This totally could be filed under Heating a Home on a Hot Plate instead of over here on the writing side of it, given that it is probably a bit of mental illness. But in my reflection of the moments, I think it should be parked right where i put it.
I'll take you through this journey.
A facebook post from a literary agent calling out for writers with whom she is connected to submit copies of their books for sale at a market. Excitement that I can contribute to an organization for which an acquaintance holds passion. Then immobility.
I did nothing for months. Well, i talked about it and thought about it and then took no physical action to bring my books into her hands.
Finally when it was clear that the calendar was churning along, creating nights that turned into days with a threat of the word September rounding the bend, i panicked. i had again done nothing to move into a lifestyle in which i may wake up, drink a cup of coffee and write. Sure i do that now, but not to pay my bills. Not to support my health insurance and fancy dog food. At any rate, i thought i had missed this very lovely opportunity. So i emailed the acquaintance, expecting a very professional, 'yes honey, you have gloriously missed out!' But, i received an enthusiastic message of acceptance.
All i had to do now was sign each of (only) ten books, slip a card in each copy, and then pack up the box to ship.
For another, this may have been an easy task. It's a flow chart for crying out loud! Are the books signed? No? sign the freakin' book! Yes? put the book in the shipping box. Are there more books? Yes? Go back a step! No? Seal the box and get to the post office!
It was hard!
So, i signed half the books last night and half this morning over coffee. I packed up a tote with the books and other stuff needing to go in the box and walked out of my house without my wallet to pay for shipping. Seriously - I walked out of my house, thought, i have to sweep the front steps. Maybe i should do that before i walk to the post office? Walking along my street and seeing debris from the week, i thought i would sweep the street before the morning turned to playtime for the little ones who live on the block. Then, thought about NOT putting my wallet in the tote before leaving and turned back to start all over.
I was in a loop. Where was i in the flow chart? Do you have everything you need? No? get it together girl! Yes? Move on - TO THE POST OFFICE! No where on my flow chart of productivity was, interrupt your journey to sweep the street. I had to regroup. I had to breathe and focus on the goal.
What is the goal? Wake up, drink coffee, and write. Easy. I can do this.
I went home, put my wallet in my tote and started again. 'Don't look at the trash. It's a distraction. Stay on target.' At the corner of my street where i only need to turn left, i notice my feet. Clad in flip flops and in need of a pedicure. I'm making myself sick looking at my unkempt toes with the audacity to show themselves in public. How is this the image that I am portraying with this giant leap into the path of grahaming? I resisted the urge to turn back and pressed forth. I just had to make it to the post office.
Walk, walk, walk. I should have brought a coffee in a travel mug. I should go two blocks further than the post office to get a coffee. Clearly, i cannot stand in line without caffeinated motivation. My legs fatigued. I was three blocks away from my house. Two more to go to get to the post office. Maybe I should have brought the shipping box i had from home. I hope this branch has not run out of supplies.
One block away. There are an awful lot of school buses on the street. I wonder if there is an event around here for the weekend holiday. It's a holiday. The post office is probably not open. I should just go home and mail these out on Tuesday. How far away is the dunkin'?
The post office had plenty of boxes. I packed up the books neatly and made sure everything enclosed. Sealed it tight and waited my turn in line. The postal worker told me the zip code was wrong. I said the words, "Oh give it back to me. I'll just mail it later." He assured me that he could look up the proper number. I stood to the left. I couldn't even be present while he was keying in the insurance and providing me a tracking number. I was ready to exit stage left. He asked what the contents included and i took a breath. "It's books," i said with a smile curling around my lips. I was doing it. I was shipping books with my name on them. Words that i grouped together to tell a story. I was giving a box of books to reach out to folks intrigued enough to turn a page holding my words.
While walking home, i got to the corner of the post office. Four blocks away from my home and i was ready to fall down. I was exhausted. I was sweating in my hoodie with the fall air crisp against my cheeks. I wanted nothing more than to fall down and rest. I was certain this whole excursion could have waited until i had the energy to move. I did not need to get these books out today.
In the next block, i thought i should have spent more time on the tasks. perhaps wrote less when i signed them? Maybe just my name on the page? Did i really refer to myself as an independent? I walked along my block and saw the trash lying at the curb again. I need to sweep. I can't leave this trash outside.
And i walked into my house to find the dogs lazing on the couch and waiting for my return. I just mailed my book for people to read.
There is a fear in exposing myself like this. I tell friends who want to read my work that i can be critiqued, but not criticized. (Unless you're mad at me) I stopped writing for years because of criticism. It was dished out brutally and drawn in with ferocity.
There are days i feel like a writer. I'm growing more and more comfortable with that designation. And still finding the strength to move forward as a writer is terrifying.
Today was a baby step. But it's farther than i've been before.