Monday, June 28, 2021

Patreon Exclusive Content: The 10-Year Summary Part II

Hey Invisible Audience,

As I mentioned previously, every other week I'll be posting blog posts that will be available exclusively for my Patreon patrons. Here's the beginning of this week's Patreon post. If you're interested in becoming a patron and helping me support my coffee and travel habits, please click here. Memberships run from $3 to $25 a month. 

Welcome to my first post, Semi-Invisible Patron!

I’m new here, have you noticed? It may take me awhile to get in my groove—it’s been awhile since I wrote out loud, so please give me the benefit of the doubt as I settle in a bit more. If you’ve made it this far, perhaps you’ve already read the post about what I’ve been up to in the last 10 years. When I write it all out, it certainly sounds a lot more impressive than it felt moving through it.

There’s a good reason for that. Truth be told, the milestones I listed—self-publishing books; moving a lot; writing a novel; starting a business—haven’t taken up near as much head space as some really serious emotional work. 

 Read more on Patreon

A 10-Year Summary in 600 Words


Hello Invisible Audience,


I am writing to you from Puerto Escondido, Mexico, a surf town on the Oaxacan coast with a lot of very large waves and some killer humidity this time of year.

The last time I was here was in 2011, the second and last summer I house-sat some family friends’ winter home for the summer and took care of their lovely dog, Rueben.


A lot has changed since then, both in the town and for me. Not everyone follows my blog, and even if they did I haven’t been updating it much in the past several years anyway, so here’s a short summary of some of the many changes:


When I left here in 2011, I went home and published my second wine-pairing cookbook: Savoring Leavenworth. Then I spent about a year trying to promote that book and my first one: Savoring Chelan: Pairing Local Wines with Regional Recipes.


Then I moved to Panama. I planned to be there for six months and stayed for nearly two years. What took me there is a long story that involves a detour to an ashram in Canada; if you want to hear more about the time before and during my time in Panama, you really should go back and read some old posts from my blog.


In 2014, I moved back to the States, first very, very briefly to Southern California, then to Leavenworth, a Bavarian-themed village in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. That’s where I’ve been ever since. I self-published a book on marketing and a travel memoir. I started a business teaching private Spanish classes to kids and adults.


When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, I was really, really relieved. I was exhausted and not sure if I wanted to continue on with what I had built in Leavenworth, both in terms of a business and also in terms of a life. I’m still not sure. Part of my reason for coming to Mexico was to seek some clarity about these things. I’ve been here almost three weeks and I don’t have any yet. 


But being here has already cleared some of the gunk out of my head, and I managed to finish the second draft of a book I first got the idea for 14 years ago—while I was backpacking through Australia.


Do you see a theme here, Invisible Audience? Yes, when I’m abroad I can write much more easily than when I’m not. I have more headspace when I am not feeling overwhelmed by the U.S. culture and fighting not to internalize the need to be what I feel like it demands of me, an almost-40-year-old woman: graceful aging; being settled and content; thinness and in-shape-ness without effort; meaningful relationships without struggle; expensive toys or costly homes without sacrifice. Perfect health without adequate health insurance. Assertiveness without aggression or shame or backpedaling.


I’ll be 40 in September, Invisible Audience, and I don’t have any fucking clue what the next year will bring or where I will be living or how I will be spending my days a year from now. And you know what? I’m less freaked out about that than you would think. I’m more grateful that there are options for change than the promise—threat, really—that everything will stay the same.

So welcome back to my inner thoughts and physical travels. Thanks for being a part of my Invisible Audience, and I hope to see you back here soon.


Love and I’m Pretty Sure Change is Good Kisses,


Sometimes, Authenticity Needs a Gatekeeper

Hello, Invisible Audience,

It’s been a long time. It’s been even longer since I wrote to you on a regular basis, although—believe me—I’ve thought about you often.


I’ve alluded to the fact that I’ve gone through a lot in the last several years. I haven’t really talked specifically about it much because they’ve been some really big, hard changes, and they’ve affected every single aspect of my life. They’ve been so big that it’s been hard to write, because I wonder who’s going to read it, and I’ve been censoring myself as a protective measure, but at a pretty big cost.


I haven’t felt like I’ve been authentically me in a lot of aspects of my life, Invisible Audience. Partly it’s because I’ve felt too raw to share what I’ve been going through, because of the feedback I may receive. I’ve also been physically sick and tired as well. But writing out loud has always been cathartic for me, and not doing it hurts in its own way. I look back on some of my posts from Panama and I can see how much I was able to process what I was going through in my writings to you. Then I had to stop. I moved back to the States and with everything I was going through it all became too much to keep track of.


I’m in Mexico at the moment; I’m here for the summer. It’s the longest I’ve been abroad for many years, and it’s brought something that I hoped it would. Within 10 days of arriving, I finished the second draft of a book I’ve been working on for 14 years. I hadn’t picked it up since March, then suddenly I had the energy and the drive to bust through the last parts once I got out of my house—out of my country—and into another one. This is no coincidence. This is how I operate. I keep trying to convince myself it’s not true, but it is. I need to be somewhere strange and new and exciting to feel creative. I haven’t been in a place mentally to do that in a long time, but here I am now, with a finished second draft and an idea that involves you.


For a long time, it felt ok to just write personal things about my life out loud to anyone who wanted to hear them. Then it didn’t. Not long after it didn’t feel so good anymore, I started letting go of some relationships that weren’t serving me. A couple years ago, I pared down my Facebook friend list and changed my posts so not just anyone could see them. I started a private Facebook group where I basically just post memes that I like—as millennial as it seems, there’s more of what I really think and feel and consider important in that group than there is of me on my profile where my 600+ friends can see what I post. Only approved people can follow me on Instagram, too. And now, Invisible Audience, I’ve realized that there’s a way I can bring some of you with me into a place where I can write and feel safe to do so.


I have started a Patreon account. If you’ve never heard of Patreon, it’s a place where creators post their work and “patrons” can pay for the privilege of reading or consuming it. It also means I can act as a gatekeeper and remove any patrons that I prefer not to have hear what I have to say.

Don’t worry Invisible Audience! Chances are you aren’t one of the people I would feel compelled to remove. And also, I will still be posting blogs publicly that are accessible to anyone for free. For the deeper stuff, however, the more authentic version of me with all my vulnerabilities hanging out for all to see, you’re going to have to invest a bit in my process.

And hey, your investment means I get some money for my time and honesty! Win-win! ;)


The plan is to start posting once a week again. Every other post (as in every other week) will be published here and free for anyone who wants to read it. All other posts will be linked to here but will only be available to Patreon patrons. Please consider becoming one.


Love and authentic kisses,