Monday, March 5, 2018

Scenes from My New Life

Reading and writing all day long, from 5 in the morning until 9 at night, with breaks for napping, eating, solitaire.

Aching to tell everyone in the world about a thing happening this Thursday (I think), but trying not to, in case it falls through. Telling probably too many people anyway. Hurry up, Thursday.

Severely alienating an editor by accident, but feeling bad only interpersonally (not professionally), because doubtful that I'll write anything that fits this market again. Joking with another editor about Buddy Christ in discussing a serious, snoot-de-la-toot review.

Looking at the month as an empty vessel which I must fill with dollars exchanged for hours of my time.

Terror. Bliss. Both straight to the vein.

Meeting one deadline after another for the end of February. Shooting out the ducks in the range, bang, bang, bang, until there is just one left. A little one, themed issue, February 28 deadline, not that important but kind of interesting. February 27: sitting in the CSUN class I'm assisting on a day when I don't really need to be there, paying no attention, writing, dashing off, a tiny short piece on the themed issue. Not even sleeping on it, just sending it in. Bang.

Feeling such relief I thought I'd flatten, like a balloon with all the air gone. I did it. I met all the deadlines. I have lost track of how many there were that I met. (Tried to research it for this post and could not even tell if it was less or greater than ten.) Drop the little interesting deadline entirely out of my thoughts, because I don't expect to hear about it for months and I dashed that thing off in like an hour and there's no money so who cares. The point is I threw my hat in the ring. February 28: receive email saying the dashed-off piece is going to be published and will I please sign this contract? Crack up so loudly and longly that my co-worker asks and I tell her the whole story.

Excitement crackling across the line when my friend tells me about her thesis and how the storm of it gathers inside her. I feel bad charging her but I am freelance now and my time is worth money. Must be worth money.

Scrolling through sent emails with no memory of all these pitches. Once, eight in a day.

Getting solicited to do an interview and write a few reviews. Realizing getting solicited to write could happen again. Feeling impostor syndrome for the first time in many years, then reminding myself that my website doesn't lie, I did write all those things. It's real.

Stefan Bucher. From here.

Piling all the galleys up and then re-sorting them, realizing okay, it's not so bad, I can do this. Holes in the calendar for June and July. Hmm.

Fixing things in my house. Mounting a shelf I've had in pieces since October. Hanging three-dimensional art with massive, rejected hooks (long story). Finally sorting out my closet (dresses on one side, cardigans on the other). Staring at my work shoes. Pitching two places with an essay about my work shoes. Changing the goddamn sheets. Six loads of laundry in four days. Box up the too-small pants. Break down the Leaning Tower of Amazon Boxes and put them in the recycling. Water the succulents. Clear the desk, throw away months-old mail, rip the perfumed pages out of old Vanity Fair issues I never wanted and recycle the rest. Out it all goes, everything I didn't need but had allowed to accumulate. Why did I let it go so far? How did I slip away, so distant from balance? Who has lived in me for the last six months? Is this her success, her backstroke toward freedom, or is it mine?

Feeling ready. My eyes different in the mirror. I am prepared to fail. Terror, bliss. Here I go.

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