Hi! I’m Mel: mom, wife, writer, and survivor. I’m not a storied professional, with a lengthy list of credentials or titles. But I do have stories to tell. And what I found while writing my first novel, Running With Our Eyes Closed, is that I’m not alone.
So I mentioned survivor – I don’t view overcoming or living through what life handed me as something to survive. I mean really, what choice do we have but to take what comes our way and try to be the best we can as we work through it all.
I’ve “survived” more than some, less than many: adolescence, losing my mom to breast cancer during those years, college, dating, marriage, childbirth, youth sports, turning 40, breast cancer, turning 50. And more than all of it I’ve survived the empty nest.
In 2013 my nest emptied out – the youngest of my two sons headed east to play football at the University of Kentucky. My oldest son was living in LA, pursuing his dream of working in the film industry. My world was rocked. Who was I now that my full-time job had walked out the door? I’d lost my job and honestly had no idea what the next years of my life would or should look like. Marriage, home, and family – all of it came into question.
During this time, my book Running With Our Eyes Closed began to evolve. I watched friends moving through the same turbulent waters – all of us trying to figure out what the hell was next. Whatever the approach, whatever the result, the motivation was the same – we were all trying to create a new life – one that wasn’t completely centered on our children. Some marriages survived, others didn’t. Families made geographical changes hoping for answers. And I began to write, first journaling my thoughts about the curious time in our lives. Then through poetry and prose, the characters Samantha and Michael were born.