Happy Tuesday, friends and fellow writers. It has been a while since I’ve updated on what’s going on in my writerly world, so I figure I’m due.
1. I am thrilled (that’s the professional way to put it. The “me” way of putting it is “happy dancing on my desk while singing badly”) to let you all know that I’ve had a piece accepted for publication in the April issue of Sasee.
If you haven’t visited Sasee before, you’re in for a treat. Sasee is a women’s magazine that publishes a monthly theme-based issue. April’s theme is “Yes!” To see where I went with that, you’ll have to check out my piece there. Please poke around and explore the magazine too – there are some wonderful articles and essays. I’ll definitely be an ongoing Sasee reader and also hope to contribute again.
2. You may remember me updating a few times about my short story “Peanut Butter and Jelly” that will forthcoming in The Spirit of Poe Anthology. Actually, I told you it would be out around Halloween. Then I said January. And then I didn’t say anything.
That’s because there has been a delay in publication. In recent communications from the editor, I’ve learned a bit more about the causes of the delays and things appear to be moving forward again. I’m not going to throw out any more “whens,” today, but I will keep you posted on the progress as I receive updated info.
So, why would I put what sounds like a frustrating experience in the “good” column? Mostly, because I’m now reassured that the anthology will in fact happen. But also because this has been an important lesson for me in learning the ins and outs of working with small publishers and getting your work out there. I still believe strongly in this publication because it benefits a great cause and promises to be chock-full of good reads. At the same time, the waiting and the ups and downs have been an exercise in both worry (will my story see print after all?) and patience. Those are important lessons for a writer who is submitting their work just about anywhere to learn.
Even when they sting, lessons are good.
True confession time. After a bit of a marathon stint where I made some real progress on the book, I hit a bad patch. There are many reasons. I was working on other projects. Work has been crazy. Other things have been demanding of my time and attention. I had to do my taxes.
But the real truth is that I let myself fall into a mire of self-pity. I became overwhelmed with the fact that so many in both my writer network and personal circle don’t have to work full-time, but I do. I compared the progress I’m making with that of my non-working or part-time working writer’s network and I fell into a pit of “this is impossible for me” frustration and sadness. I looked around at my non-writing friends who have lots more free time than I do and still have fun and money, and I let the green-eyed monster overwhelm me. I got mad that here I am with all these goals and hopes and so little time to pursue them while so many around me have all the time in the world to do whatever they want. I got angry and depressed about barely scraping by when most days I do little more than work and sleep just to stay afloat.
I let myself sink into a short-lived funk of feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, angry, bitter, tired, jealous and sad. I figure since I’m so open about my successes and the brighter more positive side of me here, I might as well let the screaming meanie out in the open too. Sometimes it is more powerful when you keep it stuffed in the closet.
Most days, I am grateful, inspired, encouraged and upbeat. But sometimes bitterness, exhaustion, jealously and fear grab a hold of me when my guard is down. I envision myself as an 80 year-old woman dragging her sorry tired ass into an office for yet another day of drudgery (because she’s too broke to ever retire) and then pecking out stories on her keyboard all night with blurry beaten-down eyes. This is not what I want when I’m 80. At that point in my life, I want to be sitting pretty (or at least comfortably) and never have to wear a bra again.
And so, I let myself get into a bit of a funk. I focused on how all I do is work and write and still always feel broke as a joke. Negativity feeds on itself, and the more I thought about it the more sad and pissed off I got.
I even bought Megamillions tickets, which is something I never do. As I’m not sending out this update from some tropical island, you can guess how that went.
But eventually, reality reared its head. Oh, OK, not reality. I’m already admitting what a douche I can be, so I might as well be totally honest. I watched Rick Grimes in the Walking Dead and I thought “if he can deal with all that shit, surely I can handle my pooper-scooper full and still shine.”
Which is nuts, because Rick Grimes doesn’t really exist. But hey, whatever works, right?
So instead of dwelling on what I can’t seem to change (having to work so much, being broke), I focused on what I could do differently. Specifically, I could take a little break and let myself have some fun.
So Lee and I got our yard geared up for this lovely run of spring weather. He fixed up our fire pit and we had a campfire. We put our tent in the back yard and slept out there for a while. We set up my hammock and I spent some time just lazing there with my Kindle, reading and swaying under my blooming trees.
I went to the pub and got the beer giggles a few times. I bought some cheap flip-flops, because who isn’t happier when almost barefoot? We went to the park and did a trail walk. I went to Rehoboth for the weekend with my mom, niece, aunts and cousins. I wandered the beach and the boardwalk and the outlets and ate and drank too much and just relaxed with my family.
My pendulum is swinging back to “encouraged” again. I love writing and live to do it. But because I already have a full-time job, I’m learning that pushing myself to extremes and treating it like a second full-time job isn’t always good. It leads to burnout and the urge to give in to fears that I’m doing all this for nothing. I had to step back and put some balm on those burns.
The reason all this fun ends up under the “ugly” column is this:
I took this picture while I was in Rehoboth. For those not as Steelers-focused as I am, that’s a Brett Keisel pillow. It is the ugliest damn pillow you’ve ever seen. My aunt, who is a fellow Steelers fan, got it for Christmas, and in turn she got my mother one.
My mother’s dogs growl and bark at hers. That’s how ugly it is. When we were at my aunts, my cousin’s dogs did the same to hers.
As you can see, I snuggled it and took a picture.
Because sometimes, you have to embrace your inner ugly to get back to a good place.
So, how YOU doin’?