Bookstore Over, Midlife Crisis Averted


Dear Henry,

There has been a lot going on. Let's catch up.

I've had a hard time getting settled in Virginia, and I couldn't figure out why; it's exactly what we were looking for. Fish and I stumbled upon the perfect community service project (The Old Lick Cemetery) almost immediately after arriving, and we also found our "dream" home here (a cabin in the mountains with a creek running through the property).  The Roanoke/Salem/Vinton area is big enough to have attractions and close enough to Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, and Richmond to take advantage of "big city" amenities. Finally, there is a ton of history and scenic views, all within a day's drive of our home.

Still, I've been having a hard time settling in. 

Ever since the injuries from "the accident" caught up with me nine years ago and forced an early retirement, I've spent a great deal of time "getting ready." Fish and I were still being relocated frequently because of his job, and there was always a house to "get ready" to sell and move to "get ready" to make. I worked on my photography and blogs (see and to read the other two) around our moves and renovations but never felt I devoted enough time to them to make them successful and instead "got ready" for the time I could spend the time to them. 

Then we moved to the Roanoke area, found the perfect house outside Salem, Virginia, and made home. I thought, "Okay, the writing and photography should be easy now." But no, it hasn't been easy, and I couldn't settle into that role."

The only way I know to get over angst is, to borrow a phrase from the great Baroness Orczy, a "plebian" one, hence the part-time job at the bookstore. While there, I was able to sort out a great many things, the most significant being I'm in far too much pain and have too much PTSD to work in customer service for long periods. People are mean, corporate decisions are stupid, and I don't have the patience for any of it.  Fortunately, before I got too salty and got fired, my mother decided to lose her mind so completely that I needed to quit to arrange for her full-time care, a situation that has been entirely unpleasant and brought out every skeleton and piece of baggage that only an addict and sexual predator can possess.

Yay, life.

My time at the bookstore wasn't entirely unproductive. I've also realized that my biggest problem with my photography and blogs has been self-promotion. I need to improve at that, so I did my first public art event since the old gallery days at a craft festival in Christiansburg over the Fourth of July. It went terribly, but I could see why immediately, and these things are fixable. I think I'll be getting out and about more.

I've also come to realize that rest isn't always about stopping.  Sometimes, what we need is a change of pace, and the bookstore did provide that. However, I'm going to really miss the discount.

But now, it's back to work!  I still have tons of books to read, flowers to find, and a Camino to prepare for.

And now, I'll be working on this full-time.

xoxo a.d. elliott 


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, photographer, and storyteller currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at, you can also read her book reviews at and US military biographies at

Her online photography gallery can be found at


Like my page? Please consider supporting my work by visiting my sponsors, my webshop, or by buying me a cup of coffee!