How I Ended Up in Villisca

mapKay Kauffman had an awesome – and creative – post on her blog that gave the “directions of her life” to tell you how to follow the path she took to end up where she is. I liked that post. In fact I liked it so much that I am stealing the idea. Enjoy.

  1. Start at the Methodist Hospital in Omaha in the sick baby ward because your mom is sick. As the only healthy baby in the ward make so many friends that the nurses cry when you leave.
  2. Go home with said mother and father to Shenandoah. Get a little brother. Learn your ABCs and how to draw noses.
  3. Move to the outskirts of Coin on a dead end road. Lose your cable and all your favorite TV shows (like Battle of the Planets). Go to a consolidated school. Make a best friend. Watch her house burn down and then watch her move away. Repeat this every year (sans the house fire), for seven years. Become known as “the girl who can draw”.
  4. Become best friends with a girl you have ridden the bus with for six years. Though you don’t know it, you will still be friends with her years from now. Have some crushes, none of which pan out. Write your first “book” and follow it up with seven more that only three people ever read.
  5. Wear combat boots and flannel and learn to be really sarcastic. Take lots of art classes and go driving around until all hours of the night. Be encouraged by your awesome Creative Writing teacher.
  6. Visit Mt. Pleasant with mother, but stay with father in Coin. Finally get a boyfriend. Break up. Have girly sleepovers. Go cruising at midnight. End up at Junior prom with a guy in his twenties. Start smoking. Start drinking. Get new boyfriend from Omaha (also in his twenties, but at least younger). Start your “masterpiece” novel.
  7. Finally move to Mt. Pleasant for your senior year because you “know you are supposed to”. Discover that it is like living on a TV show and that no one KNOWS you. Shed the “girl who can draw” label and make new friends. Get a boyfriend. Meet his much better looking friend who you “know” you should date, but still take several months to get him to figure out that you like him. Hang out at the square, throw ice at cars, play CB tag in the freezing cold.
  8. Graduate. Skip college. Get a job. Move in with the hot friend/boyfriend. Almost set first apartment on fire with a good luck candle. Get a new job. Get pregnant. Miscarry. Get engaged at a Halloween party. Finish “masterpiece novel” which you later realize is horrible. Move to bigger apartment. Enjoy the biggest, best kitchen you will ever have. Get married. Hang out with crazy friends. Enjoy having company at all hours. Buy your first computer.
  9. Visit Fair Play, Missouri to meet hubby’s estranged father. Realize that you are “supposed to” move there. Pack everything you own. Take twelve hours to drive the six hour trip, and arrive to find that the house you rented was trashed by the people who were supposed to clean it. Swear never to move long distance again. Learn to use Paint Shop Pro. Get online for the first time. Make your first website. Get cat.
  10. Have landlord sell house out from under you. Move to a three room apartment outside of Bolivar. Get another cat. Let your writing and drawing fall off except for computer art.
  11. Start going to Iowa to stay with the mother. Hop back and forth so much you’re not even sure who gets to claim you on taxes. Play Roller-coaster tycoon. Finally get mom to move in with brother.
  12. Make friends in Bolivar. Spend lots of time at their house. Get another cat. Have mom and brother move nearby. Enjoy family time, though father refuses to move to Missouri. Barely get on computer.
  13. Discover Yahoo groups. Join a paper doll group and start drawing again. Make friends in the Harry Potter group. Start writing again so you can join the RP thread with the “cool kids”. Help your mom get disability. Become computer addicted.
  14. Discover NaNoWriMo. Write a vampire novel. Join MySpace. Start blogging. Get diagnosed with Sjogrens. Go to Virginia on vacation. Have a friend offer to edit vampire novel. Edit. Edit. Edit. Query Agents. Get turned down. Have another friend talk you into self publishing. Get scared. Research a lot. Finally dive in. Answer Mark Coker’s call for book cover artists.
  15. Write a second book. And a third. And a fourth. Make lots of book covers for people. Go through cats. Get a couple of dogs. Say goodbye to your father in-law. Write another book. Realize you have been in your apartment for twelve years. Discuss buying a house. Get refused for a loan. Have your water heater explode and get “kicked out” while your landlords redo the place. Find a better apartment in Bolivar and move in your mom and brother. Look for a house to buy together. Write another book. Say goodbye to your mother-in-law. Find a super cheap house in Villisca, Iowa. Buy with inheritance and brother’s settlement money.
  16. Move to new house. Start learning DIY. Finally start NOT killing plants. Try to juggle renovations, book covers, writing, cleaning, and family. Get frustrated a lot. Hang out with best friend from #5. Rediscover the joy of cornfields and small towns. Celebrate sixteen years married to that hot friend from Mt. Pleasant. Start writing another book. Never forget that you are blessed in a million, billion ways. Bore people with a long winded blog.

I think that about covers it. I tried to leave out all the missteps and wrong turns because I wanted to save you time (It will already take you almost thirty-six years to do all of this), but then again it’s the mistakes that make us who we are.

So where did you end up in life, and what would the directions to follow in your footsteps look like?

About Joleene Naylor

An independent author, freelance artist, and photographer for fun who loves anime, music, and writing. Check out my vampire series Amaranthine at or drop me a line at

One response to “How I Ended Up in Villisca”

  1. Kay Kauffman says :

    That’s a long and winding road! Mine is so much back and forth that I find it rather funny. Glad I could inspire you! Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

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