So instead I’m saying, until.

I’ve adored this community and the diverse backgrounds and aspirations and viewpoints of the women in it. Clare and Stacy, kudos to you both for providing the needle and thread that stitched us together.

My most significant takeaway from this experience was that I was inspired to be less guarded in what I put out there. I savored the gorgeous writing done by so many bright, funny, sweet, brazen women, and it spurred me to be bolder. As much of an opinionated little crank as I can be, sometimes all that brass is just in my head or what I share behind closed doors with a chosen few. But in this case, I didn’t worry about what potential clients might think. What strangers would think. What other readers of any other sort would think. I wrote what my heart compelled and it was incredibly gratifying and fulfilling.

I’m also curious (some call it nosy) by nature, so I loved the way everyone so eagerly added slices of their lives to a communal pie. And it was a pie we could eat with our hands. No formalities. No need for polished cutlery or dainty plates.

In 4.5 weeks I’ll be on a plane for Barcelona. We’ll rest up there for a couple days and then head to the French village of Roquebrun, my home for at least the next year. One of the things that keeps my fears about this move from giving me a brain wedgie is that so many of you have transplanted yourselves, have left the familiar to wend your way through the unfamiliar. Sure, your reasons for doing so may be different from mine, but it shores me up to know you’re out there and are thriving.

Warm wishes to you all. I’m still not saying good-bye, dammit.

À la tienne!

Melissa, 39, Atlanta, USA My blogs: Hatchlings & The Other 334 Days