Tuesday, October 18, 2011


 Sometimes he finishes my sentences and gets it right. Sometimes he finishes my sentences and I want to throw something at him. And I've been known to throw things. Fits. Unopened cans of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup. Cellphones. The bathwater out and that damned baby, too.

"The thing that drives me crazy about this..." that was me. My line. My mistake is trying to reduce it, whatever it is, to just one thing. The thing that drives me crazy. As if.

I know, I know, on top of writing, you're the one doing all the housework. That was him.

True, but that wasn't what I was going to say. I may have snarled. I didn't throw anything. "Yes, but..."

He tried again. I know the money worries me, too.

Wrong again. Well, I mean, he was right. Of course the money stuff is worrying me to no end. I swear that at least 50% of my excess body fat is due to that fucking stress hormone, but no, I was going to say something more specific about money.

"Listen to me!" Now there's a universal cry if ever there was one. "What makes it so hard to focus sometimes is that when I had a job, I showed up, I did my job, I got paid. It was a given. Now! Now, there's a very real possibility that I'll do all this work - the writing, the editing, the fretting over finding an agent  - all this time spent on this and there's no guarantee that I'll ever be paid a cent for it."

Saying it didn't make it better. I felt flattened, defeated, over it. Why can't I just find a real job? A job with a paycheck? How did I go from being capable of managing an organization to being unemployable?

"There's one sure fire way to guarantee that you don't get paid for it," he said quickly so I couldn't cut in. It was my turn to finish his sentence. I must have had that look in my eye. "Don't finish it. Don't put it out there. Don't try to find an agent or to publish it on your own. There's your guaranteed failure right there."

There's nothing left to say. I turn back to the computer and get back to work.

What throws you?


  1. Since you asked (and I've already used the words "I was thrown" in recounting it earlier today):

    When my 7yo son runs full speed into the room - holding a baseball, because why not - stops a hair's breadth from the mirror and starts passionately dancing. O_o

  2. It depends. Sometimes it's when the first child wakes up. Sometimes my calm waits until the second. By the third, I'm done. No question.

  3. Man, I hate it when they're right.

    What throws me? Everything and nothing. Some days, the world comes crashing down and I see nothing but possibility. On those days I scoop everyone I know up, and fly them along for the ride.

    But the other days. From anything to nothing, it all gets poured into a half empty wine glass that only sleep can cure if only there wasn't the insomnia. I think there must be a chemical resolution to those days, but the trade-off would be to give up the days full of dreams in tangible reach.

    Without the former, it wouldn't matter that the latter was removed. I wouldn't care.

  4. Art is it's own reward?

    Throws? That thing. And I imagine a frost giant would, too, if they weren't extinct.

  5. My man says lovingly and often, "when are you gonna finish that best seller?" He thinks I'm going to be the next Mary Karr. No pressure there, nope, none.

    What if I finish this book and it's for shit?

    Or far far worse, what if it's really good and nobody cares?

  6. What throws me? I was going to say not much, but then the S.O. dropped a verbal bombshell - we've lived in Atlanta longer than we have any place else continuously in the last 30+ years. No wonder I'm so happy to be packing and preparing to leave.

  7. I'm thrown by politicians and the media, primarily.

    The blog lets me blow off steam without boring real life acquaintances (too much).

  8. I really wish you could catch a break already, Lisa.

    "What throws you?"
    being sick. all. the. time.

  9. Realising that instead of growing wiser as I grow older, discovering that I really seem to know less and less these days.

    It doesn't help that the ground rules have changed dramatically in recent times. It doesn't make for a strong sense of confidence, either.

    I guess it's just time to dive in when confronted with the throes of doubt.

    Where would we be if we didn't make a move as opposed to reaching for that brass ring? At least if we take action, we are no longer at a standstill.

  10. MathMan and The Rev. Mrs. must exchange lines. She tells me the same thing, that it may be true the stuff I write is contrived, mundane, unoriginal, and that no one would ever consider paying me to read it; then she tells me I'll never know if I don't submit it pretty much everywhere and everyone tells me I'm the non-fiction equivalent of John Saul.

    What really throws me? When someone comes up to me and says to me, "You know, I read what you wrote on your blog about x, and that was really good." I get tossed for a touchdown when some of the folks I grew up with - I have one person in particular in mind, in the military, who said he read my blog when stationed overseas - tell me stuff like that.

    Sometimes husbands know stuff. The dude was just narrowing down that day's worries for you, giving you a chance to say the thing you were afraid to say out loud.

  11. I tell myself this, too (but of course, it's just encouragement for the sake of encouragement)....that all this work must mean something.

    It does, I truly think it does and will...I guess it's about trusting ourselves and what we make, and taking the risk of working on what we love....?


    My poem for tomorrow prominently features the word "throw," by the way....

  12. Two shots of sasmbu after three beers n I threw the cookies

  13. Visualize. B&N. Bookshelf. No, wait. Center aisle.

  14. All I can do is echo everyone else. And you. I am terrified to put my ms out there. I'm also pissed that I've been living under the assumption that when I was finished hanging out with my kids and following my husband's job I'd be easily employable. Wrong. I just got a rejection from a freaking referral job for heaven's sake. I'm glad to see all the hours I spent during my kid's infancy advocating for better work options for families didn't mean a thing.

  15. The man's got a point. (damn him!)

  16. Oh, so sensible. Oof.

    I'm thrown by everything work-related. Those people dislike me, they make me feel like a moron. I called in sick today because I just couldn't face it and needed to spend the day writing instead. Only now, of course, I feel guilty for calling in and I'm still rehashing yesterday's altercation. . . .

    I'm thrown.

  17. tony powers/BarkingintheDarkOctober 20, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    keep going...don't lose heart...keep writing. continue...

  18. Well, he definitely found the right thing to say. Soldier on, friend!

    What throws me is when people ask about my novel and when it will be published. Sadly, there is almost no connection between publishing a collection of short stories from a small university press and landing a contract from a major publisher for a debut literary novel. Also, the question reminds me that I STILL haven't finished revising the damn thing.

  19. If I didn't know better, I could swear there are a few folks who believe in you.

  20. I am thrown by the lack of respect we have for each other, strangers, and indeed the entire Earth and all life forms upon it. It's crazy to shit in your own bed and then expect to sleep in peace. Ain't gonna happen. Goddamn, why am I such a Debbie Downer?

  21. don't feel too bad or alone with the not sure about getting paid thing Lisa. every commission only salesperson lives with that feeling every day. you just get used to it and do the work. if you're good and if you're persistent and if you're lucky, you get paid.

  22. p.s. i'm still not sure if i'm subbed to you??? am i?


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