THINGS THAT HAPPENED: I got a sign from The Universe to write about my Polish family’s odyssey surviving Stalin. Reluctantly, I grabbed the spiritual baton being handed off to me several year ago. I researched, wrote and then published the book, “Grace Revealed,” which was released earlier this year.
And then I went mad.
Well, I wouldn’t call it “mad”… in the sense that I went—how do I put this?—crazy. Actually, it was something just South of Crazy. Mood swingy. In fact, I may have perfected the art of Mood Swinging and highly recommend it because, well, nothing breaks up an otherwise boring day than … a mood swing.
Where was I? Ah, yes. What got me here.
In the Spring of 2014, the newspaper at which I had been editorial director and editor for 14 years, was bought out by a PacMan-type literary enterprise. Oh, it was a blessing in disguise really. (How many commas, apostrophes and periods did I have to babysit?) At the time I thought: “What divine intervention is this? OK, I’ll just finish the book about the Polish family that is due by the end of summer and venture forth.”
And so … the odyssey began.
However, all the work I had been doing to secure myself as somebody of prominence—somebody that had “arrived,” somebody of “status”—completely changed after that. In addition to being a newspaper editor, I wrote for national magazines, interviewing celebrities—everyone from to Chelsea Handler and Joan Rivers to Cyndi Lauper and Anderson Cooper. I thought I had hit pay dirt. Perhaps I fell face first in it? Who knows. It was a festive time and I may return to it. I did my best to illuminate the finer side of the entertainment industry and other agents of change in the world, however modern-day publishing had shifted do dramatically in the past decade. Writers weren’t getting paid—much. At all. And the constant grind of trying to “arrive” somewhere; trying to get enough LIKES for this and that; trying to acquire “enough” FOLLOWERS … I was exhausted.
So, on an adventure uncovering Stalin and my Polish family’s mindbending journey I went—to Menomonie, Wisconsin (to finish the book and yes, I, too, looked up the heavens and said: “Menomonie? Really? What the hell is happening?”); Chicago (returning to family and launching the book … and to consume as many carbs as any middle-age Pole could—have you SEEN the size of a Chicago pizza not to mention the girth of a pierogi?); up and down and all around (and on couches) all around California (to promote the book) …. only to get tossed out onto the sandy shore of Maui.
Yeah. Poor me, right?
This is going to sound “very California,” however allow me to explain: Back in March, during the bitter depths of cold and massive snowdrifts in Chicagoland, I received an email from “my former acupuncturist.” (You see, that does sound really really Californian, doesn’t it?) Anyway, the email came from out of the ethers. She needed somebody to housesit in Maui.
I was at a crossroads. I had an interview to be editor of a top glossy California publication the following day. And then—boom—the email arrived: “Do you want to housesit in Maui?”
I looked up from my computer screen: “Really, Universe? Maui?”
My ego said: “But what about your ‘career,’ Mr. Archer?”
My soul said: “GET YOUR POLISH ASS TO MAUI!”
The latter won out … but not without severe doubt in the midst of financial uncertainty and a series of precarious sanity checks.
And so, here we are. Reading this. I arrived in Maui—lower Kula—last night—and a new adventure begins. But my arrival here brings with it a great deal of uncertainty. What about my publishing career? What about the life I had built up prior to this? What about … the rest of my life? What about security?
What about finding a new home?
It’s the very thing I hope to explore in this blog. (That, and some big doses of Maui culture and heritage and more.)
Home: what is it? Where is it—really? Why do we crave it?
Having come from a family of Polish refugees, this topic intrigues me. What makes us create the kind of “homelife” we create? Or want to? And more importantly, who are we when our “home” is either taken from us or we suddenly find ourselves at a major crossroads in our lives, attempting to discover or rediscover who we really are?
Let the exploring begin. Thanks for being here. And as they say in these parts, “Mahalo!”