The difference a year makes

It's not often that I know precisely where I was one year ago, but this time last year I was boarding a plane with the rest of the Knight-Wallace crew to head to Istanbul. It's incredible to think that it was only a year ago and, also, how much has changed since then. At that time, we were excited about our trip but filled with a nagging sense of melancholy, knowing that the last couple months of the fellowship were awaiting us upon our return. We would be packing up our stuff and returning to our life in St. Louis. Chris would return to the Post-Dispatch and I would return to doing freelance work.

Either the day before the trip or the afternoon we left -- that part is a little fuzzy -- Chris had received a positive response from Mark Cuban to his shot-in-the-dark email trying to gauge Cuban's interest in an investigative reporting website.

And everything changed. Our life today looks nothing like we thought it would a year and a day ago. Cuban went on to partner with Chris and fund what is now, meaning Chris essentially has a dream job where he is his own boss and gets to spend all his time investigating white collar crime, his passion.

I took a short fiction workshop after we returned from Istanbul and when the teacher, Valerie Laken, encouraged me to apply to U-M's MFA program in creative writing, I did. Despite the fact that I hadn't written fiction in nearly 15 years.

Somewhere in there, we made the decision to embark on this new life together here in Ann Arbor. Although I remember discussing it, it wasn't so much a decision as it felt like following a clear path. I still can't explain it, but we both felt right being here -- and that's coming from two people who love St. Louis dearly and hadn't planned on relocating.

So now, here we are. The new year of Fellows have just arrived in Istanbul. Chris is working away on his next big story and working on some plans to expand Sharesleuth. I'm editing the Knight-Wallace newsletter and tackling a few freelance projects while I wait for mid-March to hear about my MFA application.

Our life looks nothing like we expected it to 364 days ago. I'm just sayin'.