Friday, March 5, 2010

February 28, 2010

On Friday, the 26th, I had dinner with a friend who's been in my life so long we are more than family in the merely technical sense, we really are family. His father is my uncle, his sister (TEO) is my cousin; my sister in a way--the closest I will ever come to one. His brother, his nephews, I love them as much as anyone with whom the incident of DNA or marriage links me.

B is tired, and under pressure the like of which I suspect I will never have to endure. And he paid me the astounding compliment of getting, out of our time together, a bit of laughter, some genuine fun, and reason to thank me for understanding.

Of course, I never will understand. I have long been "Dear Abby" to my friends, as I have always called it - this capacity for being turned-to, for somehow distracting people from pain, from tension. The central function of that is knowing we will *never* deeply understand one another. But we can care, and make it known, and we can know what NOT to waste someone's time saying. And we can make them know there is nothing *they* can say which is a waste of time. Nothing.

Laughing my tail of with my friend, my cousin, B, was such a beautiful thing. I'd been under some stress of my own, things which as yet will remain undiscussed here for technical reasons. Last week was hard, and filled with ups, downs, some very good things and some very hard things, and one diamond-hard hopeful thing which reminded me that some stress is positive stuff. I went from hideous, free-form guilt (fifty points and a bag of potato chips to the reader who gets that hideous, free-form reference) to unjustifiable euphoria, back to guilt, and some external tension again. Concurrent with this, I was working hard on the novel, and hoping very much to be able to say I'd completed the work on it - to be able to send it to the agent who asked for three chapters, last October at JRW's conference.

So as to prevent anyone else's stress, any bruises to the arm, or broken bowls of petunias (only twenty-five points for that reference, kids), I will say this much about that last: I emailed the chapters, having read the whole of them (the first fifty-six pages of the novel) to myself, out loud, over the course of the weekend, and making sure they at least are unimpeachably "clean". The email went to the agent, 8:50 p.m., Sunday, February 28, 2010. I hit my goal: to do this by the end of the month in which my (forty-second) birthday occurred.


I won't shy away from admitting: I cried.

My brother had called earlier in the evening, and he said to me, "Dad would be proud."

My mom fielded my "I did it" call after I did it, and was wonderfully mom-like. She took me to dinner Monday, another day filled with extreme importance (again, not for publication now), and she and my stepdad and I had a really good time. I arrived after they did, popped out the flash drive on which the document lives, and said, "Your grandbook! It's a boy!" Mom poured the olive oil for my bread, and said, "It's not every day I serve a novelist." The food was perfect, the company was lovely, the excitement was fun, and the waiter dropped a whole spaghetti with marinara on the table but NONE of us got spattered (and mom was wearing a cream sweater!). They brought her a whole new one (it had already made it as far as a to-go box), and also gave us the most delicious, creamy, cool, subtly-nutmegged and wonderfully-vanilla-y rice pudding, which we shared.

Then I went home, opened email, and got a piece of news which was wholly unexpected, disappointing, and frustrating. But which will not stop me from being amazing.

Tonight, I have been watching my yummy-delicious new Star Trek (2009) DVD. Mmmmm. Star Trek. I love this movie. I mean, LOVE this movie. I first saw it with E, a million miles from anyone either of us has ever known or met. I second saw it in the magnificent old movie palace in my city, and ran into someone delightful from my previous employer. And now, tonight, I third saw it in my beautiful home, with my beautiful dog, while that beautiful E flies above the Pacific Ocean, with his own family. That I'm PMS'ing means it made me cry, but in that good, "oh, long distance telephone service commercials are so SAD!" kind of hormonal way which makes me so happy I am a female and get hormones that make me FEEL something, and sometimes something so good and squishy. And next - special features. Mmmm, Trek special features. Aww. Awesome.

It has been a long week, and a hard one in some ways. Two weeks, really. But weird, good, and amazing.

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