Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Talk Thursday: We're Not In Kansas.

The praying hands sculpture
outside Oral Roberts University. Eesh.
And we're not in Dallas, either.  Or we weren't for the weekend, anyway.  I was supposed to go up to Tulsa to be in an outdoor swim race, using the term "race" as loosely a possible.  I mean, you've seen Michael Phelps.  And you've seen me.  And you know I look about as much like Michael Phelps as Paul Ryan looks like Heidi Klum.  So when I say "race," here, I'm talking about "making it to the finish line under my own power," as opposed to, say, "being hauled along by a guy in a canoe while somebody calls 911."  Extra bonus points if I manage not to be last.  But about three days before I was supposed to leave, I realized this whole "race" thing wasn't going to happen.  I was having knee issues and fear-of-sunburn issues and if-I-have-to-swim-this-thing-in-the-burqini-I'm-going-to-be-even-slower-than-the-slowest-one-there.  So I quit.  Bailed on the race.  Said to hell with it and drove up to Tulsa with no intentions whatever of jumping into a lake.

So what did I do instead, you ask.  Well, I had dinner with an old friend.  

If you've been following me around for long enough, you might remember my somewhat ill-fated trip to New Orleans for the Pen to Press Writer's Retreat.  While I was there, I met somebody in one of those I've-known-you-my-whole-life sorts of ways.  His name's Rhett, and he lives in Tulsa with his wife and extended family.  We were going to have dinner anyway, back when I was swimming in the race, but, yeah.  I drove 500 miles round trip to have dinner with Rhett.  And you know what?  I felt a lot better for having done it.  

Let's face it, I haven't been having an easy time of it the last, oh, six or eight months.  It's gotten bad enough that I've had to See Somebody about it, and up until I got back from Tulsa I didn't have much hope of things ever improving.  I feel different now.  Well, kind of like things might improve after all, even if they haven't, yet, exactly.  The most important thing Rhett told me is that I have to keep going.  I can't stop mid-novel and just not pick it up again because it's, you know, gotten all difficult on me.  Nor can I stop pimping the one I've already finished to everyone and God.  I've only sent it out to about 107 people.  That means there's 6,999,999,893 people I haven't sent it to yet.  My God, I really have to get moving.  That's a serious lot of emails.  

Speaking of Seeing Somebody, the New Guy said something to me the other day that just about knocked my socks off.  I was describing my fits of anxiety with writing query letters, which, just incidentally, were bad enough a few years ago (when I still drank) that I had to get drunk to write them.  He said he wouldn't be too surprised if a lot of writers had problems with query letters.  There might be a question of degree, what with needing Scaley and Fang framed in my kitchen and so on, but seriously, what I'm trying to do (he said) is very hard.  Writers are superstitious creatures.  Probably most of them have some sort of query-letter ritual they go through when they send one of those horrible things to somebody who might or might not read more than the first six words.

Again, I had to hold on to my socks.  Seriously?  Not only am I consumed by anxiety, but I'm not even unique?  Holy cats. I don't even know what to do with that.  Except to keep going.  To keep going is easier than stopping.  If you don't know that, you've never driven back from Tulsa to Dallas on a Sunday afternoon in a beat-up '98 Corolla.  

Yep, I came full circle on that one.  Without stopping at the Choctaw casino, even.  

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