Bracing Myself For What May Come

Throbbing pain behind my eyes makes writing sort of the last thing I should be doing right now. I can hear the blood coursing in my head in between the droning waves of traffic grinding up the main streets by home.

I close my eyes and nausea swims on top of my belly. Nerves, or just general dis-ease after two days with this headache.

So much got done yesterday — most of my floors, organizing, rearranging, decluttering. Much more needs to occur in the coming weeks for me to have the perfect little home I’ve always wanted but… I’ve never been this close out of the gate, y’know? Feels good. Even as my head pounds and pulses.

I dropped a line to my Mystery Mentor today, all the while going “Gee, what crazy antics in my life. Zoinks! I should write a book about it or something.”

After all this home-fixing-up stuff is done, it’s onto the book in earnest, but not in a “I’m gonna siddown and write eighty-umptillion-schmillion words today!” kind of way — instead, I’m writing me a book proposal.

It’s kinda assbackwardy, truth be told.

You figure out kinda an outline for your book. You pitch it. You go “Holy smokes, this is brilliance, buy my book!” in a way that doesn’t actually say that. Then you send that to agents and hope one goes “Holy smokes, this is brilliance, I must buy this book!” One does, they sign you, you’re hard at work on the book you’ve proposed, and meanwhile the agent goes to publishers and says, “LOOK. BRILLIANCE. Buy this! Publish it!” One does, you get a fat advance, you finish the book, everyone lives happily ever after.

Uh-huh. Or so I wanna believe.

I wrote last week about the Patti Labelle advice for her 30-year-old self, “Believe the hype, baby.” Honestly, I believe that’s been the biggest struggle for me in recent years. Learning to see myself on the inside as other people perceive me to be — and I still ain’t there by a long shot.

And that’s the interesting dilemma I’ll face in the Book Proposal Project: I need to believe.

I need to believe the story I’ve got to tell and sell is better than one that anyone at a party has behind them.

I’ve got to believe my story’s compelling enough to make someone stop in the middle of filling their glass at the office watercooler and say to their coworker, “So this book I’m reading, you should totally go there!”

THAT’S the game you need to believe you bring BEFORE you write a book. If you don’t THINK you’re that compelling, if you don’t BELIEVE your story has that much gravitas, then what the fuck are you doing? Don’t waste MY time, but sure as shit don’t waste yours. A book’s a one, two, five-year commitment, man. It’s not frivolity.

Believing this is where being raised as a Catholic Canadian really hoodwinks a (not as) fat-girl.

  • Who’s better at feeling guilty than a Catholic?
  • Who’s better at being sorry than a Canadian?
  • Who’s better at being insecure than a fat girl?

Oh, hey, now… have I got a book for you!

So, as I sit here with my pounding head in my ever-simplifying home, I realize next week is game on and I start this book proposal. My awareness of its psycho-emotional implications, though, are new.

My understanding that the book proposal itself may turn into a therapy exercise is probably the most important realization I can have. Therapy’s great, but then you gotta stand back like a comedian and point and laugh.

But this is the week the foundation is laid. By removing all my distractions — this pile of papers there, the clutter over here, the floors that need to be cleaned or the crap that needs to be donated — I’m creating a landscape or work environment in which my focus can only be pulled so far away at any given time.

The focus next week is to start the book proposal — but deliberately doing a therapeutic version. I’ll get the bullshit out, then blast it away with my irreverence and self-deprecation. What’s left will probably be a very good fascimile of who I am as a writer.

But I won’t get there if I don’t go through who I am as a person first.

The reality is, my book is about me. Between now and the end of this, I need to believe I — me, myself, girlie-o, chickadee, moi, yours truly – am worth plunking down some $30–40 on in hardcover form. I need to believe I can see YOU sitting in an armchair with a blanket around your legs and a glass of wine in hand, flipping page over page as you can’t wait to read how I got out of that NEXT jam, while ignoring your phonecalls and promising you’ll get to those emails come dawn.

I need to believe that.

And if you want to write a book? You need to believe that, too.

There’s a strange dichotomy in the mind of anyone who needs to have YOU buy a piece of themselves for their livelihood. There’s the legend-in-one’s-own-mind syndrome that butts heads against the reality of almost all of us getting taunted, mocked, or just plain failing at one point or another in our lives.

Insecurities aren’t rare. They don’t all cripple their owners, though.

My insecurities were bigger because I was bigger. I couldn’t fucking hide. I was 277 pounds and size 24. Where the fuck am I gonna go, right? That was only the beginning of the end of where it all came from, the beginning of what I needed to get past in order to tell the story I now think you’ll one day be okay with dropping $29.95 on.

In the meantime, minions?

Unemployment’s giving me the chance to get back into a life I somehow lost for a while — cycling, writing, enjoying my home, living simply, and, yes, even dating. I’m dusting myself off and getting back into dating** after a long time of just being completely disinterested. Do I want “love” right now? [shrug] I dunno. Whatcha got? Right?

We’ll see what the world unfolds. I feel like anything can happen right now, and despite the seemingly negative turn of events losing my job would appear to unleash, I feel very much the opposite — that opportunity is everywhere.

I feel like it’s my time, but the only thing holding me back is finding the path from here to there, and dialing up the courage and resilience it’ll take to keep walking that path long after the bloodied sores and blisters emerge.

Ever read Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist? No? You should. Right now, no matter what I do, there’s a very quiet little air of Maktub* in the back of my mind.

But I still need to do the writing.

*In the book, Coelho explains MAKTUB as meaning “it is written” in Arabic, a sort of idea of fate and determination.

**I’m taking applications. No. Really.

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