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Archive for September, 2009

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Chapter Two has started out less efficiently than I expected. It’s been 3 weeks and I don’t have a job, my closets are a mess and my triceps are still drapey sacks of useless flesh. But I’ve been having fun going out for lunch, drinking coffee, browsing at the bookstore, and playing a lot of bridge. Yes, bridge. I know, right? I’ll cover bridge another time — I’ll need time to cover it.

Anyhoo, while I’ve been messing around living a temporary (and financially deprived) life of suburban leisure, I haven’t stopped thinking about what I need to do next. Do I make money with a marketing job and start repaying the enormous debt caused by my time “off-ramp,” or do I get honest and pursue what I’ve secretly always wanted to do? Do I try and write?

I’ve been through the whole “do what you love, love what you do” argument. I’ve considered the now-or-never timing ever since my age rudely shoved me into the middle (God willing) of my life. I’ve analyzed the lifestyle issues:self-discipline, time management, low pay, even the loneliness. I’m pretty good with most of it.

What I’m not good with is the emotional part. You don’t have to read very deep in this blog to grasp my desperate need for approval. I can make myself sick waiting for a little validation or encouragement. The first hour after I hit “publish” is dicey. I’ve gone back and hit “delete post” on at least three separate occassions.

It’s not that I need ego stoking, well okay, it is — but not because my ego is so big it needs to be fed. Rather, it’s because my ego is such a pussy. Someone could walk by and take it out with just a funny look.

I’ve loved to write since I was a kid. My parents divorced when I was young, and we moved around a lot. Stories kept me company. I’ve written in a journal since I was nine. Anyone who writes knows what this is like: I have to write. It keeps me quiet, grounded and fortified.

Recently I’ve been reading what other writers have written about writing. The one thing each one (Stephen King, Sol Stein, Anne Lammot, Betsy Lerner, my Uncle Fred) has said is that a writer has to be brave. She needs to write honestly. She can’t be afraid of what others say. This is the only way to possibly be good.

See the problem here? I want approval, but the only way for me to get approval is to not want approval. This is the point when I moan, define myself as woe and seek refuge in my anonymous blog.

But the blog is not as safe anymore because in deciding to test my bravery, I outed myself. I gave this URL to someone in Jcrewville I know who is ridiculously well-read and masterfully critical. She is intelligent and knows everyone, I mean EVERYone, in town. This could give her power over my sorry, little, writer-wannabe soul. But I am brave (while furiously checking stats).

It’s been three days and I’ve gotten nothing. I figure either a) she already found out about the blog and read it a while ago, or b) is not interested, or c) both. So this is the point when I say: so what. So whaaaaat! And I hit “publish” and leave the house for a pumpkin latte because whether I suck or not, I want to write –and my triceps will always be drapey sacks of useless flesh.

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Chapter 2

first day 018

Today I dropped off two daughters at school. One begins her last year at elementary school and the other begins her first. When we got within sight of the playground, my fifth grader (!) ran off. I never saw her again – confirmation that indeed, her friends are preferable company.

I walked my first grader in and helped her find her locker, her classroom, her desk. We took pictures, pointed animatedly at her nearby friends and then I stood back with all the other moms and waited. It couldn’t have been less than 90 degrees in the classroom. My eyes were stinging from the 7:00am wake-up call and my back was slick with sweat.

The place was swarming with parents. Some moms were brushing away tears and others were maneuvering for the door. I leaned down to her tiny desk to kiss her goodbye and she distractedly blew in my face – an aborted attempt to blow me a kiss, I think.

I left the classroom missing her already and at the same time, silently screaming “Woo-hoo! I’m freeee!!!!”

Now I sit in my silent house, one kitten at my feet, a cup of coffee next to the laptop and I’m ready to get started.

Chapter 2.

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