Location: Cold, little sunroom with the electric heater turned on high; cat purring a little too loudly from atop of her cat castle (yes we have one; yes she loves it; yes it’s adorable); sitting on an IKEA chair in my work clothes, slippers and a bathrobe. Basically, the most luxurious conditions one could desire.
Hilarity = when firmly entrenched in an imaginary world of one’s own making (aka rewriting a chapter in the third draft of a novel in progress), my husband comes into the room and asks if I have a minute to talk. What were the topics of conversation, you ask? Oh, just the essentials: the tub drain was augered with all 20 feet of the auger, so it should finally drain despite the nests of hair that accumulate in the tub each time I shampoo my head; the carcinogenic rating of my organic, frou frou shaving cream; “healthy” shaving cream options to order and the discount one can achieve by purchasing them on a specific website; and the great price on a wine I’ve recently been partnering myself with. By partnering myself with it I mean I drink it in my cold, little sunroom while wearing a bathrobe over my work clothes, talking to my cat in her tower.
Life is good.
Also, just over a week until the Muse conference. I’m thrilled and anxious. I don’t mind that combo, though.
Looking over my query letter and 20-page submission before clicking send. Felt like I should document the first time I query an agent.
It’s been slow progress on this book: I started it for NaNoWriMo 2012, worked on it for months, then let it simmer because I got married, moved, left my job, and started two new jobs. It simmered for a long time; I picked it up off and on while working on two other manuscripts and a series of short stories, but it was otherwise considered “shelved”. Inspired by recent global events, I felt I had more purpose in working on the book again, and a real urgency to, so I picked it up again for NaNoWriMo 2015 to do a major overhaul. The first completed NEW draft (which was very little like the previous) was finished on New Years Eve 2015/2016. I printed it, put it in a binder, and worked through the whole thing. Then I felt overwhelmed and stepped away again, working on other things. Then I picked it up again during NaNoWriMo 2016 (which is not the way to NaNo, as I understand it; I think working on the same thing for three rounds is not considered the goal of NaNo, but I wants what I wants). I made more major revisions, ones that I felt much, much stronger about, and continued working on the draft through the winter. I think the last draft was printed out over my February break, and I carried it around with me for a while, taking some time to let the dust settle before I ventured back in. More changes were made, but it’s amazing to watch it strengthen with each draft. It feels more and more like I’m finding the story that was always there. It’s exhilarating. It’s difficult. It makes me happier than any other pursuit.
So now I sit in that chair, my cat watching the rain out the window beside me, seagulls cawing in the air above the house, getting ready to click send.
Location: The corner of my couch, curled on top of the unfortunate crease between the chaise and the long side of the couch, covered in an old green blanket that once lived on my husband’s childhood twin sized bed.
Teacher life is tough. I don’t know if I’d recommend anyone take up the profession. At least, I wouldn’t recommend a person become an English teacher. The sheer weight of the bags I brought home, full of things to finish grading and things to enter in my gradebooks before grades close tomorrow at midnight, was enough to set of the seat belt alarm in my passenger seat.
It’s a good job. I’m lucky to have it. I love my students and the things we talk about. My coworkers are among the best I’ve ever had. But I forget what it’s like to have a Sunday or evening where I don’t have to do hours of work. Teacher burnout is real. It happened to me once before, and I’m determined not to let it happen again, but it’s hard.
Work has been so busy that I haven’t had much time to write, and I really, really need to write. Not just because of this impending deadline, but because I don’t feel quite myself if I’m not writing. It’s 9:11 as I write this, and I should be getting ready for bed, but instead I’m determined to get some writing done. I sleep better afterward. What’s with that? My brother is a musician, and he feels similarly when he doesn’t have time to compose. Are creatives doomed to be dissatisfied?
I’m being a bit glum, and I apologize. The end of grading periods is the worst.
The good news is that the sun is staying up in the sky late each day, and it beams through the living room window at just the right hour between the time I get home from work and cook dinner. I love that time of day. The cat loves it too, which is what really matters.