Six months ago, I walked to work one morning. It’s a thirty-five minute walk from my house to the CBC. I walked and I thought. The book I am writing was tugging on my sleeve. The view from my garden was playing on my mind. A hundred tasks I’d put aside were nagging my to-do list. The work-out I hadn’t done that morning was waiting impatiently for me to notice it.
I walked and I thought. I had a plan. Plan 2017. By the fall of 2017, according to my plan, my book would be done and ready to launch. I’d be embarking on a book tour, and, the plan was, I’d leave CBC and slide back into my interrupted life as a writer. The work toward that goal was obvious: get finances in order. Figure out an independent health benefits package. Line up some freelance clients. Develop more writing workshop teaching opportunities. Get an agent. Get a publisher. Finish the book. Plan 2017 was a good plan.
Thing was, I realized as I walked, the fall of 2017 was more than two years away. And my footsteps were heavy with dread. I had begun falling out of love with CBC as a workplace a year before. Every show felt like a huge uphill push. Increasing workload, decreasing resources, massive workplace uncertainty. a lack of leadership. My colleagues were still the dedicated, creative, hard-working, amazing, inspiring people they’d always been, but the place itself, the work, was starting to crush me.
By the time I rounded the corner that brought the building’s logos into view I knew: work was no longer working for me. It wasn’t working for my body. It wasn’t working for my mind. It wasn’t working for my spirit. And it definitely wasn’t working for my writing. When I started at CBC, I made a deal with myself that if it started to interfere too much with my writing, I’d choose writing. Even though hosting Mainstreet is a great job. Even though writing doesn’t pay.
And so I made the decision, back in June. I would leave before year’s end. And now here we are. Most of Plan 2017’s items are undone. It doesn’t matter. To be the host of Mainstreet, you’ve gotta be all in. To write books, you’ve gotta be all in. You can’t do both. Well, maybe you can. I couldn’t. Well, I could, for two books’ worth. Anyhow.
I have no regrets. I am not afraid, I am not sad. I wish the best for my colleagues and my show. I have loved talking to you on the radio every day for the last seven years. And I love the idea of not doing it anymore.
Thank you for listening. You gave me a gift the size and shape of which I will wrestle with for some time yet. I hope I gave you something too. Thanks for listening to Mainstreet today. And thanks for letting me go.
40 responses to “Thanks for listening”
I enjoyed your show but am happy for you to be following your passion. Someone great will take up the reins. What an exciting future we all have!
Thanks for saying so, Megan!
All of us are going to be poorer for your absence from Mainstreet but I wholeheartedly support you doing what your heart calls you to do (even though I’d like to have a friendly chat with Old Man Luedecke 😉 ). I’m consoling myself with the thought that we might get the next book sooner. (No pressure!)
I read Homing and Fallsy Downsies as e-books borrowed from the library but I’m making a pledge: I’m going to purchase both of those as physical books and will do the same when your next is published. And the next, and the next …
Wishing you all the peace and contentment in the world as you make your joy on your own.
PS: House of Cards S04 starts March 4!
Bethany! Thank you for this. It was great to get to know you a little through the radio. I hope to see you around. I’m terrible with faces now, so please remind me who you are if we encounter each other. As for House of Cards…I am on tenterhooks! Did you watch the trailer?
Huge decision, but congrats on following your gut. Enjoy the freedom to write and live with your characters full-time!
Thanks Jan! Hope you’re well!
You’ll be missed by so many. Congratulations on having the courage to choose your life!! Another gift to your audience as a role model. 🙂
That’s a lovely thing to say, Krista. Thank you!
Dear Stephanie….You are a very courageous woman and I applaud your determination to keep writing uppermost in your mind! Wishing you well as you bid adieu to Mother Corp.
Godspeed, dear heart. I believe in you; and I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next! Ariel
Will miss your cheery voice on the radio, Steph. May the writing flow swimmingly well for you. You’ll do fine, and better than fine. And maybe beat the goutweed, too. 😉
Oh Jodi, writing novels is a snap compared to overcoming the demon weed!
We loved you here on the radio but if your heart is not in it, follow your heart. Good luck and best wishes for your future.
Thank you for understanding, Carey!
I’m happy to one of those people that will always get to hear your voice. Can’t believe the day has finally arrived. I am so pumped for you! Follow the dream.
Thanks Donna!!! You’ll be hearing my voice in person in seven or eight days. Probably hearing it so much you’ll wish I’d just…you know…shut up for ten minutes.
You go Girl !!! I’m cheering you on !!
I sure will miss hearing you , listening to you , learning with you and by you , laughing , crying with you , being awed and shamed with you !!! Steph you have brought us so much .!!!!
I am so proud of you to listen to the whisper …..
Can’t wait for the next book 🙂
Love ya xoxo
Congratulations on making this significant shift. I’m going to miss hearing you on the radio because you were great at it, but boy, do your reasons for leaving ever ring true. I’ve had one or two similar walks myself in my life, and what I learned from them is this: the conditions for leaving are rarely perfect, but the price of staying can be soul-crushingly high–and you’ll be amazed at the possibilities that open up when you’re no longer spending most of your energy trying to make a crummy situation livable. Good luck!
Kim! I’ve long admired your work; thanks for your kind words here.
Reblogged this on and commented:
You see, when one realizes that something has to change, one must act.
Cailin wrestled the same when deciding to quit being a professional graphic designer and go full-time into being a creative artist, painter and songwriter and performer.
It’s a struggle at times but we are happy.
Thanks for this!
Congratulations on giving yourself the opportunity follow your chosen path. O courageous one!
Thank you, Stephanie, for the gift you’ve given our city over the past seven years. Your voice has inspired, consoled, and lightened me time and again. You began at CBC when I first moved to Halifax, and after being away for a while, I’ve learned that I associate your voice with a feeling of home. Best of luck with your new endeavors! You will be greatly missed.
Thanks for these kind words!
I just enjoyed your last show – you may not have cried, but my eyes got a little damp! I’ll really miss your quick wit and the warmth you always managed to demonstrate over the airwaves. Enjoy the freedom of the road that lies ahead, and I’m looking forward to seeing/hearing/reading you, wherever you may pop up next. ❤
Thank you, Sara!
‘Early retirement’ from a job feels like that. I have done it a few times.
Bonne chance. I will miss you.
Oh Stephanie! I am of two minds. Sad and will miss you hugely! Happy you are pursuing your writing passion, following your heart, chasing your dreams!
I’ve been off on maternity leave for some time now and haven’t been a regular listener… no commute to and from my current work place! But I happened upon you a day or so saying that you had only days to go. I shall miss your “Hey there….” on my drive home. But there is something wildly freeing about moving away from a job that doesn’t bring you the joy it once did. Thanks you for your work and enjoy your time writing. You have given us far more than storm chips. 🙂
Jenn, thank you for saying so!
Enjoy, your heart is telling you what to do. I did that two years ago and no regrets, you are leaving room for something much more in keeping with your souls work. Best of luck and God’s speed.
Thanks for understanding, Lynn!
Good for you Stephanie. Your voice and your laugh, your insight and your compassion, your wit and your wisdom…all will be missed. But you want to write and your decision will take you on the right path. Could not but think of Robert Frost when you described your walk…
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller…
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood and I –
I took the one less travelled by
And that has made all the difference.
Thanks so much, Honor! If you’re in touch with Ms Rotatore, will you let her know what I’m up to? She was massively inspirational to me.