You've shown so much support, concern and wisdom in how to handle my unwitting parachute jump, that I owe you both thanks and the partial resolution.
I think the metaphor I felt earlier this week was standing on sand as the tide moves out. I see it now as an identity crisis, not helped by simple things like not being able to get hold of my sales rep at the Canadian drugstore from which I order my steeply discounted Zoloft (don't worry: I ponied up the $40 for a two-week supply and will do it again if I have to) or wondering when a client would pay me.
It's pretty easy to see now that I and my agent, in tandem, made enough noise at my editor to get a verbal, positive response to the revised manuscript I turned in eleven weeks ago: I needed, to told my editor, to know where I stand with her in order to stand. I've become a kind of aunt to my parents which is shocking at the immature age of 52. The silence regarding the thing I love best in the world -- writing -- stripped me of an enormous part of my self. As soon as I got the validation I needed (the manuscript will be accepted), I felt like I could breathe and plan to move on.
The next masks, of course, and fashioned to suck me away from everything I love, are depression and compulsive eating. I know how much my mood is improved by being abstinent. I know how much more I can feel that I'm a writer and an author. By accepting the restrictions of my food plan, I can accept more easily the fact that I really can't do anything about my parents' situation, that it's their journey and by being with them, the journey stops.
The only person I'd like to talk to about all of this (it's so complicated; we've been through so many rounds of discussion and argument; their moods change three times a day) is my brother. His last response to me was to go to church and pray. That's good advice but not quite sufficient. His wife is in the loop so the loneliness of the looniness isn't as acute. So I have one tool and one action: accept the need for me to let them assess their happiness, health and peace of mind.
My favorite dog moves to the `burbs next week. The failure of a couple of family members to respond is another feeling of loss. I could get tremendously angry at losing my abstinence but I don't, frankly, have the energy. I have just about enough energy to try to make in through Day Two and to thank you all for listening. I'll be in the Rooms tomorrow.
I'm moderating a panel on memoirs tomorrow at LA Times Festival of Books, and I'm asking my panelists about privacy -- jumping off from this Anne Lamott quot...