Two weeks home, after two months in Costa Rica. We had to come home, I suppose. Taxes would not wait; our dog missed us; real life was slipping by. Or was it? In the two weeks my husband and I have been home, we’ve asked ourselves thirteen times, “Why are we here?” Not once a day, but close.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Des Moines. Des Moines is a beautiful, friendly city with incredible things happening. We live downtown, in a glass and concrete loft. Above is my view at night (ok, if I go to our rooftop; we actually face the other direction). Des Moines is where our friends are, and where our children call home. We will always live in Des Moines, but Escapism Rules! Life in Costa Rica was without obligation, commitment, baggage, hell, we were practically naked (metaphorically speaking) (and once literally, but that story is none of your business). There’s a freedom that comes with no one knowing your past, and that, dear readers, seemed to be the common thread amongst the ex-pat Americans we met. They only told others what they wanted to; we learned not to ask too many questions. But in a world where language divides people into two overlapping circles (those who speak both English and Spanish having the most friends), we sensed that many (not all) of those who had left America behind for the scorching, siesta-filled days of Central America did so for a reason. Enough with the judgements at home, they say, the oblique glances, the whispers as you pass by. Reinvention is the one-word mission statement of ex-pats. Not a bad idea, I might add. Why is it that people never forget the bad stuff others have done? That’s what “Danny” asks in Left on Blue. So, move to Costa Rica! Or, Nicaragua. Or, San Miguel, Mexico. Or just move across the country. It’s very liberating.
But enough philosophizing, I’m rambling for a reason. People used to twiddle their thumbs, or play solitaire, or drink heavily. I blog. And read. I’ve read fifteen novels in the last 8 weeks, with a stack equally as high trying to tempt me from sleeping. I am waiting impatiently, fighting off anxiety headaches. Trying not to check my email more than twenty times a day, or my cell phone for missed calls from the 212 area code. Yes, I mailed the all-important query letters off for my novel. The real reason I WANTED to come home from our extended stay in Costa Rica. What kind of masochist am I?
J.D. Salinger, I get it! I get you! You are my hero. After writing some of the best works of our time, he got smart, and released himself from the scrutiny of friends, fans, even family who, bless their hearts, can be a bit critical at times. For those of you (bless your hearts, too) who don’t know, J.D. Salinger, who recently passed away, became a recluse after publishing only four books, but he continued to write privately for 50 years. That’s what I’m talking about. Talk about writing for yourself! Bravo. That’s one way to avoid the anxiety of the publishing side of this incredible, passionate career which I have chosen.
Only, I don’t have that luxury yet. Yet. Ah, ever the optimist. I will be published. I feel it in my bones. My words will influence someone’s life. In fact, it’s time to end this post so I can check my cell phone for a missed call. Hasta la vista.