Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When the going gets tough, the tough write a lot of words

Ha! Just to prove my spirits have lifted since yesterday, today I sat myself down and wrote 2,085 words on my second novel. For those who don't know, that's a lot for one day. For me, at least. All you genuises out there who think that's measly, just keep quiet and let me have my glory day!

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we're back in business! (Even if that business has yet to see a profit.) :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Let's be honest

Okay, so, I meant what I said in my last post about other people's problems often being bigger than mine. But let's not forget, I have feelings too! And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't really bummed by stuff (life-threatening or not) that goes on in my own life. Besides the knee issue, I have two other lovely things to complain about. They say they come in threes...

2. Was supposed to get paid for my work in the October issue of SEATTLE mag, oh, a couple of weeks ago. Calls to the accounting department went unanswered and unreturned. I emailed my editor for the scoop this morning, and bingo! It's not some conspiracy against me, personally: all freelancers are getting paid late, to the tune of 3 months. The July writers just got paid at the end of October. That puts my first check in the mail in January. Yikes. Apparently it's a "cash flow" issue. It won't stop us from putting food on the table, but my lovely visions of framed wedding photos adorning our wall from top to bottom (only 15 months late!) just went out the window.

3. I emailed that super agent this morning--you know, the one who responded to my query with a request for the full manuscript within 2 hours of my sending it--just to make sure she had, in fact, received it (yes, that was three weeks ago, and I am slow). She wrote back ten minutes later and said yes, in fact she looked at it over the weekend, and while she liked my writing, she wasn't pulled into the story enough to offer representation. It was a kind rejection, but obviously not specific--hey, they have no obligation to be. It would be nice, but if they're rejecting you, it's not their job to prove why (most of the time).

Sigh. It stinks, because I had already begun to form a semi-bond with her. The first agent who asked for my work! With a blindingly fast reflex to the keyboard! A match made in heaven! Sadly, the only match made that quickly was between me and my wedding dress (second one I tried on). And that in itself was no small feat.

I could just stop now, and the rejection would end. That's the thought that entered my head upon reading this agent's email. You know when people say somebody's trying too hard? I could just put this all aside, and that person would not be me. I would not be the person trying and trying and trying, and failing. But if I stop now, I would also not be the person trying and trying and trying, and succeeding. Nobody is going to do this for me. Likewise, no one else is going to take the fall. It's amazing how hyped up I can be on publishing one moment, and how absurd it can seem the next.

For now I choose to continue. I may not be good enough. But not all the doors have been closed. For now, I'm going to keep knocking.

Playing catch up

1. The famed Richard Simmons photo finally arrives! Here we are on Halloween. I think my good side is the opposite of Sarah Palin's, but hey, I'm no Tina Fey. Tim clearly gets the award for this one.
2. Last Saturday we went for a 24.5 mile bike ride around the Eastside. It was pretty fun, but I am still learning how to shift gears, and I do not like trying to go fast. Once, toward the end of our ride, I was trying to slow down on a hill and my front tire got all wobbly (in retrospect I should have let up on the brake) and I actually fell off. I landed on my feet, but we were on a rather narrow bike lane and a car was right next to me when my bike came crashing down. It was pretty scary, but I made it home. It's a bit daunting thinking about a) how much more expensive cycling is than running; 2) what more technical skills I need to be good at it; and 3) how much farther away from home I can get, with the potential of equipment problems or injury. I've slipped and fallen when running, but falling off a bike is very different. I would like it to be an infrequent occurrence!
3. I got a third request for my novel last week. This agent was in LA, and her assistant called me on the phone, which caught me totally off guard. That was fun. She wanted the partial manuscript, not the whole thing, but hey, I'll take it!
4. I had my first "gait training" physical therapy appointment today, and I came home very frustrated. I have all along felt that my current PT (my third) isn't super confident in helping me recover/build muscle strength, and that was confirmed today in my gait training. It's such a subtle thing to change the way you walk, and it's quite hard to understand both what I should be doing and whether I'm doing it correctly. And I left nearly in tears because she did not share the opinion that my original gait analyst has, which is that I'll be running again with some "quick and easy gait training." I'm left wondering whether to switch PTs and get someone who's confident in the same goals, or whether it's best to work with someone who isn't promising much (as a different perspective). I feel like this is a never-ending problem--my highs and lows are so extreme. But God never changes, and he is faithful whether my knee points straight when I walk or not, so that is grounding.
5. A lot of our friends/acquaintances have been going through very hard times this week. The more people I get to know out here, the more opportunities I have to see the brokenness of this world, and how difficult life is. These friends' struggles are bigger than my knee problems or my arguments with Tim about hanging his coat in the closet instead of dropping it on the floor (yes, that was yesterday). I think God is allowing me to meet so many people with difficulties (for their privacy I won't name them here, but they're health-related, job-related, just heart rending stuff) not only to make me more compassionate to hurting people, but also to put things in perspective sometimes. Also, it is a way to see his faithfulness. When we are at our lowest, he is still strong. He is mighty to save and never changes. And he often responds to our prayers for deliverance with a Yes! (Sometimes it's a later, or a different answer that we may not understand). Seeing the struggles of others helps me rely on God more in mine. And it makes me long for heaven in a way I've never understood how people can do before.