he talked about the way he and his wife had shared a love for wine, lasting through their life together."
"I’m between dogs at the moment. It’s been about a year and a half since my family said goodbye to Casey, the dog I grew up with. I was the one who picked her out when I was just 10 years old, a shivering puppy, black against the January snow. Over the years, I’ve learned the truth of the motto: “When all else fails, hug the dog.” But now she’s gone."