Tuesday, July 29, 2008

a frozen pause in the doorway

Q: what's the best way to stop a thinking brain in its tracks?
A: offer it a new and enormous set of opportunities

I seem to be having this absurdly wonderful year. My editor tells me that they are ordering extra copies of the issue with my feature article, because the article's bound to irritate and educate. This alarms me slightly, but hey. There's a teensy bookish thing (nothing to do with the blog, never going to show up on amazon) that really seems to be happening (oh god oh god oh god) and there's a print deadline for the final copy (final? like, as in I can't change it once I hit 'send?' Cripes). And there's a tentative invitation to submit an essay for a collection - a yawn for the resume, but shriekingly new stuff for me.

Holy shit. Don't they know that I'm making it up as I go along? My editor listed me as a 'parenting expert' in something, and I nearly died laughing. Yeah, right. Then I got scared. I'm not fishing here - the label truly doesn't fit. What parenting expert yells at her kids like I do? I bet Ross Greene doesn't. But I digress: point being, I'm making it up as I go.

I comfort myself that I'm still small, small, baby potatoes in the world of publishing. Nobody really knows my name, I can write without the fear of someone pointing and laughing, it's okay. We're not talking fifteen minutes of fame here, we're talking friends and family and maybe three minutes, tops. One and a half, if they are related to me. That's okay. I can be okay with that. I can sit on my perfectionism long enough to be okay with that, long enough to stop trashing drafts and just hit 'send.'

But I seem to be inching past my margin of safety, and I had to shove myself forward to get this far. A column here, an article there - it was pulling mama-teeth to get them out, it was terrifying. Fear of failure? Ha. That's old hat. This is terror of failure, mixed with equal parts of terror of success. Because success, naturally, comes with the potential for even bigger falling on one's face. And yet, it's all so silly. You want a real problem? Real drama? It's not happening on my blog today.

Not that the perspective helps me any, mind you.

Happily, I now have writer's block. Drag that out another week or two, and it should handily slam a few of the open doors for me. Handy, that.


Julia said...

Wait, there are people who aren't making it up as they go along? I think that would be a bit scary-- someone who knows exactly how to deal with every situation before it comes up.

Also, if you haven't walked out of your comfort zone enough lately, there is always http://awarenessbridges.blogspot.com/
They just launched, and are still looking for an associate editor on allergies. Right up your alley, methinks...

mama o' the matrices said...

"Taking the taunts out of the playground," indeed. Nice line!

dykewife said...

i would trust your parenting skills and insights long before i would someone who's never had kids. i doubt very much that there is a parent on earth who hasn't yelled at their kids. add onto the stress of trying to find nutritious food for kids with severe and multiple allergies along with a potentially fatal blood disorder and i'm pretty much always left in awe that you've not been packed off to the big building with padded walls. :)

you're an amazing parent. you fight to have your kids be treated like kids who don't have medical conditions. you fight for your kids to have normal lives. you may get tired, you may get frustrated, you may get angry, but you're always there for your kids and your kids know, right down to their molecules, that you love them.

put that in your pipe and smoke it :D

Anonymous said...

Please stuff that self-doubt away... trust me, you ARE a parenting expert...

As for the writer's block, I wish I had a cure... I only have a hug... this too shall pass...


Anonymous said...

Wait a second..... I thought you *were* the expert!?! Now who am I going to look up to?

Seriously, though..... congrats on your success. I can't wait to see your book. Can I preorder?


Rachel L. said...

I would say something, but everyone's pretty much covered it. So, ditto!

And congrats and enjoy it if you can.

Auntie A said...

And here is me putting in my faux-parenting 2 cents worth, just to second everything being said and that I read a very interesting article in the Post (National Post, that is) today:
I liked the last paragraph. Maybe you could copy his idea for a book? It would sure save on the writers block! ;)

mama o' the matrices said...

duly humbled here, people. And really - I meant it when I said that I wasn't fishing. And humbled regardless.

Hugs to you all, y'all make for a fabulous back-up. And even though you were pumping me up on the parenting, lo! the writer's block has vanished. Which probably means I ought to write something, dammit. Oh, well.

Auntie A, I agree with the article heartily. That is exactly the type of book that I would want to read! Those perfect kid recipe books never worked for us - I might read one, the Man might skim something, and then the kids would present us with a situation that seemed to have a logical solution completely unrelated to our reading.

Although, admittedly, I do like when I read articles suggesting that we do what we'd already ended up doing...by default. We may be parenting sans-Spockish wisdom, but hey! nice to have approval.

From the, um, experts.