I have a bad habit of piling too much on my plate — both literally and metaphorically — and right now I’m feeling the stomach ache that comes of trying to follow through on everything I’ve committed to.
The problem is, every time someone (usually my husband or my therapist) asks what I can take off my plate to make my life more digestible, I guard that heaving dish with my teeth bared. I need everything on it, either financially or emotionally/spiritually. Sure, I could live without pitching and writing freelance pieces, but what kind of life would that be, feeling the wind nip my ears as opportunities only recently discovered whip by me at breakneck speed? And I don’t expressly need to teach, but the joy I get from it is unlike anything else, and it reminds me why I love engaging with other writers and their work.
I always joke that I have three jobs: my day job, my writing career (which includes trying to land a new agent to shop my secondmemoir and future novels), and teaching. The truth is that they rarely converge all at once, so juggling is mostly easier than it seems.
But this week marks the eclipse.
I’m teaching a six-week memoir-writing class starting Wednesday; I have a huge writing deadline Friday and only two more months to query agents before I pivot to small press submissions; and, oh, right, I still need to do my full-time job so I can eat and stuff. All of this, plus the holidays and planned international travel…let’s just say I’m hanging on for dear life as the earth continues its constant movement, rudely ignoring my angsty desire for a pause in which to catch my breath. Remember when I said I was looking forward to the forced rest of fall? LOLSOB.
Anyway, wish me luck not disappointing my students, my editors, or my boss as I hurtle through the rest of the year. I’ll try to fit in a November and December newsletter around the edges to avoid disappointing you too, but if I should fail, I’ll ask your forgiveness in the new year.
Here’s all the stuff I promised in September — three pieces published during the same bonkers week in October. First, there was this piece in Refinery29 about the intersection of sex and identity. Then there was this essay about deciding to go on medication for my anxiety, which I’ve been trying to publish for a year and which I was so happy to find a home for in The Good Trade. And, finally, there was this article about fatphobia in the unfriendly skies and how to fly internationally anyway (because fuck fatphobia and fuck the airlines too, especially Delta and Alitalia).
I’ve actually way outstripped my Goodreads annual goal this year, which is both great and also mild-blowing. I spent most of October reading friends’ as-yet-unpublished books, but I also read nearly all of Free Food for Millionaires before my audiobook loan ran out — currently waiting to be allowed to check it out again so I can get a sense of completion. Whew, that thing is a monster. Now I’m (appropriately) devouring the very strange and yet totally sense-making novel Nightbitch and listening to We Keep the Dead Close for book club.
A Random Joy
After much waiting on tenterhooks by the neighborhood at large, a beloved regional bagel shop finally opened about six blocks from our house, and I — who truly never win anything, excluding the white/cis/no-student-loans privilege game — actually WON the contest to guess when their opening date would be! I get a baker’s dozen free bagels every month until the end of the year, which, yeah, okay, I wish they’d opened in July like they planned, but still! 39 free bagels from now through December! I am not mad at that.