Heidi Isern

writer. thinker. whiskey drinker.

Re-inventing Writing and the British Invasion

“Hi Heidi.” A voice interrupted my 180 rpm workout at the gym. “Are you adjusted to being back in San Francisco yet?”

I wiped the sweat off my brow and smiled silently, not knowing how to answer the question.  I was still figuring things out, making mistakes, learning, trying, exploring……I wasn’t sure if this was part of the adjustment process or counter to it.

Driving across the country to the echoes of women’s voices had transformed me.  Writing stories along the open road had liberated my spirit, allowing me to deeply connect to the diversity within our county.

Trying to keep up the same spirit during the past month of ‘San Francisco re-immersion’ has been terrifying. I struggle to keep the soul of my work alive.  Societal pressure abounds and threatens to twist me back into the same patterns I left.  In the past month I’ve made my share of mistakes while fighting to define myself in a new world.  I have leapt into arms impulsively, ended friendships rashly, gone vegan, gone carnivore, cried in the rain, and sang in the shower.  I have been both a socialite and a recluse.  And I have been naked.

The only consistency in my life has been writing.  Every day.  Following the advice in the Anne Lamott writing book, Bird By Bird, I was making progress, word by word.  Beautiful women sent me positive messages as my fuel for continuation.  “I am going through that too,” one said.   “I am now inspired to think differently” texted another.  “I also shot Jäger during the World Series win,” wrote a third.  However, the majority of the encouraging notes came from friends, a loose circle of acquaintances, and my mother.  It dawned on me that most people would not read the stories until I got a book out; a time-table I am still working through.

I needed to change course.  I needed to reach more women more quickly.  I felt an overwhelming urge to unite us all through the commonality of our struggles, dreams, and let’s face it, female neuroses.  More than one of us has a Ferris wheel for a mind.

As fate would have it my desire for a larger platform coincided with something called the San Francisco British invasion.  Over the weekend multiple accented entrepreneurs landed in San Francisco.  I found myself in the middle of social media networking madness. People from Skype, Facebook and new startups rubbed elbows in exclusive events and dark whisky bars.  The young entrepreneurs effused spirit, all seeking to improve the world around us via innovative social media platforms. I got to know the likes of groupspaces.com where I can manage a community, bravenewtalent.com where I can find a job, and justspotted.com where I can stalk Jake Gyllenhaal.  Everyone was intoxicated on ideas for a more engaged society.  And it was happening here, in the very city I had once sworn off as stagnant.  San Francisco was anything but dormant.  I had shifted the kaleidoscope and now saw my city as a dreamland of possibility.

Inspired by progressive ways for human connection, I knew that I needed to change my current writing medium from dusty parchment to the ipad screen, allowing online communities to participate and dance with my words.  By offering their thoughts and reflections, women across the nation could help each other.  No time like the present.  I called web designers and pulled out templates for creative briefs.

I spent the weekend in my pajamas drinking multiple cups of coffee, drafting copy, creating mockups, and brainstorming a social media strategy.  My music alternated between Basement Jaxx and Velvet Underground.  I ate stale cereal for dinner.  I felt like a programmer, minus the fact I know not a lick of code.  The final answer, and a new website is now in process.

I hope to take The Untaken Road to a whole new highway infrastructure.  I want my readers, however many of them, to help me shape the final work.  After all, The Untaken Road isn’t just my story.  It is all of ours.

Throw your dream into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, or a new country. -Anais Nin

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