Almost Certainly Uncertain


I am certain of two things: I want to return to England to live, and I want to publish my first novel. All else seems to be a confusion of indecision. “Why?” I hear the dear reader ask. “It sounds easy enough. You sell up in the United States and you get on a plane. You buy an ISBN and call You’re not exactly being asked to reinvent the immigration or publishing wheel, Tracey.” Well, true. It all does sound easier, and far less important, than finding that last sock in the laundry, or outsmarting those auto spell programs that change your aunt’s name into something you’ll never live down at the dinner table. But I always seem to second guess myself into complete inertia. Like the gorse on Exmoor, inertia can look beautiful from a distance, but those spiny thorns of yellow cowardice will get you up close.

There is uncertainty in returning to England. How will the vote on whether or not to remain in the European Union impact returning ex-pats, and the United Kingdom as a whole? How will my American husband adjust? How will it impact my children, though they are often a plane flight away from me wherever I am? What of taxes, weather, petrol prices? Will these concerns outweigh being closer to extended family, with easier access to European holidays, and the joy of being back in the English countryside? Fish and chips? Cream teas? I can’t answer that yet.

But there is also uncertainty in remaining in the United States. Will I always have a choice to return to my homeland? Will I look back with regret if I don’t go soon? Will the homesickness I feel just dissipate one day and leave me free to settle, finally? Will my children visit me more often if I’m in America or in England? Inertia means I continue to straddle the Atlantic, holding on to each culture by my fingertips.

There is great uncertainty in publishing Dunster’s Calling. Will readers like it? Will they laugh, and here I mean at the funny parts of the story, not just at me as an author? Will they cry at the sad parts, and not just for me as an author? Then there are so many paths to choose from for getting the story out: traditional publishing, where I find an agent and they contact a publisher, who may or may not market my book. Or self-publishing, where I am my own agent, publisher, and marketer. Or, perhaps, a hybrid of the two? Will choosing one option over another lead to certain success – or certain failure? Inertia, in this scenario, means the now professionally edited Dunster’s Calling will become a dusty paperweight on my desk. The book cover that is being designed as we speak will never see the light of a Barnes and Noble bookstore, nor a light on a potential reader’s bedside table.

There is uncertainty in inertia. Deciding to do nothing would be a conscious decision to remain in the limbo I’ve been experiencing for years now, both as an ex-pat and as a writer who has dreamed my stories for decades.

Of all the options, inertia seems the least palatable, which means the second guessing has to go. Make a choice, Tracey, and run with it.

That’s great then! I’m certain I’ve ruled out inertia. Well, almost certain.

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