Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Oprah Says

I've been running across this quote I can't find in a quick search before I go walk Honey Bear this morning, something about what can you do today to change who you are in a year.

I'm thinking about it because I'm pulling through some precarious times right now and I've done more than my fair share of hiding from the scariness of that.  But today I got up at 7 and thought to myself with some marvel, "There are a thousand things you could do today.  What do you want to do?"

This is, on further reflection, not a terribly helpful optimism.  Too much choice is as deadly as being condemned to a list of horrid tasks.  The answer is, I don't know.  Most of the things don't match up to that Oprah thing, which got me wondering if Oprah really lives her life that way.  Does she get up every day and do something that will be memorable in a year, that will change her?  Because among the thousand possibilities for me are cleaning my house and going to the grocery store.  Both are driving me nuts but I'm not sure if straightening out some surfaces will change who I am in a year.

But then, Oprah probably doesn't scrub her bathroom floor or keep an eye on dwindling dog biscuits.

One of the things I need to do is push my own social media into some gear or another beyond what I do now.  In fact, this means treating myself as I do My Other Life.  My Other Life takes up prodigious amounts of time as it is.  I am obligated to it.  And now I have to treat myself, my publishing life, as I do My Other Life.

Dangerous ground for someone with the self-esteem of a fly caught in the spider web.

It means, too, admitting I have changed.  I'll have to switch names on my Twitter account, from Eating Ice Cream to plain old Frances Kuffel.  The picture I've used will have to change.  The picture of Eating Ice Cream with My Dog will have to become Love Sick on Facebook.  I'm no longer that book.  The most startling thing in the galley of Love Sick is a page that says "By Frances Kuffel" with three books under it.

I did that?

I got a jpeg of my jacket from my editor yesterday and had a conference call with her, my publicity person at Berkeley and my agent. 

I've done my math and I need to sell 8,000 copies of this book to earn out my advance.  I have a career to redeem.  I'm nervous.  I feel fatter and rustier than I did the hour before that call.

And now the deed is done.  The book is coming out on June 3rd.  The question then is the next book.  This will be the rosary book and I feel like a phony.  But the thing about the rosary is that it's so much about handing off struggle and even faith -- pray for us sinners, thy will be done and, from the Mysteries, "I have come to call sinners, not the just".  I think it's OK to be my kind of phony and say these prayers because I'm not flouting my piety, I'm parading my lack of faith, my questioning Catholicism, my neediness for a friend (or "Friend," as Louisa May Alcott would put it).

Which brings me back to today.  What should I do today?  What will change me in a year?  Will saying the rosary change me?  Will blogging change me?  Will cleaning the bathroom change me?

Maybe, for some of Us, the question is what will change us for the evening.  Crookedly holding to my Lent resolutions of the rosary and blog will make me a little more peaceful tonight, as would a cleaned up shelf or two, and some broccoli in my stomach.  An accumulation of such days would be a good year, a body of work. 

A lot hangs in the balance today, this week.  I've submitted proposals to increase the scope and remuneration of My Other Life.  I've got to set up things from My Other Life as parts of My Life.  Galleys are going out, ideas have been tossed around: Love Sick has set sail and is no longer mine.  Should I go in search of more walks or hang in there to see what happens with the proposals?

What should I eat for dinner?


Susan said...

This is so great! I love the cover of the new book and can't wait to see it smelling great and looking shiny on the shelves! You are such a great story teller.

Waiting for new things to start can be paralyzing...keep moving, you're doing great!

GeebaMom said...

How irritating is it if I say, "One Day At A Time"?

And Oprah doesn't have a handle on this crap either. Her weight goes up and down with the rest of us and she's got all the tools one could need at her disposal.

Why do we insist on letting our weight make us feel like the other things we accomplish in life aren't important?

Hilary said...

Congratulations on your book! This is great news. I agree--all the seemingly small things we do in a day really do matter. You're sure right about Oprah--she never has to lift a finger again if she doesn't want to. She's done some good things, but she's no Mother Teresa either. She and Gayle could feed the world with just the contents of their closets!!! Okay, I do know that she periodically gets rid of stuff.

Kitty said...

I have been watching and waiting for your next book, as I really enjoyed you first 2 books. I have read passing for thin and angry fat girls so many times over I have lost count. Lovesick has been listed on amazon for some time and I have it on my wish list ready to buy as soon as it is released. I hope they will also release your book on kindle which means instant access, as I live in Australia books take several weeks to arrive. I wish you all the very best and am so pleased you are blogging again, I missed you.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to reading your new book!