What a year. It started out in January–in the blustering cold of the Smoky Mountains with my fiancé and friends–where we celebrated my 40th birthday and I got engaged. In March, I met some of my best friends from the Jimmy Eat World group–and even met Jim Adkins in person!
For the first time in my life, I traveled across the pond to Ireland, then to Scotland to visit a friend. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. This had been on my bucket list for a long time, and I finally got to go.
In May, I had to experience one of the worst losses of my life–my beloved Eli was laid to rest. I spent days and weeks feeling lonely and lost. I started sitting on Rover, then I found a little girl who needed a home. We named her Ella in honor of Eli, and she has been such a sweet girl who is helping me heal. I still miss Eli–and I always will.
In July, I got to see Kansas for the first time and visited with a friend. I started my last semester at Kennesaw State in August, feverishly working on my capstone project. I was able to incorporate mental health into my final thesis and I hope to publish it as a book some day. Also in August, I found my wedding dress, and got to meet Andrew McMahon!
A few of my classmates and I were supposed to attend a conference; however, the weather prevented it, and it was moved online. I presented my capstone project and discussed the research methods involved. My fiancé and I volunteered at an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Walk–which was an incredible experience.
Yesterday, I walked across the stage to receive my Master of Arts in Professional Writing. It was an incredible experience–one that I will not take for granted. Not only did I learn how to amplify my writing skills, I also connected with a lot of other writers, editors, and publishers. Throughout the two years, the program gave me several opportunities that I never thought could be possible. I also served as the Fiction & Nonfiction Editor of the literary magazine and interned with the AFSP. I joined writing clubs, but most of all, I am a much better writer because of the program. I learned how to write engaging personal essays; articles; interviews. I even took a screenwriting course! While I’m going to miss attending classes, I will still be there for other tasks and duties.
On that note, I plan to work on novel #10, and I hope you will enjoy it. I can’t say what it is just yet–that’s a secret–but maybe I’ll announce it soon.
Thank you to everyone who has been there for me the last two years, who have supported my endeavors, and who still supports me to this day.