I’ve had a few people ask me how I got into blogging, and the short answer is Dublin circa 2007. I spent my Junior Year abroad in Ireland, and it became the most influential year of my life. It reformed my character and created my adult identity. The Jacque who dyed her hard dark to “blend in” in Ireland was a very different Jacque than the one who flew home. It was during this year that I met one of my lovely Aussie friends. She would send email newsletters home to her family called the Dublin Times, and subsequently the Geneva Times, Jordan Times, and New York Times as she travelled about the globe.
These emails were hilarious, and I was always ecstatic when one popped into my inbox. I decided to follow in her footsteps when I moved to France after college. I became a jeune fille au pair to a family in the Parisian suburbs, and I sent monthly emails home to family and friends: the Paris Times.
People would respond with wonderful comments, and I just didn’t get it. I would write about sitting in a coffee shop near the Opéra metro station and how it had the most gorgeous chandelier and intricate gold filigree adorned walls. I would write about how I had given up on grapes because France had outlawed genetically modified food since the 70s, and grapes with seeds were just too much work. I would include a mini translation section with new slang I had learned.
It was such a wonderful outlet for me, and people would write back saying it was the best part of their month. They told me they looked forward to every newsletter, and although I didn’t understand their enthusiasm, I was very thankful. These encouraging words helped me realize just how passionate I was about writing.
My love of writing really began with my love of reading. I’ve always been an avid reader of epic science fiction/fantasy novels. Let’s just say I was reading George R.R. Martin since the late 90s, and my parents had to limit me to 1-2 books a week until I started buying them myself. I remember roaming the aisles of Barnes & Noble, brushing my hand against the spine of a book to pick it up and examine the art work. I would read the summary on the back and then the excerpt in the front. I would sit on the floor by myself for hours, examining different books, while my parents walked around the Promenade.
I remember other adolescents and young adults would weave in and out of the aisles, always men, and they often had glasses and SciFi graphic tees on, long before this was cool; long before these books were cool. I would sit cross legged in my Abercrombie clothes, tanned skin, and straightened blonde hair, combing through potential purchases. I can remember how the pages smelled, how the spine would creak open, and how this engendered an exceptional sense of excitement. Thrill seekers enjoy the throws of adrenaline, but I love nothing more than escaping to a fictional place and time, befriending extraordinary characters who leap from the pages.
These are some of my most treasured memories. Now I read almost exclusively on an iPad for convenience, but I miss the musty paper of a real book and the flutter of textured pages.
Reading has offered me an unparalleled sense of enjoyment and comfort, and I always wondered if I could see it from the other side. Could I become a creator of the written image? Could I become a contributor to my greatest pasttime? The feedback I received from the Paris Times made me believe that this could one day be possible.
I feel like that day is here. I’ve been trying to become a writer for about a decade, but something always stood in my way. I’m not really sure why I decided having three kids under three was the best time to start a new endeavor, but boy am I thankful. Ireland may have been the best year of my life, but I am now entering the best season of my life.
Thank you, my readers, for making my dream possible. I hope you’re enjoying the ride as much as I am.