As part of my recovery process, I went to a knitting event today. Usually, I write about these events, then am too busy or tired or whatever to actually go. But I went and found a roomful of people who knew me and knew I was leaving the paper. Empathy all around and excitement about what I was planning. There's really nothing like a roomful of knitters for loads of encouragement and support.
Within the hour, I had two potential buyers for my book (if only they could find it in stores -- must write to my agent tomorrow about this). And someone who works in a knit shop thought it would be great if I could teach some crochet classes. And, hey, why don't they fill the window with products from my book! And an idea for a book was born. And a possible connection for some writing jobs. Quite a productive hour & a half!
Later, online, I found email for more knitting connections and folks who wanted to talk books and folks who wanted to meet for coffee.
It's very nice to know that I can have an identity separate from the newspaper. Again with the divorce analogy. Remove the Mrs. and just be. When I divorced, I reclaimed my name. And when I remarried, I kept my name. It is I.
Separate from the paper, I have more freedom to apply my skills in new and different ways. I had a fair amount of freedom with my columns, but the daily tasks of copy editing kept me from fully exercising my freedom. Now, I can focus on a single job until it is done, instead of interrupting it several times with other tasks. And my brain is free to move and stretch. I had a little brainstorm tonight about how to organize my Web site to incorporate all my ventures. I had not been able to see that before.
And I haven't even officially started my layoff yet! Let's see what tomorrow brings. The plan is to do some serious decluttering -- but I'm open to creating as well.

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