This morning I successfully awoke when the alarm went off, and I successfully stayed awake in the crucial minutes immediately after when I am tempted, oh so tempted, to stumble into the living room and collapse for a quickie morning nap on the couch. I stayed awake, I think because reality was pulling on my toe in my dreams, still lingering with me as I climbed down the ladder and out of the loft.
Last night after the post below, I reached home and learned that I need to do revisions to a short story of mine that is expected to be published. Is it still expected to be published? I am afraid that it may depend on these revisions. And they are due in a week-and-a-half, and when I learned this, and realized the extent of the changes, I wanted to cry. I was about to, when E swooped in and helped me through it. He read the suggested revisions. He asked me what was making me so upset, and I explained it was really the time, or lack thereof, the fact that I want the story to be good, I want it published, and yet how will I find the time to do that in the face of everything else? I am already drowning and now this is pushing me even deeper under. I believe this fully: a short story published under my own name in a literary journal I admire is so much more important than all the other ghostwriting I am doing now. It is. Even if only twenty people see it, it is. Even though I’m not getting paid for it, it is. I wish I had more time. Really, I wish it could have happened a couple of months ago, or in October, just sometime when I’d be better able to cope. This weekend is the worst, since I have those two deadlines on Monday and yesterday didn’t go so well… This post is much more coherent than I was last night (and I’m not even doing so well at that). But E proved himself once again—I don’t know how he does it. He calmly took out the calendar and put all my deadlines up, and we agreed that revising the story by the due date is possible, and even if I have to put the YA novel aside for a few days it would be worth it, and with the days all outlined up there in their little white squares I felt somehow calmed and pleasantly distanced from all the pressure.
This is me: a ball of catastrophic stress in the face of no real problems (unless you’d call a mountain of debt a problem) able to shatter at a moment’s notice. One moment I’m a puddle of angst. The next I’m a giddy fool, talking too quickly and too loudly like my motor’s about to burn. “Calm down,” I hear just as often as “Cheer up.”
This is E: Nothing reaches him, nothing hurts him, nothing is ever as bad as you think it is. His armor is invincible, his voice soothing, his ideas make complete and total sense. When we’re on the seesaw, he’ll balance me—whether I’m up, or down.
I am so glad I moved to that tiny little town for college so long ago. I really needed to meet him.
This morning, once I was dressed and all packed to go to my writing spot, I went into the bedroom to say goodbye to him. I climbed the loft. It was so early—he was still sleeping. I said: “I’m going to go write.”
Groggily, still asleep, he said: “Stick to the plan.”
“Gotcha,” I said.
I did one of those online waste-your-time tests: “What Sesame Street character are you?” Apparently—and I suppose no one will be surprised—I am Oscar the Grouch. But right now I feel all hopeful like, I don’t know, Big Bird. I might be able to make it through. I’ve just got to stick to the plan.