A Week of Worry

I’ll be honest, I didn’t even realize yesterday was Thursday.  I wasn’t feeling well, but not so bad that I couldn’t have updated, but I was so out of it that I didn’t even realize what day of the week it was.  So, happy Friday.

I don’t have a real topic today, so I will tell you a couple things that have been weighing on my mind this week.  First of all, there is my health.  I set up an appointment for Monday for a surgery consultation.  It looks like I will be getting a gastric pacemaker, provided I meet all the criteria.  I am both thrilled and terrified.  Thrilled because this may mean the end of my five-year long battle with my stomach.  Terrified because what if something goes wrong?  What if it doesn’t work?  I have been trying to keep these questions out of my head all week, but they creep in and cause me to panic.  For the first time ever, I actually had to call my doc for a Xanax refill.  I’ve had a panic attack every night this week, and it all stems from my health and worries about surgery.  Fortunately, Hubs has been wonderful, holding me while I cry I about it, reassuring me that everything will be fine, and reminding me of all the benefits of the surgery. Alas, I remain frightened.  I think it’s because I have tried so many things to make myself better and nothing has worked, so I am feeling like this won’t either.  Still, I need to do it, I need to hope for it to work, and I need to keep my head about me in the process.

Another thing on my mind, aside from my health, is my chapbook.  I sent an inquiry back in October to a publisher that I liked, and they replied in January and asked me to send along my manuscript for review.  They said I would hear from them in about three weeks.  I initially thought this was sort of a short reply time given that even when I submit singular poems I don’t usually hear back for at least a month.  But I figured it’s a small manuscript, so maybe they don’t need that much time. 

For the first three weeks, I waited patiently.  I reminded myself that no news is good news, and if they read it and didn’t like it, they would get back to me right away.  Well now it has been five weeks, and I am on pins and needles.  I am maintaining that it is a good sign that it’s taking so long.  Perhaps they are deliberating over it because they like it.  Perhaps they really like it and are drawing up papers before contacting me.  Or maybe they haven’t even read it yet.  Whatever the case, I am going crazy waiting.  This is my number one choice for publisher, as it is a small company in my city that has produced some poetry books I like.  Buffalo is having a poetry renaissance, and I am desperate to be a part of it.  When I started going to a local bookstore for poetry nights back in October, I was terrified.  My anxiety told me that no one would like my work, that no one would talk to me, that I would be alone and insignificant.  I can’t say I don’t still have those feelings, but I push myself to go each month because I am trying to overcome my insecurities.  And I will say it gets a little easier each time.  I am very much looking forward to this month’s reading, though I am having trouble picking a poem for the open mic segment.  I will likely read something from my chapbook, with the hope that putting it out in the universe brings it to life. 

The one highlight of my worrisome week is that Sahar is in town.  She is one of my dearest friends, and she lives in Kentucky, which I hate.  But she’s in town for about a month and we were able to go to lunch.  I am hoping to see her many more times before she returns to that hell-state.  Like Hubs, she knows just what to do to calm my worrisome head.

So, I walk into this next week with my head held high and my heart full of hope, but also worry.  I will see the doc on Monday and figure out what the plan is, and we will go from there.  Hopefully my worries will be unfounded, and I can face this surgery with courage. 

A girl can dream.      

The Waiting Game

Once upon a time, I was in theater.  You name it, I did it: writing, directing, acting, stage managing, various crew positions…I was a Jill of all trades.  I learned an immense amount of skills in my ten years walking the boards, and while I don’t do it anymore, I don’t regret a second. 

My favorite thing, besides writing, is acting.  I loved acting.  I had the ability to slip into a character with incredible ease, and often thought I must be doing something wrong when I saw my fellow thespians struggle to do what came naturally to me.  My only problem was line memorization.  I usually got it by opening night but I would have a script in my hand right up until then, terrified that I would flub a line.  I was often comforted by the fact that as a stage manager I knew that audiences rarely pick up on dropped lines if you’ve got the chemistry to cover it.  Chemistry, I always had.

Anyway, one time I got it into my head that I should try to make a career of this, and I applied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.  I was all set to go, had my pieces memorized perfectly, and disaster struck.  My friend Rick, who was to take me to my audition, couldn’t drive me because his mother was wary of the situation.  This led to a massive three-hour panic attack where I screamed and sobbed to my father, while Rick tried to persuade his mother.  Eventually, we were on the road, but this was a time before my correct medications so that panic attack stuck around all day.  We got to the hotel and settled in, and I went to sleep, finally calm and dreaming of my audition.

The next day, I opened my eyes to see Rick lacing his sneakers and humming a Green Day song.  There was a pain in my throat and chest.  I was shivering, but my head was on fire, and in a fair amount of pain as well.  I stumbled to the shower, forced myself to get dressed and ready, and then we were on the way to the train station.  I felt like death.  I felt like I could collapse at any moment.  Rick felt like a kid at Disney World because it was his first time in the Big Apple.  His merriment was nauseating. 

First, we went to Jamba Juice, where I had never been, and I discovered a menu item called “The Flu Buster.”  I almost cried from joy and ordered a large, which I drank so fast I got a brain freeze.  I don’t know what they put in that thing but it gave me a high for maybe two hours, just long enough to get to my audition and do my monologues and get out of there. 

The rest of the day was spent walking around looking for an arcade because for some reason Rick thought it would be cool to play Dance Dance Revolution in NYC.  Then, finally, blessedly, we headed back to the hotel.  I slept like a baby.  When I awoke in the morning, I was well.

Cut to about a week and a half later.

I am sitting in my living room watching TV when I hear the mailbox open and close.  I run to it.  I have run to it every day for a week.  There in my hands is the letter I have been waiting for.  And it is thin.

I’ve already been through college acceptances, so I know what that means.  I sigh, I open it, I read its caustic form-letter tone, and I go back in the house, dejected.  In about a week, I am my old self.  In about a week, I get a call about a stage-managing position.  In about a week, it doesn’t matter.  Because I am really good at rejection.  What I suck at is the waiting period.

That week and a half was the longest of my life.  Until now.

A few days ago, I got an email from a publisher.  They asked me to send along my manuscript.  They said it typically takes three weeks for them to make a decision.  Now, usually when I send out a submission, I log it and forget about it until I receive word back.  Just like I did when I sent a query to the publisher that I most want for my chapbook.  I didn’t even know if they published chapbooks, I was just inquiring, and mentioned my chapbook, and he asked to read it.  I was flabbergasted.  Half of me thought that this was the miracle I’d been waiting for.  The other half was like kid, it’s just an audition.

My theater background really helps me with my writing life.  I handle rejection better because of it.  I understand the process of selection.  I know the behind-the-scenes struggles of putting a project together.  Still, it’s the wait that gets you.  In this case I am going with the “no news is good news” philosophy right now.  I mean, if he read it and hated it I would have already been rejected.  And if I get rejected, that’s fine, on to the next adventure.  But the waiting?

That’ll kill you.