Dreaming

by

I was asked this evening what’s keeping me from sending out my book.  And as I hemmed and hawed and twisted my ring around on my finger, I finally looked up at him and breathed and said, “fear”.

I am afraid.  Not of the “no”, but of the “yes”.  I am afraid of success.  Silly as that sounds.  I am also afraid that there aren’t enough words.  Or that I’ll get published and then the next book will bomb.  Or that I need to polish more.  Or that I don’t have what it really takes.  Like what the fuck does that mean anyway?

Bullshit, I don’t have what it takes.  I write every day.  I not only write every day, I write a blog every day and I write three pages long hand in my journal–without using margins–I’m sick like that.  I also work 50 hours a week nannying for two 17 month old girls who are wicked smart and handfuls on a good day.  I bike commute to work.  I cook all my own food.  I care for two cats (ok, that part is fairly simple, but there are some responsibilities that need to be met daily around them).  I do the deal every day.  I have commitments and people that I regularly, like freaking clock work, show up for.

So, yes, I do have what it takes.  I just happen to get in my own way a lot.  Too much, and I set really high expectations for myself, dare I say “perfectionist”?  Which is just another way to spell miserable.

However, as I was telling the gentleman asking said question about what is holding me back, I did come to the startling conclusion that I have not had to be beaten into quite as much humility around my book as I have in the past.  Usually I am in tears in the some remote corner of the Lucky Penny with a cup of bad coffee, breaking down to John about how come I haven’t gotten my shit together yet.  I don’t need to be knee capped by the pain to take some action, nor do I want to be, hmm, this might be called growth.  I have been getting the pain nudge of recent, I was thinking about Baby Girl last night right as I was getting ready for bed, and have realized that it will just get worse before it gets better.

I know from past experience.  Believe me do I know.  I wrote the fucking first draft to this book six years ago.  Six fucking years ago.  Holy shit.  It is time to stop procrastinating.

I do all sorts of crazy ass things trying to get around working on the book too, which makes me laugh–I have worked harder at avoiding the work than doing it, easier softer way, my ass.  Here are some of the things I have done to prolong the agony:

-Applying for the Stegnor Fellowship at Stanford, because then I really will have the chops to write.

Applying to the MFA program at UCSF, because as John Ater has told me, I really need a MFA to get published, I think he was being ironic.

-Buying a new computer, said computer I’m writing on now, with the complete intention of reworking my book to send out to publishers and agents to get really good at down loading pirated movies off the internet.

-Set aside time in my schedule to write, which has actually worked.  Oh, wait, shit, work on my book, not my blog, not an essay, not a list of financial goals, not my spending plan, or my grocery list, or a sonnet.  My book.  Huh?

-Beat myself up, buried the manuscript under a pile on my desk and pretend it’s not there.  I’m looking at it right now.

-Wallowed in self-pity.

-Decided to move to Paris and obsess on that rather than focus my energies on my current situation and do the work necessary to get it published.

-Sent it out to friends, but not asked them for feed back.

-Not send it out to friends that have said they were interested.  They’re just saying that right? Because they’re friends.  They tell me I’m pretty too.

-Not used the ridiculously complimentary letter of recommendation Alan Kaufman wrote for me.  He’s just saying I’m a talented writer, well, because he’s nice or something.  Or he’s got an agenda, or some such bullshit.  I mean the letter was wicked.

-Decided to go to school to be an elementary school teacher.  I mean why not try to launch a career as a public school teacher during a time of education duress in a state that has an enormous inability to educate its children, let alone pay a school teacher what they need to pay the rent on a studio in the city.  There’s something wrong with the idea of having to take out student loans in excess of what I already owe to go to school to make less money than I make now.

-Jesus, fuck.  I could go on.  But let’s not get depressed here, shall we, it’s late.

As I was talking to him with the tawny eyes.  I realized that if I can be open and vulnerable and not run away from the feelings, that they won’t kill me!  How come I have to learn this lesson over and over and over again?  Isn’t once enough, or fifteen times for that matter?

So, I hereby resolve to take one, ONE, action tomorrow around my book.  And further more.  I commit to start posting excerpts of the book here, in my blog.  Maybe that will light some fire under my ass.

Because as I was in tears in K’s room today struggling to fold her laundry, mitigate a toddler fight over the potty training book, juggle the incoming texts from the various parents, and just, I don’t know, breathe, it struck me that I could be using 1/16th of the energy and be getting back a lot more for my efforts.

And frankly, I don’t want to be telling myself in another couple of years that after this next nanny gig I’ll be getting myself out there as a writer.  Making it as a writer, oh, I don’t know, successfully.  Paying the bills with what I love to do.  Write.

I mean, c’mon, Martines, it’s 1:13 a.m. on a Friday night and what are you doing?

Writing.

I could be making out for Pete’s sake.

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2 Responses to “Dreaming”

  1. David Wichman Says:

    Carmen hello!! what strike me as so completely nuts is I did not even know you were a writer. How do I not know this information !! Hello
    I WANT THAT BOOK!!
    I hereby promise you that I will tell you if I like it if its not my sort of thing I will hand it back right away i will read it front to back and judge it from a layman’s perspective. not some high powered book publisher. after all who are they going to sell it to us little people let us little people read it.
    get back to me I am in town till may 6th which means time is running out.
    I WANT THAT BOOK !

    • auntiebubba Says:

      I’ll get it to you. Thanks so much for your support, it means a lot. Do you want a hard copy to read or may I send you a document via e-mail? Let me know, and where are you going?!

      xoxoxo
      Carmen

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