Sarah Wolfgang is a former community journalist who’s left footprints—size 8.5 pre-pregnancy, size 9 post-pregnancy—in her beats in Massachusetts and Florida. She’s also taught English, worked in libraries, and once made serious inquiries into owning an ice cream truck. Specifically, she’s always dreamed of being a comedian; practically, considering the degrees she has, she’s figured she’d do something English-y; and generally, she’s just known she wanted to be “Awesome,” in whatever capacity that took. At the moment, being “Awesome” has meant finding playdates for her two toddler boys that involve lots of excitingly packaged snacks and lots of running, which, sometimes—Puh-leeeeeeeease! Let it be today!—results in synchronized napping. She continually finds herself drawn to people’s big quests for meaning, the connections between people’s inner lives and the places they travel, peeking over other people’s shoulders wondering what’s in their navels, and, when she had a job in an office, office party cakes—cake!
In 2007, she quit her job as a reporter and teamed with her Dad for a three-week trip through twenty-one states and roughly 5,400 miles in his big rig. She wrote a road trip memoir about their journey and is currently taking the first steps (mainly checking Gmail every five minutes to see if the agent has emailed her) toward seeing it published. While she feels she deserves a CB handle that evokes ultimate coolness, something like “Mother Trucker” or “Chainsaw’s Cousin,” these days Sarah’s handle would look more like “Butt Wiper” or “Curious George Enabler” as she spends her 9-5 with her mini cranky, crazy, giggly Spanglish-speaking goofball kids and her 5-9-sometimes-10 with her husband, Roberto.
Getting’ Bloggy wit It
Back in 2011 as I started hardcore courting Roberto, I desperately had to know his birth date, time, and place to plug into Astrodienst.com and reveal what his sun sign, rising sign, and moon sign were and if he and I were compatible. (Yes, it’s odd and disconcerting to me, too, that I place so much confidence in hunks of rock and balls of gas to tell me what to do, but it’s something I’ve come to accept.) Shockingly, I found he was a Cancer. I’m a Libra. I had not had a good dating track record with Cancers. I had read that Cancers are more conservative, practical, and withdrawn while Libras are more extravagant, impractical, and social. Cancers want to connect emotionally. All. The. Time. Libras are more interested in a mental connection—once in a while and with many people. (Hence the blog.) Libras are more open, etc. You get the idea. Thankfully, though, there is more to a person than just a sun sign and also sanity prevailed, realizing I was very happy with Roberto and wherever the sun was when he was born, and, y’know, maybe I was mistaken about lumping all Cancers together, and a few years later, we had the wedding of my dreams: unplanned, unscheduled, $32.50 at the Sarasota Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller, surrounded by enough funny family members to fit in a van, America’s number one beaches, and pulled pork.
Together, he and I have created two high-energy kids, and we’ve constructed what I like to call “The Shell.” As a Libra in the Gemini decan with a Gemini Rising, I typically like my life to feel dynamic. I like being comfy and doing nothing, sure, but I also enjoy drinking as much coffee as possible so I can talk and move really fast, jumping from one stimulating experience to the next. Roberto, on the other hand, while freakishly athletic (It’s those Incan genes. Did I mention he’s from Peru?) and mostly outgoing, usually goes for what he knows: foods that have previously proven good, curling up to watch futbol with some chocolate milk, surrounding himself with family. He likes being “safe.” “Safe,” he recently told me, “Is the new fun.” So, to blend our styles, we make “The Shell” mobile. We take the safety of the family and move it around trying slightly new experiences. When we’ve tried things that are too new, too radical—too unsafe—if Roberto or I or the kids have been apart too long— we say “Shell Contracting! Shell Contracting!” and we come home, get into something just one level above underwear and hang out watching “our stories” on Netflix, eating some high-in-fat carbohydrate. When we want to get “The Shell” out of Gainesville and see something new, expand, see a sunset on a new horizon, we say “Shell Expanding! Shell Expanding!” It happens, but lately—probably for the both of us since the kids were born—not enough.
So, I started this blog to chronicle my out-of-The-Shell journey through the process of becoming a published author. As I’ve been going through the process, I haven’t found too many voices in the Internet jungles (Wha?!!! a new blog is created somewhere in the world every half a second) talking about regular people—mom-type regular people especially—who don’t have much of a platform, free time, or industry know-how to succeed with great nonfiction books they’ve spent years writing but haven’t had time to rack up bazillions of Twitter followers for. I want to be a helpful voice. One that brings myself and others to the next level. I also want to record my journey back to being someone cool. Someone cool-er! I want to rebrand being a stay-at-home mom. Maybe not for the whole world, but for me at least. I want to model being a balanced, cool, happy human being for my kids as a Gen Xer/Millennial in the shadow of all the grand, outsized expectations of the American Dream of working yourself to death, being model-thin postpartum, having lots of money and perfect kids who excel at everything in the midst of modern fast-paced insanity. I want to interview others who are on their big quests for meaning, which can be spiritual or not, in this day and age. These odysseys can involve big rigs, microscopes, motorcycles, double rainbows, or staying put. I have no idea how to be happy staying put. I’m into finding out why people have landed where they have and all the hows involved. I’m into stories, big or little. What has led people to the geographies, jobs, quests, loves they’ve chosen? Sometimes there’s a good story there. Sometimes, of course, there’s not. But I want to hear about it all, how we’re all finding our weird ways in this sometimes big and scary world. Because, as The Shell-accepted children’s programming has taught me…
You’ll never be bored
If you ask yourself, what is this?
Like curious, like curious, like Curious George
This is that journey. It’s not Beyond The Shell. It’s Within The Shell, The Shell Expanding.