My name is Sarah Wolfgang. In 2010, I was this person. I was cool.
I wore ripped-up asymmetrically zipped faux leather.
I was lean from dropping a carry-on wheelie bag worth of weight from biking and eating like an emotionally sound being. I had just learned to shift a five-speed car my friend, John, had gifted me for a dollar. I climbed mountains. A lot. I spoke of castle sitting in France. A lot. I drafted an action plan for collecting 800,000 cans (one from each person in Montana) to redeem for their deposit to pay off my student loans and launched a Web site named Igaveacantosarahbwolfgang. I wanted to travel the world and teach English, and not just in the safe European countries! I wrote for newspapers. But the biggest cool factor of all: I had just left another cubicle job in a swirl of verbal burning rubber, cashed in my 401K, bought a CB radio and was planning to retrace the route my dad and I had taken in 2007 in his big rig. There would be camping in my hatchback, biking through corn fields, and lots of barbecue. I had just begun a MFA program at Goucher College where I had tasked myself with writing a book about the 2007 road trip, and this new adventure was to be my “research” trip.
Backstory: In 2007, I left my job as a newspaper reporter to join my then-fifty-four-year-old dad on the road. The book I wrote about it is “a humorous coming-of-age road trip memoir that gives center stage to my refreshingly unvarnished relationship with my trucker dad and our eighteen-wheeler cross-country chase for ‘It,’ a stopping point where we hope to understand God, love, life, and death.”
I had so much going on in 2010 that I couldn’t write more than, mmm, six blog posts. (Yes! Please do check https://betweentheditches.wordpress.com/ again. See these six blog posts!) I was living the stories! My name was still on young people’s lips! Young people who were not toddlers. Then, love happened. Good love. Real love. (More about that later.) Eating also started happening. Children came. One! The pounds I had once dropped returned for a reunion tour. I worked reporting and teaching English until it made more sense financially for me to stay with the kids because now we had two! Oh, wow… two kids. Really? Two? (Well, I come from a litter of five and my mom from a litter of eleven, so not all that remarkable considering the familial output.) Then, more eating! More weight! I had gained two wheelie bags worth of weight!
Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I caught a glimpse of myself in a storefront window as I was hoofing it home post-emailing the first draft of my book proposal to the agent.
Uncool is what came to mind.
Now, trust me, I’m not saying this is anybody’s fault. The weight gain and disconnect from the world of grownups just happened as I couldn’t mentally keep up with the transition from who I was to this new person. In the long run I’m sure I’ll be able to compare old me to new me and see that I am now less obnoxious, less self-absorbed and selfish, more practical, and surprisingly patient, well, more patient anyway. But it flattened me to see myself so dowdy and spent-looking.
This blog will be a little bit about my (“Look at me! Look at me!”) personal journey toward re-finding my groove as someone “Awesome,” collecting up and reassembling all the parts of me: published writer; wife; mom of two toddler boys with big personalities (a cashier at Office Depot last week referred to them as “caffeinated puppies”) and who have dual citizenship in the United States and Peru and are on track to be bilingual; off-beat, adventure-loving creative dudette; Jell-O Jiggler maker; and whoever else I used to be that the tired squirrel on the running wheel in my brain can’t help me remember at the moment.
I am also in the process of bringing my road trip memoir to publication. As I said in the “About” section, I think there is a way for us near platform-less nonfiction writers to get our work out there too. I will share all that I learn on that journey—all the action, subterfuge, and platform-creating butt-kissing!
And to keep me interested, I will chronicle the stories of other awesome people doing awesome stuff. I’m deeply interested in big life quest stories. Characters! Travelers! Subcultures! I care about the ways people find meaning in their lives. A theme in my book is the connection between where people live and their inner lives, and I want to keep exploring this. Why do we land where we do? In what ways does geography shape us? How in the United States has the American Dream helped and hurt each of us? Who among us is redefining this dream?
These questions and more will be wrestled! Stay tuned!