Last spring, one of my favourite writers/bloggers/inspirational women Danielle LaPorte, best-selling author of The Fire Starter Sessions and The Desire Map, announced she was starting a magazine. And calling for submissions.
This was the lowdown:
We want your stories, your wisdom, your light. This is our first round of submissions for the inaugural issue of DANIELLE Magazine. This magazine-meets-journal will be unlike anything you’ve seen or read. High-minded, full-hearted, gorgeous — both in PRINT and digital!
I immediately wanted to be a part of it, of course.
Submission categories included “The Best Thing I Ever Did”, “Kindness You’ve Encountered”, and “I Used To Be…Now I Am”, all of which evoked some cool ideas. But there was one theme in particular I felt compelled to write on…
DANIELLE MAGAZINE SUBMISSION: LOVELOVE
Length Requirement: 500-750 words
Tell us your love story. Give us the hows: how you met, how you fell in love, how you feel now. And give us the real-life ups and downs, the issues and obstacles you’ve faced and overcome. Most of all, make us feel the love. We want a fresh, down-to-earth approach to the relationship subject.
At the time I was living in Saskatoon, doing long distance with Joe (who was in Portland) while waiting out our visa process. I missed him terribly. I had already written a little about how we met here on the blog, so I had a starting point. I felt our story was unique, and I really wanted to get published in the magazine. Danielle LaPorte has thousands of people reading her books, her site, her social media. (Her facebook page fan count alone is nearing 70,000). There was a lot of buzz around the magazine. Who knows what becoming a contributor could lead to?
So I stayed up until 2 a.m. the night before the deadline and completed my submission, fine-tuning it over and over to fit within the word count (750 words is not much for a love story!). I sent it in, feeling hopeful, but knowing there would be a ton of submissions, and mine getting chosen was a long shot.
Fast forward to June, when I received this in my inbox:
Congratulations, and Welcome to our magazine.
You’re in! We loved your submission to LoveLove, and we would be honoured to run it in the issue “Your true nature is luminous”.
Our art department will be in touch regarding imagery, and our submissions team will be in touch for your details.
We’re making something beautiful for the world.
With much gratitude,
I was thrilled. I immediately shared the news with Joe, my dad, and my close friend Sarah. (I told Joe he had to wait until the story was published to read it—more fun that way.) The team asked for several photos of the two of us, which I sent in, imagining potential layouts in my mind.
Could this be a new turning point in my career? It sure felt like it.
Over the winter, the editor of the magazine also hired me to write an article called “In the Dark”, on floatation tanks. I researched for days (I knew nothing about floating prior), and wrote the piece, plus a sidebar detailing float locations around the world. I was paid for both contributions, with the door open for writing future articles. The magazine was to launch this May, and would include my bio and link to my site.
Fast forward to last month. My inbox.
Sweet, Smart Danielle Magazine Contributors,
Creativity is change.
Can you tell I’m leading up to something?
THIS: I’ve decided not to go ahead with DANIELLE Magazine.
(I think some sighing and teeth clenching occurred at this point in reading the email.)
There’s actually no back story, no drama, no implosion-like circumstance behind the decision. It came down to a matter of focus. And lifestyle. And grace. Do I want to make a gorgeous print magazine that would lift hearts, feed minds, and rumble the publishing industry? Fuck, yes. Do I have other things that are currently soaring that I’m just as devoted to? Yes! Devotion to current reality wins.
(Want. More. Details.)
That’s all. It was an easy decision to make, actually, because I’m really really clear that I want a small company of strong and healthy women. So, we made a choice for wellness and quality — both, quality of life, and quality of creativity.
We’re going to use much of the magazine content on my site throughout the year. Watch that space — it’s about to expand, and deepen.
Thank you for believing, for writing, making, creating. What we began will blossom, in a new garden.
I’m not gonna lie, I was really disappointed. It felt like a huge opportunity had deflated in an instant. But I respect Danielle for making the choice that was right for and her creative path. (Check out her lessons from the experience on her post “How to Let Go of A Dream”.)
And! I have a blog. Which in essence is my own magazine, my digital world where I write, create, and express myself to an audience of readers regularly. So I decided my love story should be shared here, with you guys.
As I said, this was written last year (some of you might recognize the intro, from this post) before Joe and I got married in our wild and wonderful typhoon wedding. We celebrated our six-month anniversary last month, and the love between us just grows deeper.
Three summers ago I boarded a bus in South Korea, heading to a festival in a town called Boryeong. I wasn’t thinking about husbands. I was thinking about the beach ahead, and the beer in my bag. If one of the friends with me had said, “Your future husband’s going to be on this bus,” I would have laughed; I would have bet my life he wasn’t.
My future husband sat three rows behind me. If his eyes hadn’t been as blue or if I had taken a different bus, we probably would never have met. But his eyes were blue and they were beaming. I saw them, kept turning around in my seat to see them again.
Joe is from Chicago and I’m from Victoria. In Korea he commuted 40 minutes from his apartment in Jangsan to my apartment in Yeonsan-dong, riding three subways in the winter dark so we could spend our nights together. “I don’t mind,” he said, again and again.
I don’t mind didn’t prevent me from fearing that he might stop arriving, stop standing over a pan in my small kitchen each Saturday morning, frying eggs for us to share in bed, stop writing words like tropical island getaway on the list of things we planned to do together, stop listening when I told him of my mother’s surgeries, of my brother’s addictions, of the depression that clung to me the year I turned 21. “I don’t mind,” he’d say again, and I started to believe he would continue arriving, that this man wasn’t going to walk out of my life like the other men I had loved or thought I might love.
Joe is 26. I’m 34. He was born the year I started grade three. While he was racing sticks with his brother and sister down the creek behind his backyard, I was moving out, taking ecstasy at raves, serving tables at an Italian restaurant, saving for a year away in Europe.
I have a degree in writing and Joe has a degree in biology. Med school is a mountain before us, high in the nearing distance, with a lot of dreams on the other side. Maybe we will live in Haiti one day, or Uganda. Maybe Joe will start a clinic in a neighbourhood where too many people are dying. Maybe I will write about their lives.
Our home is in Portland now, but I’m in Saskatoon. My dad and stepmom have welcomed me to stay with them while Joe and I wait for my K1 Fiance Visa to be approved, a process we started months ago. The list of things we want to do together when I return is growing: hike up to Pittock Mansion and watch the sunset; bike ride across the river to Mt. Tabor; gourmet picnic in the rose garden. Our time apart will culminate with an interview at the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver, where I’ll show photos to Consulate officials of Joe and I on a ski hill in Korea; in the Thar desert in Rajasthan; of us standing with his parents on their deck in Illinois; with my mom in her kitchen in Victoria.
I worry that the eight years between us is pulling Joe too quickly into his future, into facing the potential of becoming a father and a med school student at the same time. He worries that the demands of learning to become a doctor will force him to miss too many moments in the life of the child we hope to have. It would be easier, we both know, if I was younger. If we could wait a little longer. But eight years didn’t matter when I leaned against him on the backs of motorcycles, sun blazing our necks, winding past Land For Sale signs in Lombok, Indonesia, green, green, surrounding us all the way to the horizon. I am hopeful that eight years won’t matter when we hear the cries of a soul we’ve created, when we begin teaching a child how to embrace their tiny place in the world.
This fall we will marry each other on a beach near a forest on the Oregon Coast. When I imagine this moment I see us standing next to a row of trees. My hands are in his hands and the tide is pulling out, the sun low, not sunset, but late late afternoon when everything shifts to gold and the whole evening lies ahead, the stars preparing to glow.
(I love you, Joe!)
Thanks for reading, friends.
Danielle photo credit: Taylor Allen
Wedding photo credit: Melissa McFadden
ps. Other relationship posts. Including Honeymoon Highlights and Relationship Wisdom From My Ladies