March 18, 2009

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Hello friends –

I hope your day is going well.  It is a beautiful one here, sunny and warm enough to have the windows open, cats lying in various belly exposing prostrations.  Very nice.

I wish my disposition were more like the weather, to be frank.  I am a little melancholy thinking about yesterday – the one year anniversary of the completion of my novel, Polite Society. It is a bit strange to think that I finished it that long ago.  The worst bit, and the one getting me down, is the fact that none of the many agents or publishers I submitted my work to has opened their doors to me, grabbed me by the shoulders in utter delight and said, “This is great!  Let’s get it published!”

However, as I sit with this and wonder what it really means, what I really want, I’m not so sure.  I finished a novel.  I really did, one that makes me proud and giggly at the same time.  That fact will never change.  As for what I want, sometimes I think it is money.  Other times, I think it is about having people read what I believe is a magical story.

Speaking to the money part, I have never made much, ever.  Most of the time, I am okay with this.  Other times, like today, I only look at myself in disappointment that I’m not contributing financially to our household.  That being said, when I was working for a dollar, I wasn’t very happy, actually quite crabby, a little bitchy, and awfully whiny.  Writing, however, I really like.  I love the conversations in my head, the accumulation of words and ideas.  Oh yes, I like it very much.

Why then, do I get so hung up on this?  Being happy is much better than having a paycheck.  Besides, how would having more money change my life, anyway?  Greg and I already live comfortably.  We spend wisely and have no debt besides our mortgage.   We travel, watch movies, eat good food, give to charity.  What else do I want?

For a while, I thought it was a house in the country, but have since realized that, social girl that I am, I would be a bit lonely.  As for our house, maybe we would finally get our bathroom refinished.  It is old and quite ugly.  The carpet upstairs isn’t it the best shape, and the basement isn’t finished.  So I guess I would like those things to be done, but I can’t say my quality of life would be drastically improved should this happen.

Now about people reading my work.  That’s already been done by several friends and some strangers.  (An aside here, my friend Maria did a great job of finding many, many typos here recently, some of which I had already corrected, many not.  I am very grateful.)  Anyway, everyone likes it, and I don’t believe any of them to be liars.

I guess the real problem is my silly head.  The only time I feel upset is when I start comparing myself to other people or idealized versions of myself.  In the grand scheme of things, I am the only one who can make me happy, ever.  No amount of people reading my book, money, or success can change this, not one bit.

Oh goodness, finally, I am smiling.  More money and a popular novel might make my bathroom look nice,  take me on a book tour, and give me a slot on the New York Times best seller list, but it won’t give me what I already have:  a wonderful marriage, a great home in a city that I love, good friends, cute and cuddly cats, the list goes on.

I think what is really on order is a bit of patience and some kindness toward myself.  There is no rush here.  If the doors open, I’ll be delighted.  If not, I’ve already got it pretty good.  Thanks for listening to me work it through.