Any time between now and tomorrow afternoon I’ll be a mess. All of the emotions I’ve kept inside and moved past so I could be next to my father while he had triple by-pass surgery will come bubbling out of me.
The tears will also be about me.
They will be tears of frustration with where I am in the querying process. They will be about the heartbreak I feel when I’m told:
How my writing touches them.
How I know how to tell a story, BUT they don’t know how to sell my kind of story.
I’ll watch as my friends, who are deserving of signing with agents, get the happy phone calls and do the work of revision with the support of a contract between them and an agent and I don’t. I feel traditional publishing is a series of test and I am running fast at the hurdles thinking fast makes it better.
Fast isn’t better- it’s quicker. And there is no fast track in publishing.
I’ve been twisting myself and my story into origami trying to please agents and a few weeks ago I realized I lost my way. I was working so hard to be accepted, the story suffered because of it. It wasn’t the story I was meant to write, it became a stinky version of it.
Going home reminded me that this is a position I found myself in a lot as a kid. I moved through the world trying to fit into it despite the fact I expereinced the world differently. I saw the world with texture and shape, but lived with those who saw shades of gray. In order to make it through high school I did my best to be me, but conformed to survive.
The thing is- life isn’t about surviving. It’s about thriving.
My dad is recovering beautifully from his surgery. It was challenging to be a helpless bystander as he was wheeled away and I had to wrestle with the fears that manifested despite my intuitive gifts telling me- he’s going to be fine. The person they were taking away was MY DAD not patient 007 as the board showed. It was my dad I waited for. My dad I saw unconscious at 9 PM not yet fully awake after a six-hour operation, with an intubation tube tugging the right side of his mouth slack and disfiguring the left side of his face. The man in ICU with saliva bubbling from his mouth, and spasming with tubes in his throat, arms, neck, chest and legs was my dad. The man I love, the one who gave me the work ethic I have, the man who makes me crazy, the man who is sober for 12 years, the man who I look like, is vulnerable in a way I can’t protect him from.
I can’t understand why all the physical pain I’ve personally expereinced the past few years isn’t ending. I can’t grasp what the lesson is. What’s the lesson in the timing of my life?
And I want to grasp it. I held Dad’s hand to reassure him.
I want to find the person who will not only love my prose, but understand the magic in it without having to dissect it in terms of gray- a person who will see all the glorious color. I will always tell stories about complicated love because it’s what I know. It’s how I love.
You know what?
Complicated love is still love. Go and tell the person you love how much you love them. Do something nice for them- for me it’s the smallest acts of kindness that mean the most- they’re precious and life and dreams are precious.
Go cultivate precious.
I know this is rambly, my heart and mind have’t connected all the dots. I’m sad and I’m hopeful and I’m greatful and I’m disappointed.
I’m a mess. So excuse me while I cry for all of that because I know once I let it out the fighter in me will be back – and that’s what my Dad and I deserve, champions.