There is nothing like a good bout of outrage. Especially when you are struggling to stay on schedule and still find yourself writing ¾ of a story every week and despite the hundreds of story ideas that seem to have seeped up in your brain from god-knows-where, clogging all other thought processes, the overarching question in your mind is: Why the hell can I not manage time better? And then you remember, there are other things happening in life. And voila! Displacement. And outrage.
Grumble, grumble, mutter, mutter. (To quote my ten-year old).
This week has been outrageous in all sorts of ways:
I had a story accepted by a journal that also published Ray Bradbury. Yay.
I realized that the short play I am performing in is only three weeks away and I know only five lines. Boo.
I managed to find a recommendation for my application to the Sewanee Writer’s conference. Yay.
Two months to go till AWP and hanging out with K.K. Yay.
Somewhere out there, there is an article floating around about the privilege of being a “kept” writer. Wait, I am “Kept?” Identity crisis. Boo.
I have come nowhere close to making that dent in my reading list. Boo.
The deadlines piled up a bit more this week. Boo.
Harper Lee’s novel is coming out. Ok, this one is a not of personal relevance other than that I loved this novel back in tenth grade. So maybe a Booyay. (Ooooh. “Boo” Radley. Is there a clever word for what just happened there?)
The number of people who have hell to pay because shit was going down: Well, er, let me not count them. But they do include everyone who lives with me, random drivers, the Starbucks barista who told me no one in the world knew the calorie count to the drinks on the menu (he has been corrected), my fellow actors in the upcoming play (learn the frickin’ lines), random girl who smiled at me in mall and was met with what I think might have been an unnecessarily deathly stare, the social system, the terrorists, the Pakistani government, the people doing something about politics in Pakistan, the people doing nothing about politics in Pakistan, dead plant on my driveway, and random bird that managed to poop exactly in the middle of the outdoor lounger.
It’s been pretty busy.
But here’s the strange thing. This sort of works for me. Floats my boat. Does it for me, if you know what I mean. No, not that, you pervert. I mean in a mental high sort of way. A sort of drive me to the brink of patience, dogged desire to stay at my computer, yell at everyone who comes my way to interrupt writing time sort of way. These stories and I have been staring each other down, circling like two cowboys in an old western, hands on holsters, dust kicking up at our feet, tumbleweeds rolling by. Oooo, ooo, ooooo. (I promise I am much better at delivering sound effects in person.)
As K.K says: “This is everything you are working towards.”
It is. I don’t mind the madness. As long as I can step out of my bubble once in a while and go haywire with someone else. Someone equally mad, equally affected by things they read, think about, experience. Of an equal, as I like to say, artistic temperament.
One of these people, a fellow Temperamental, is Carrie Addington, a poet and another junkie I met a few years ago at the Breadloaf conference in Sicily. Except I suppose Carrie would be more a hair junkie than a lipstick one, given that she loads me up with hair goodies from the company she works for, and thus enables hair swishing during moments of high drama in my personal life. K.K and her don’t know each other personally but I keep tagging both of them in the same things on Facebook and now, inevitably, when I speak to either one of them, they ask about the other as naturally as if they were referring to a common friend. It’s a nice feeling, this coming together of crazies.
Even though Carrie and I don’t quite share that inclination for the same form of craft, she has been known to keep me in line by demanding I send her a story a week. Which makes her a precursor to this whole experiment. Which means, I was doing this crazy thing before I realized I was doing this. Whoa, etc.
I am realizing, more than ever, how much this company means to me. The title for this blog “Lipstick junkies in the trenches” came in the middle of a conversation, a half joke, a nod to K.K and I and our love for things both girlie and gritty. But as this project goes on, as the weeks progress, I am starting to find more meaning in those words. We are, indeed, junkies, and we are, definitely, in the trenches. Huddled up, ready, adrenaline pouring. I like that image, that idea that even beyond the two of us, there are people. Like Carrie, like David (read her blog from last week), who we can pull down here with us. To play in the mud, to sit in madness, and to write, over and over, until we fall, exhausted.
COUNTDOWN TO AWP ’15 and this: