A numbered list of how I’m really good at holding it together in the lead up to my book deadline
ONE: I am walking Coco at a nearby park like I usually do after writing my brains out, my headphones in my ears as I listen to one of 700 different true crime podcasts people have recommended to me because I love to unwind to stories of serial murderers—Calgon was, in fact, convicted of 14 different brutal murders, all in pink bathtubs, no joke—when an older black man with a head of gray hair who is dressed in a metallic green jumpsuit wearing roller-skates with pink wheels passes by us and is skate-dancing as if it is disco night at the rink. He says, “Hey! How you doin’?” while giving us a thumbs up, briefly turns around and skates backwards to nod at us, and then effortlessly turns back around and continues to dance. For the first time in the 16 years that I have been living in Utah I think, “Maybe I could live here.”
Maybe this could work.
TWO: Happy Birthday to the Avon Sales Leader! I love you dearly, mother. Thank you for continuing to save my life.
THREE: Butcher Box told me it would always write to inform me of promotions that they are running, and some of you have asked me to alert you as well. Since they are one of my favorite partners to work with (I even interviewed the founder on my podcast), I wanted to let you know they are running a special deal where new customers will get 2 Free Filet Mignon (2x6oz) + Free Bacon + $10 off. ButcherBox Filet Mignons are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished and raised free from antibiotics and hormones. This offer expires on 4/15 at Midnight PST.
FOUR: What else? Oh, Don’t you love it when a doctor requires you to come in and see them before they will refill a prescription? I love this! THIS IS THE BEST EXPERIENCE EVER. Because I don’t know what to do with all my free time. It’s like, do I google tasteful porn? Do I pluck stray nose hairs? Do I answer any of the 1,250 unanswered emails in my inboxES? The choices are overwhelming and equally alluring. Someone come fan me before I faint.
I especially love it when in this case it is my daughter who only has three pills left in her bottle, and afterward we also had to go to the dentist—all three of us—with mere days left before my book is due to my editor. And dance lessons. And piano practice. And an extra set of piano lessons. And Marlo is dressing up as Beethoven at the annual 3rd-grade Wax Museum happening within hours of my deadline, so everything is super chill. One of my favorite artists played last night, in Salt Lake City, of all places, and despite the chaos of my day BY GOD I GOT TO BEHOLD HIM. I gave him my money for playing live and bought his merchandise and IF YOU CANNOT TELL I AM HOLDING IT TOGETHER BY A FEW STRAY FEATHERS FROM A DEAD BIRD I FOUND IN THE ROAD AND SOME USED TOOTH FLOSS. There is a chunk of chewed-up taco meat hanging from my earlobe right now.
I am almost there. I am almost done. I see the end, and it is near and glorious and, yet, frighteningly distant. Pretty soon I can start writing here more frequently and I will be quite happy to do the sprint writing that comes more easily to me than the marathon writing that is a book. Although, it has been an incredible experience writing this book. At some point I’ll describe what is has been like in detail (juicy details included), but for now, I can’t wait to hand it over and begin the next phase of getting it into print: edits, more edits, and even more edits. Plus more edits. And then one more edit. And then another. Whenever you see a writer anywhere joking about the excruciating experience it is to write a book, y’all need to bookmark that shit and send it to me, because I wish I could find the tweet where someone was jovially asked, “How far along are you on your book?” and she quoted the tweet and said, “FUCK YOU.”
Take her at her word.
UPDATE: Goddamn, that refill for Marlo’s prescription. It took 10 minutes, after a 30-minute wait. And it was a $50 copay. And yet, I had to check her out of school and drive her to the clinic and take a 90-minute slice out of my day to do so. Yeah, I am a full-time single parent who works full-time, but I have flexibility in my job. No longer do I wonder how I’d be a full-time single parent—I AM SOMEWHAT INTIMATE WITH THE INTRICATE DETAILS HERE FOUR YEARS LATER—I wonder, how the fuck do y’all do it who don’t have the flexibility that I do, and maybe that’s the next phase of my life: figuring out how to help those who don’t.
I’m hoping my book speaks to what we go through and the toll it takes. If it makes one person feel a little less alone, all this work will have been a triumph.