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New Town, New Title

Since I’m a little behind with updates m, I thought I could just breeze over a few major life events and somehow get ready for the ones I know are sure to crop up. I got a job working for a Magazine and Advertising Agency and – get this – I am using all of the literary skills I learned in college. I am officially a paid writer, copy editor, and proof-reader.The only odd thing is my life is now divided into two types of clothes so separate, I feel like Hannah Montana. I wake up as a farmer, and try and feed everyone including myself, before showering and donning office clothes. I know right. Then, I leave Farragut and drive about 45 minutes back home, removing shoes, jewelry, and hair ties the whole way home.

As soon as I hit Kimberland Heights road, the windows are down and man that country air smells good. I’m only working part time because lets face it, 20 acres is more than enough for 2 people to handle, and Sadie works full time. So far, I’ve gotten to interview several people in the community, including a couple who have owned and operated a hardware store for more than 4 generations. Hardware, what’s the big deal? The first store owner started on the back of a truck because the town was so small and so remote, he brought the store to the community. They maintain that type of customer service today.

I wrote a story on the largest muscadine vineyard in the state, a fund that raises research and support for childhood cancers, a CEO who converted a Food Lion into a Federally Funded Medical Clinic. I wrote an article on a local hiking club, and I’ve been invited on the next hike around Tellico Lake! It’s amazing to talk to these people and see how their stories come together. Crafting their stories, their lives, is challenging. But I think it’s a bit like laying out the plan for a mural, or putting together a marathon training schedule. You start where you can and follow through. With some good quotes and several pictures, it becomes a breathing story. It’s definitely exhilarating.

Plus, it’s helping me make time to read more. It’s hard to read on the farm; if it’s daylight I’m out feeding, watering, or exploring. Then it gets dark and thank God for dinner, we fall into bed or the couch or wherever and drift off until it’s time to do it all over again. I will say, Tennessee has some amazing thrift stores. It’s kind of an addiction Sadie and I have. But it’s unspoken. If we’re driving back from somewhere, she will casually say “hey do you mind if we stop at Karm?” While I’ve been somehow trying to work that topic into the conversation too. We will slowly walk around, browsing, taking our time. Once everything has been looked over, we bring our items to the counter (for me, a Lady Vols Shirt that was made for a sumo-wrestler or a few worn books, and for Sadie, a massive Sony Radio that weighs about as much as a microwave and a patterned arm chair) and fork over our wrinkled bills and coins found in the center console of the car, or leftover from selling the mule. We grin and bring our prizes home and wash them or plug them in and dust them off.

Point is, I have spent more money on thrift books than I should have. But I read the Perfect Storm ($0.99) in about 3 days (it’s a short book) and couldn’t put it down. I also read Harper Lee’s latest “Go Set A Watchman” but that definitely wasn’t from the thrift store. That was a full-priced one that I completely caved on at the downtown bookstore. I read one called “Cold Mountain” that turned out to be a total bust, but didn’t cost more than $1.75. I got one called The Tiger’s Wife that won some award by Pulitzer or Oprah, and has something to do with The Jungle Book – it was $2.00 – and I’m excited to be caught up on that list about 8 years later.

It’s amazing to be living both sides of my dream. I never would have imagined that I could ever have a farm AND a job that inspires and challenges me like writing does. As the leaves begin to change colors, it’s a time of rest for the land and the animals. I have a feeling that I will get quite a few more good books before winter comes, some days will end with the shadows stretching across the fields, and me curled up on the porch with a good story and a few cats to keep me company.

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