Risk and the Anti-Risk Poet

I’m a pretty cautious person by nature. I don’t drink unpasteurized juice. I save receipts. I really hate jaywalking. Basically, I’m not a leap-of-faith person. I’m a slow-shuffle-of-regularity kind of person. It’s never been my experience that gambles pay off, and I avoid them when I can.

These past few months have been uniquely challenging for me, then, in that they’ve given me more uncertainty than I typically tolerate at one time; in October, I sold my home in Seattle and moved with my husband to London, England, where his job had been transferred.

Of course, it’s a wonderful adventure to live in one of the world’s greatest cities, but the transition came with all the expected cross-cultural adjustments—setting up utilities via systems we (still) don’t understand, learning by trial and error what the hieroglyphics on the washing machine mean, trying to generate a little heat off radiators (does anyone understand radiators?!), figuring out how many stamps go on a letter, learning that there exists a television tax and we hadn’t paid it. But I marched grimly on through the various minutiae of making a new life in a new place, and once I felt like I had some understanding of how to get along here day by day, I found I that I really like it.

Yet there were the other tricky changes I didn’t know how to manage. I was leaving behind my wonderful friends and fellow writers in the Northwest; what would I do for literary community in my new city? Would my American publishing and editing experience mean anything here? Who would be my support system when I hit those all-too-regular low points in the writing life? I took more a shamble of woe than a leap of faith on all of these fronts.

I’m happy to report, however, that the risk-taking of an international move paid off here as well: this month marks my addition to the Eyewear Publishing staff, where I serve as the new American Editor. It turns out that it’s not such a bad thing to be an American writer and publisher after all! I’m thrilled that I have a chance not only to contribute to the ongoing success of such a great London small press, but that I’ll also have the chance to learn about publishing on this side of the Atlantic and build, bit by bit, that community that’s so important to me.

I’m still not a risk-taker at heart, and I don’t imagine I’ll be, you know, eating raw eggs or stepping out into oncoming traffic anytime soon. But it’s nice, for once, to take a little leap and find solid ground beneath me.

2 Replies to “Risk and the Anti-Risk Poet”

  1. Kelly, I’m glad (and not at all surprised) to hear that you are finding your community, and already participating in the publishing world. London is lucky to have you.

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