Sunday, November 18, 2012
Writer's Double Life
The hardest part about my double life is I don’t have any time to dwell on the victories of my writing.
I remember when the copy of my first printed book came in the mail at work. I wanted to shout and dance and grin broadly and call everyone and post it on Facebook and then dance some more. Maybe even have a cup of celebratory tea and toast to the sunshine streaming in the windows!
But a tape was waiting and my boss was pacing and eyeing my allegiances and so I put the box under my desk and smiled to myself and got back to work. The bills have to be paid and I can’t be without a job. Tucking myself away, I set it aside.
My second book, like the first, crossed my desk in similar fashion with similar squelched happiness.
And now, today, I have officially sent a proposal with real terms to be agreed upon by real people who have asked me to get their stories in print for other real people to print and read and share. I want desperately to talk the terms out with everyone I see. To pontificate and regurgitate and reassess the pros, the cons, the fears, the accomplishments.
But no dancing aloud, no celebrations ensue, no reveling here, no discussions, dissertations or detailing allowed!
Dictation and filing and other important tasks demand I retain focus.
Someday, when I grow up, I’m going to be a writer at my own desk in my own space and I hereby proclaim every noteworthy event will be celebrated with tea, crumpets and loud voices!
But not today. Today, I get back to work.
At lunch time, if you look over my shoulder, you might find me tossing words about the page. Not so they become memorialized, but simply to empty them from my consciousness so I can concentrate.
Let me just put it out there. If they reject my offer, I am in the same position that I was in August before I knew such a thing could happen. If they send a counter-proposal, I am in a better place than I was in August.
What have I got to lose?
This constant going back and forth in my mind only serves to distract me from the tasks at hand and could ultimately jeopardize my job. That is the great frustration of working and not only writing. The words chaotically chorus circling my days refusing to behave while I do what must be done if I will have a roof over my head and a car to drive.
I chase away jealous thoughts of those who wile their days away complaining about a husband gone too much or children who crawl into their personal time. What do they do with all that free time I imagine they own? What I wouldn’t give.... But then they likely wish they could trade my perceived freedoms and independence in exchange for their routines.
Since my mother’s mind knows that no one wins the green-eyed battle, I construct a wall between my perceptions of them and their realities of me and get back to dictation while the words dance behind my eyes.
The worst part of being a writer who happens to be single is that there is no one to celebrate, contemplate and commiserate with me over the process. I’m quite sure my friends are tired of my endless bragging and complaining, by turns, about the process. If I were married, or even dating, surely Prince Charming would understand my fluttering mind and give me a place to rest. I had a friend once whose voice alone I could rest in. Something about his tone and understanding would instantly calm the fluttering phrases. I miss that, honestly.
Another friend rested my mind once by saying she was quite sure I wouldn’t want to write professionally. Not that she didn’t think I could, but she feared that if I made the thing I love into the thing I must do it would tarnish its authenticity. As the contract ballasts are built, I understand what she meant. I only want to write, but if my writing is valuable, then I ought to get paid. I’m not sure how to reconcile the two.
Lunch hour has wound down and the timeclock is ticking. Again I set aside the writer's dream until the day the words can play. I put the worries with them in the box beneath my desk.
For today there is only the hum of the air conditioner, the stacks of filing, the mail to prepare, the e-mails to read and the bills to be paid.
Today I’m a writer with a job.
To order a copy of A Book of Pages About Crossing Bridges or a Friend Named Jesus, please visit my website: Writer's Pages
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