Abrupt Change in Plans


In a move that makes no sense to anyone except Amanda, Amanda decided to briefly pause work on her current manuscript to shift gears and focus her attention on a separate project that has captured her attention.

It is clear that most people would find it illogical to stop in the middle of an intense project to create something brand new and unrelated. However, to diehard creative Amanda, this is normal, typical practice. She is accustomed to working on and finishing projects that consume her passion, rather than trying to neatly check things off a tidy list.

So where does that leave Amanda’s work-in-progress, the untitled memoir that captures the good and bad and ties everything together with faith? Easy. When Amanda has time, she’ll work on that manuscript in small increments of time. In the meantime, Amanda is putting all her energies into one new creative basket of writing that has her basically shell-shocked with emotion.

For several months since the pandemic shut things down, Amanda has been in back-and-forth e-mail communications and some heated discussions with the dance studio where her daughters attend. Things started off strange and rapidly declined, causing a great deal of confusion and perhaps uncomfortable tension among the parents.

Amanda had tried unsuccessfully to contact the studio and others working with the studio to try to get some answers. There were rumors circulating that put the dance studio in a very negative light, causing almost irreparable public relations damage. Well, Amanda used her background in investigative journalism to get to the bottom of things using the proper channels “by the book.”

Well, playing “nice” got her nowhere. No sooner had Amanda reached out to the appropriate people to begin her investigative inquiry in a wholly professional manner, that the first news story about the dance studio was published the very next day, making Amanda’s professional, calm query seem too little too late. Amanda was too late to write about the venerable dance studio that captured her heart several years before.

Ever since that first news story broke in late June, Amanda has tried in vain to continue upholding standards of professionalism, courtesy, and journalistic ethics by continuing to pursue the story quietly, elegantly, and respectfully.

The thing that kept popping up into Amanda’s mind is that she was not affiliated with the major newspaper from Washington, D.C. and had not been hired by them to report on the dance studio. Most people in the D.C. metropolitan area respect everything reported by that newspaper, citing its news stories for just about everything.

Amanda couldn’t help thinking that if she contacted the dance studio and announced she was writing on behalf of that newspaper, she would have gotten a lot more respect and credibility to move forward with the story. This is what happens to a solo, unattached freelancer – – trying to find breaks in the business is hard! Freelancers have to pave their own way and develop their own relationships with publications through hard work and persistence. Amanda was doing all that and then some.

Amanda basically got nowhere on her own, continuing to attempt in vain to reach the studio and receive official comments to help satisfy her growing intrigue and curiosity with what exactly was going on with the dance studio. More news stories came out and even a social petition demanding change was starting to put the dance studio on the map.

Amanda tried so very hard to compose detailed, thoughtful, persuasive queries and e-mail them to local publications that would appreciate a well-written evolution of the dance studio. It would be easy to say that Amanda got turned down, but it was worse than that. Amanda’s queries went ignored. There is no way to tell if Amanda’s e-mails were delivered, received, or read. There is always that room for doubt in favor of the publications.

But still, it was odd that Amanda was persistent and still professional in her approach to reach out to publications who would likely accept written stories about the developments of a local dance studio. Nothing.

After all this happened, let’s just say, as many people lie quoting in brusque language, “S%$& just got real!”. Yes, to deal with the excrement, Amanda kept at it, persistently, patiently, and respectfully just waiting her turn. In the meantime, at least 100 more developments in the leadership and public relations communications from the dance studio slowly got delivered to parents, like Amanda, who basically waited with bated breath to finally get the answers she was desperately looking for.

After months of playing the waiting game and becoming exasperated with publications that received Amanda’s queries and never responded, August 17 came and created an important milestone that would put things into perspective.

In the late afternoon on Monday, August 17, Amanda received an important e-mail from the interim executive director of the dance studio. The purpose of the email was to inform parents that a ZOOM phone call the next day (Tuesday the 18th) would feature a “frank conversation” about the future of the dance studio. Finally, there was going to be exact information that Amanda had been waiting to receive for a long time.

On August 18, Amanda received the news she had only heard as rumor, but was never confirmed officially by the studio itself. With that information clearly spoken in black-and-white during the ZOOM phone call, Amanda finally laid to rest any good memories she had about the dance studio. For a long time, Amanda had suspected that the dance studio had “died” and things would never be the same. Well, Amanda’s worst fears were confirmed when the unthinkable happened.

Now, it made sense why the publications had ignored Amanda’s repeated queries and persistence in getting them to hire her to write a detailed account about the dance studio for them. Because God clearly didn’t want it that way. It is very likely that God caused something to affect or influence the minds of the editors, making them focus heavily on other pressing stories and not finding importance in the dance studio story. Who knows. No one will ever know. Amanda will never find out that truth.

One thing that Amanda DOES know for a fact is that she has learned to carefully listen to her inner spirit. When something positive happens, it is because God has carefully orchestrated it to her favor. When something that Amanda desperately wanted does not come to fruition, as in the present case of writing about the developments of the dance studio on behalf of local publications, it is clearly because that journalism assignment wasn’t meant to be. It was not in God’s plan, so he didn’t allow it to happen.

Amanda is satisfied and happy that things didn’t work out because in the late afternoon on August 18, a few hours after the ZOOM call, it occurred to Amanda for the first time that SHE is the one who can tell her story about the dance studio in the best way. Without dealing with editors and people who may try to block her message or get her to approach an angle that doesn’t share what Amanda wants to share, Amanda has full creative freedom to pursue the dance studio story on her terms.

Nothing is more joyful than that. Please stay tuned for more updates.

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