I’m frustrated. Why? It’s everything. It’s nothing. I woke up feeling this way. Actually, I’m a little better now than I was when I first woke up. I made my way to a cafe, and I’m sitting in a secluded corner. The photo above is of a decaf soy ginger latte that I ordered thinking that it was made with ginger tea, not ginger-flavored coffee. I absolutely hate the taste of coffee. Luckily, Adam is with me, and he loves it. He’s letting me drink some of his soy hot cocoa.
A woman sitting across from me had a small dog, and another woman appeared with another small dog and sat down near her. Dog #1 wanted to play and make friends, Dog #2 growled at Dog #1. At first, Dog #1 whined because he was so upset that Dog #2 was unfriendly and acted mad at him. Then, he got down and submitted to Dog #2, which made Dog #2 infinitely happy, so they sniffed each other and wagged tails and then settled down, happy to be friends. Then, Dog #1’s owners decided it was time to go. As soon as Dog #2 saw them packing up, he started whining and wanted another last sniff, so, the owners allowed them to say goodbye. Now, Dog #2 is looking towards the door where Dog #1 disappeared, whining in a forlorn way, so sad to have lost his friend. The whole drama took ten minutes. Are humans also like this?
Yesterday was my writer’s group. I didn’t submit anything, and I had a hard time feeling invested in the pieces that were submitted. This has been happening to me for the last few months. I wonder if it has to do with doing the meeting over Zoom? I’m sure that doesn’t help. The nice thing about the Zoom meetings is that I don’t have to plan ahead, catch three crowded trains, and then get tired and hungry while discussing writing for hours. I can now RSVP at the last minute, sit at my desk, snack when I want, and get tired because I’m so bored.
I think my malaise might be about more than just the Zoom meetings, though, and related to the reason I’m so frustrated this morning. I submitted my manuscript to a place, and I haven’t heard back. They said they would respond within 45 business days. They still have time, so I have no reason to be bothered, really. A friend of mine, who works in the publishing industry, said he’d look over my manuscript and give me some feedback, but I haven’t heard back from him, yet, either. It was infinitely generous of him to say he’d look over my writing, I am so, so grateful for this opportunity that most people don’t get, and it’s reasonable for him to take some time. Everyone responds slowly this time of year–the holidays themselves can be like a part-time job. For some reason, these waits are niggling at me, though. No, not niggling. What’s a word for an intense form of niggling that feels more like getting stabbed by hundreds of needles at once?
I’ve spent many hours reading and studying writing and listening to so many different perspectives and opinions about writing that I don’t know what I think, anymore. Everything is so subjective and can be viewed through a variety of lenses. My confidence in my own opinion is in the toilet. Is this a case of, “the more you know, the more you realize what you don’t know?” Or is it merely a case of, “I’m too untalented to ever be good at this?”
Even if I did eventually manage to become a decent writer, would that even matter? A person in my writer’s group submitted a query letter for a novel he’d workshopped with us for a long time. His book is pretty good. I really enjoyed reading each installment every month. I’m not saying that it’s perfect, but there’s nothing wrong with it that a half-way decent editor couldn’t fix. He wasn’t getting any bites, and discussing his query letter reminded me of the shittiness of the whole system.
I’ve long been in a state of exertion, but I don’t feel like I’m making any progress. I know that being a writer means delayed gratification, if there’s any gratification, at all, and writing has a well-established reputation for driving people absolutely insane. Moreover, it’s thankless and disrespected work because anyone who has ever written an email, tapped out a text, or listened to their internal monologue thinks they could type up a manuscript if they “only had the time,” because it’s not like it’s hard or anything. I’m tired. I’m weary of being on the same old hamster wheel for so long.
So, next week, I’m taking some vacation time. I think maybe I need it.
Well, maybe there’s more. The isolation has really been getting to me. I’m not just talking about the pandemic isolation–although, that isn’t helping–the pandemic didn’t really change my lifestyle much. I wasn’t living a healthy, well-connected life before it hit.
Lately, Adam and I have been talking a lot about moving to London. Things are still up in the air about that, but we know that we want to move. We’re making efforts in that direction. Well, Adam is making efforts in that direction. Anyway, because of that, I’m not motivated to build connections here, and I need a lot of motivation because of the culture and language barriers. On top of everything else, there’s a pandemic. Because the infection and death rates are comparatively low here, no one seems to be in a huge hurry to ship us any vaccines.
So, every once in a while, it occurs to me to realize how terribly lonely I am. That realization usually causes me to recall that I put every piece of my life in place. If I have a problem with it, there’s only one person who can rearrange the pieces.