i can clearly remember when i realized i wanted to write--11th grade advanced english. i'd always eaten up books voraciously, and that class renewed my passion for reading after several years of super-duper dorky seminar level classes where i stopped caring about books and only cared about grades. we read, and we wrote, and i realized it was what gave me peace.

i've always loved to tell stories, and as a writer, i have always done best as a story-teller. i made it my new year's resolution to publish at least two stories this year, and now, i am halfway there. after the class with mp last year, i felt encouraged to reapply for the fulbright. with a recommendation from him, one from alice, and one from my shakespeare scholar professor, i felt like my application was impeccable. five years ago, i was the first alternate for a fulbright to italy to catalog traditional and endangered food-making techniques. i felt like this time, i could only do better. my writing was better, my idea more focussed, my recommenders knew me better--i had a great shot, right?

well, i was wrong. i was out in the first round. more than being devastated, i was shocked. i realized i had a decision to make--fall into a funk, or fall into action. mp, just as bewildered as i was, encouraged me to just write. so i did. i planned to write an article about garlic, and along the way, met chester aaron, a man whose story i knew i couldn't do justice to in just 1500 words. but i foolishly tried, and amazingly, ended up with this. how it became the cover story, i'll never know. i think it was because of winni's beautiful photos.

the best part about all of this is that it gives me some momentum, and some faith in myself. i've been saying i want to write for so long without having anything to show for it. i turned down so many chances that didn't feel right, and have missed many opportunities i thought were my only shot. but now, i've started my way down the path i've been waiting to walk for so many years, and i can see that this is the way it was always meant to be.

***i'm not sure if they'll put the story online, but i have a hunch that they will eventually, so keep checking!