“Living with my three sons, two of whom are teenagers, makes for some interesting times but one of the advantages is being introduced to modern day acronyms, like YOLO (You Only Live Once). For quite some time now the boys have been adding YOLO on the end of announcements to me. For example: “Mum, I’m going fishing.” I begin to suggest more meaningful activities, like pegging the washing on the line. I get that teenage look of contempt and the reply: “YOLO Mum, YOLO.”
It got me thinking about my life. Back in the late 80s, at the end of my teenage years, I’d been captivated by the 1989 film “Dead Poets Society” where I was introduced to the Latin phrase, “Carpe Diem” – Seize the Day. I prefer the Latin version but YOLO is obviously the modern day equivalent.
At the start of last week I had a good hard think about what I wanted to achieve in life and came to the conclusion I wanted to learn more about writing and to meet people who wrote newspaper columns for a career… instead of just for fun.
So with that in mind, today, I booked a flight to New York. Yes, really.
I’m heading off on another excellent adventure, this time to the other side of the world so I can attend the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) annual conference at Hartford, Connecticut (and have a tour of Mark Twain’s house!).
When it comes to the USA, I am historically and geographically challenged… I know very little about the place. I had no idea where Hartford was, or Connecticut for that matter. Turns out it’s a couple of hours north east of New York, on the east side of America (so glad Santa Clause brought the boys a globe for Christmas).
I first thought of going to the conference a few months ago but initially dismissed the idea as ludicrous. That voice inside my head (you know, that one that is no fun?), told me quite firmly that single mothers living in little towns in south western New South Wales, Australia, do not pop over to America for writer’s conferences.
Thankfully the other voice inside my head (the one that is a lot more fun), kept persevering and repeatedly said, “What are you waiting for girl, if you can make it happen – go for it.”
The thought of flying to New York by myself is filling me with excitement and terror in pretty much, equal parts. So far, I know only one person over there, who I’ll be meeting at the conference; past president of the NSNC, author and columnist, Suzette Martinez Standring.
Back in 2011, when Pete asked me to write a weekly column for The Bridge Newspaper, I googled “How to be a newspaper columnist” and amongst other things, came upon a book titled “The Art of Column Writing” by Suzette Martinez Standring. So I bought it and then emailed Suzette, to say I’d purchased her book and I really hoped it would help me. It did.
Suzette emailed back and we became Facebook friends and through her, I was introduced to the National Society of Newspaper Columnists… don’t you just love how serendipitous moments happen in your life?
“Hey Max, Sam and Henry, I’m going to New York!”… "YOLO.”