Karina Coombs

 

GirlDogBeerAfter an eight year hiatus from my native Massachusetts, where I had been a 30-something single Project Manager living in Somerville, I returned as a 40-something wife of one, mother of two, multiple dog owning forest dweller. I’ve gone from being a stay at home parent with little to no hobbies to an amateur photographer, journalist and freelance writer.

It’s funny how interests can reappear later in life – so much later, in fact, that you’d almost forgotten about them. Writing is something I hadn’t thought of doing since I was 12  and deep in my Henry James, Tom Robbins, and William F. Buckley Jr. phase (the latter I now blame on a fever dream and too much Paper Chase). My interest in journalism also began in the 80s, inspired partly through its image in popular culture: Peter Weir’s The Year of Living Dangerously, Oliver Stone’s Salvador, and  P.J. O’Rourke’s Holidays in Hell.

[Insert something here about soul-crushing teen angst, dropping out of school, working in low wage retail jobs, becoming a nanny for Boston’s 1%, and finally getting out of my own way…]

In my mid-20s – GED in hand – I returned to school, discovered Sociology, and slowly made my way from community college night courses to counting Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright as my fellow Wellesley College alumnae, much to the dismay of many a high school guidance counselor.

Entering the “professional” workforce at 30, I found myself with a short lived “Gal Friday” career at a local behavioral healthcare R&D company where I dabbled in research, QA, technical writing, IT, customer service, and project management before heading west to live in the shadows of 1 Infinite Loop, get married, and have our much beloved eldest. A job-inspired wanderer phase brought our family through Texas, back to California, and off to Colorado where we had our much beloved youngest. Once we realized Colorado needed an ocean to offset some of those mountains, we knew it was time to come home.

A friend encouraged me to start a blog after one too many snarky social media posts and I took her suggestion. We live in a small town in a very historic part of Massachusetts and I started writing about our experiences of returning to the east coast and renting a house from 1720. The local newspaper offered me a job writing news and feature articles based on the fact that I was a recent arrival and might have a fresh perspective on things and I seemed to want to write.

For the past five years I’ve written for the Carlisle Mosquito, learning the ins and outs of local politics and discovering some truly fascinating people living way out here in the sticks. Along the way I rediscovered my love and respect for journalism and found my own writing voice, using it as a freelance writer for advertising copy, features, and profiles.

As we enter our sixth year back in Massachusetts, and with a break from the paper to focus on homeschooling my two daughters, my writing is taking another unexpected turn. I’m returning to my blog as a platform to give it the attention it never got before. Some stories are also rumbling around my head – one more clear than another depending on the day – and I’m hoping to see at least one of them through.

Writing is as painful as I remember and I can take procrastination to deeply satisfying levels when faced with a deadline. But it also gives me satisfaction like nothing else in the world ever has.

It is the wind beneath my monkey.