The Hubs went to Portugal this week, which left me home alone with my writing and my seventh grader who was busy being in seventh grade, so really just with my writing. Also with my refrigerator, laundry, TV, and (extremely shitty) Wi-Fi. Those things, and faceless footsteps that ascend and descend the service stairs behind a wall in my kitchen. And some credit cards, of course, which come in handy when I’m craving
confit de canard wine. Which comes in handy when my temporary expat friends here in Paris blow me off for lunch because they are… doing what? Eating eclairs while watching France24?
I don’t Facebook, so I have that going for me.
I’m happy to report that I submitted not one, not one and a half, but TWO short stories to literary journals this week. “I Always Enjoyed Public Transportation” is the story of a man on the brink who needs to renew his driver’s license. “Paper Trail” is a re-work of a short story I originally wrote a half-dozen years ago (sad, I know) about a woman’s afternoon in the Domestic Relations section of her county courthouse. The former went to Corium Magazine, and the latter went to American Short Fiction. Yes, I know the latter is a stretch but that story has been marinating for six whole years. If it were steak, it’d be Kobe, which is fucking delicious.
In the meantime, I also decided to completely reposition, revise, rejigger, and < le sigh > rewrite my novel. Yup, the novel I have been struggling with, deliberating over, and writing
every chance I get when aliens threaten to waterboard me - that novel - I’m starting over, people.
This makes me sad. It makes me happy too, but it does make me sad. You know what else makes me simultaneously happy and sad? Just as I was choking on the realization that temporary expat friendships here in Paris can be really crappy, my Bestie (braving the Bomb Cyclones at home in Philly) sent me an email about mangled English, gay weddings, church songs from our youth, life changing lunches and relevant chocolate, Velibs and reformed hookers, pop-up orchestras, French movies, old men enchanted by 40-something chit chat, our sentence-completing friendship that spans decades, and the Can Can. I cried. Then I emailed her back and begged her not to FaceTime me because that would be embarrassing, and she totally got that.
But back to the writing part. You are probably asking yourself by now how on God’s green earth I had the level of concentration and work ethic necessary to submit two short stories and mentally revise the entire state of my novel in less than one week. Well, I’ll tell you. I found ten left-over Adderall pills in my medicine cabinet from an old stash prescribed to one of our children before he gracefully weaned himself from that Adderall which I never had the balls to toss because do you know how much mullah that shit is worth?
And let me tell you why Adderall is in such high demand. Not only did I dedicate hours to my keyboard banging out fiction, but I also tried my hand at some custom URL bullcrap, in an attempt to give this here blog its very own identity, only to learn that no matter how sophisticated and lubricated my level of medicated concentration is, I am still technologically challenged. This resulted in the crash and burn of my entire blog site, a situation I would work to correct, given I still have plenty of Adderall pulsing through my veins, but alas. I have been distracted.
In the midst of my Custom URL Parisian Pity Party Dot Com, I received: Rejection Letter Numero Deux.
Yes, dear friends, the esteemed editors at Word Riot have found “Me and My Fake Tits” isn’t a fit for them, although the fiction editor noted he “enjoyed the read.”
I’m currently devouring Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing, and just last night I read the part where he recalls putting a nail into his bedroom wall and impaling all of his rejection letters with that nail until no more rejection letters would fit so he hung another nail to expand his collection of rejection letters. I’ve been debating how to display my rejection letters now that they are rolling in. I think this is the solution.
I’m also currently enjoying the fact Netflix is finally (!!) available in France, and I have used these evenings that The Hubs is in Portugal to blow through the entire first season of Orange is the New Black while gulping mouthfuls of Nespresso and reminding myself that rejection comes in many forms. Electronic letters stored on Submittable or emails sent from Paris friends apologizing that they can’t have lunch yet again because their kids have Ebola or some other shit like that - none of it matters.
I have the Bestie. What else does a lady need?
(Oh, and I have one more week’s supply of Adderall. That’s pretty good, too).