I’m two-thirds done editing the book, thank God. Once I hit the 200th page, I felt like I could actually do it- actually finish it. Hand it off to someone else and say, “Have at it. I’m tired of looking at it.”
This shares no resemblance to how I felt a few weeks ago, way back on page 100. That was more along the lines of “Maybe I’ll just throw my laptop into Lake Michigan and save myself the trouble.” There were a lot more expletives involved. And clumps of my own hair on the table.
When I used to work on the book in LA, I would take it to the huge library in Santa Monica on weeknights after work. I’d sit at my corner station and watch the seagulls attack the parked cars on the sidewalk. I’d hammer at my laptop keyboard, carefully avoiding eye contact with the homeless people who camped out there during the week (which is where I’d go if I were homeless. Finding a corner and reading all day sounds like heaven right about now. Did I just wish out loud I was a homeless person? I think I need a massive reality check)
If you had appeared out of the stacks from the future, your silver future suit glowing, and told me that a year later I would be unemployed and taken up permanent residence at a table in a Chicago Starbucks, still working on the same book, mind you, and still avoiding eye contact with the homeless people who hang out at Starbucks all day, I probably would’ve stolen your ray gun and said, “Go back from whence you came, devil speaker.”
Then I would’ve be intrigued by the notion of moving to Chicago, of residing among people whose brains haven’t softened from the combination of too much sun and spray tans and Mischa Barton sightings at The Grove. I would wonder about the shiny, futuristic material of your space suit, if it were stain resistant. But I definitely wouldn’t believe I was still working on the same book. Hell no.
I need to believe I haven’t been wasting my time on this. I need to believe that so badly because sometimes the weight of failing at this is more than I can bear. If I fail at this, what’s left? I’d have to settle for a life that will always be second choice. And how exactly do I do that?
The best I can do, at this point, is remind myself that I have absolutely nothing to lose and the only thing I can really do is try and try and try until my head starts bleeding from all the trying. I have to be Rudy about this. I have to be Maggie Fitzgerald. I have to be more than what I fear I am.
After all is said and done, that’s all I can do, right? That and write. And write and write and write…