Sunday, May 24, 2009

Free Fall

I turned in the revised draft of Angry Fat Girls on Thursday, then a slightly changed version on Friday & swore to my editors that was it, I wouldn't play with it until I heard from them again. We tweaked jacket copy so that it was less sensationalist & also made more literal sense (when did the word "raucous" take on the meaning of hilarious and romping? Its proper definition is loud & hoarse -- oughtn't the marketing department know that? Isn't "raucous" one of their favorite words? If publishing doesn't take this stuff seriously, who will?), & now I'm...empty-handed on a 3-day weekend. Call it post-partum angst, aided by food poisoning, the nervy push to finish, my neighbors 7 1/2 hour party in the garden where the beer keg was 12 inches from my window. I'm in free fall & just have to hunker down to survive myself.

As hard as this book was to write and then go in & revise -- five women's worlds of pain is not a thing one wakes up to eagerly in the morning -- the deadline of it gave me a surge of purpose. Now, intermittently, my purpose has to change.

I don't like change.

There is my novel to work on.

There is my Fourth Step to work on.

My niece & grand-niece are coming four four days in June, so there is planning & housekeeping to do.

It's time that I learned to leave the Bat Cave without a dog &/or a grocery list. My stomach wraps itself in a knot of protest at the thought but this semi-phobia must be attacked.

But sickish and shaky, drained of words and my habitual insanity-loyalty to AFG not yet worn off, I get to be weepy & depressed this weekend, more imprisoned than usual in that I had to shut my windows on a lovely day yesterday while late-twenty-somethings sang pep songs over the air conditioning.

But two really interesting things happened yesterday in between naps.

I got a wedding invitation from my cousin's daughter -- I think this is a cousin once-removed? She's one of the few cousin's kids I know & I'm slightly sad that I won't make it to Beaverton, OR, for her wedding in a couple of weeks. I went to her registries however & ordered a Solid Gift -- a complete set of something essential. It was perhaps twice beyond my realistic means & I'm being very tight-fisted these days as I work at paying off debt.

So why did I do this without a second thought? I wasn't that sickly.

It was because I realized that my mom, on oxygen 24/7, very feeble with arthritis, nearly 88 years old, is in these sorts of matters, no longer the matriarch of our little Kuffel Pod. That baton passed to me & so I acted accordingly.

I find it interesting to think of myself as a matriarch when I'm single & childless. It goes against all those horrid Anne Tyler novels.

Daisy and I ran into the owners of a dog I used to walk. The dog died & they moved to a nearby state. I gawped at seeing them across the street -- it was dusk, I was heavy with tears at being alone, un-feted for turning the book in, lost without the book, sickish, etc. They were in the neighborhood for one night & said they'll come pick Daisy & me up soon to meet their new dog. That was lovely but they went on to urge me to apply for one of two writers' residencies with which they are intimately connected. Daisy, she said, will be allowed. It could be the perfect transition between Brooklyn & Seattle, & had I been less insane yesterday would have given me stuff to think about.

The good news is -- & really, ALL of this is based on good news that's merely depleting news as well -- that I was abstinent. I'm not Speedy Gonzales today. I slept in late. I've done little to promote my life in the directions I want it go. But I feel about 25% better & I could actually be tricked into feeling completely better, which was not possible yesterday.

Things are in a state of change here. Not big change but enough change to scare me. There's a 12-step saying I love (one of the few). If a normal person has a flat tire, they call AAA. If an addict has a flat tire, they call suicide hotline.

That, alas, would be me.

Now if I could make my Microsoft '98 dictionary thingie come back to tool bar, I'd be...happier.


Quilting Martha said...

Frances, you like my friend, Anthony Trollope. I recommend a day in bed with "the Eustace Diamonds" to clear your head.

It must be a let down to finish such a big project. Kudos to you!

Unknown said...

I applaud this entire post and YOU, its author, Frances. I hope you won't shrink too much from being very, very proud of yourself. You have achieved things I have only dreamed of.

Also: I love that you are the matriarch now. One certainly does not have to be a literal mother to be a matriarch of a clan. And some "real" (gag) mothers are not cut out to be matriarchs. My grandma and my MIL were, but my mom wasn't. I wonder if I will be. Claim it, gurl, and good on you for sending a fabulous gift to the bride.

A writer's residency with Daisy sounds dreamy, heavenly, wondrous. After you take ample time to unwind, give it some serious thought. Maybe it's no coincidence that you ran into your former clients at this exact juncture in your life.

bestgrandkidsever said...

I'm sorry that you won't be at the wedding either, but thrilled that you would be if you could be! (We'll post pictures!) Congrats on finishing the book. Take your to-do list a bite at a time. Even a bite is progress!

April said...

"When one thing ends another one begins. You need to let this end so that the next step can unfold."

A very wise friend said this to me this week, as I struggle with my own big project coming to an end. Letting go is frightening but I am working on it. I've had a bit of a setback this week-end but reading your entry has made me take a deep breath. I am ready to try some more...

Cindy said...

Congratulations on completing the work on AFG! I have had twelve hours of sleep twice this holiday weekend and it has done wonders for my state off mind. That was my only real goal - to get good rest and sleep and visit my family. Congratulations on the abstinence, too!!! You are doing fantastic and I cannot wait to read that book.

Best headlights said...

That is very interesting.

laura said...

I like this post, especially the end. It's another post that seems accepting and content and you know, there seems to be more of these can really tell that being abstinent affects every area of your world. Congratulations.

Laura N said...

What big accomplishments in your life! Staying abstinent through the changes is esp. fabulous. I hope you celebrate YOU this week.

Bea said...

Yeah for finishing AFGZ!!!! Wow. I can't even get a policy for "Greeters" done for the church. Being done is a big darn deal. But not as big as staying abstinent. Kudos.

A "Writers in Residency." Wow. Sounds wonderful. You single New York girls lead such interesting lives. Or at least you could if you left your darn apartment. Come back amongst us. We miss you.