Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Not exactly New York Times, But Not Bouncing on a Stick Pony, Either

Here’s a random day last week. The ringing phone wakes me in pre-dawn darkness. That’s usually good news if it’s Wednesday, which this happens to be, because that means Baker & Taylor is faxing in a book order. In the aftermath of a good marketing campaign, an order could be for as many as mid- twentish copies. Today it’s one. Not exactly sales figures that will get me on the New York Times bestseller’s list, but for a book approaching its fourth birthday, I’m not complaining.

Today I have to excise another 30 words from my newspaper piece. I talk to my editor about a photo shoot tomorrow for my first story. I'm scheduled to go on a "walk-through" of the facility where our Writers’ Conference will be held next weekend. Along the way, I get a hot lead on just the type of story for which my newspaper editor tells me I should be on the lookout.

It’s not a teaching day for me, but I stop by the school to pick up my students’ pottery to take to the kiln. Since I’m not there every day, I get one of those shared classroom situations, but hey, I’m not complaining here, either, because at least I’m not trolling around on a cart like some art teachers. To get to my cabinets this morning, I have to wade through about thirty kindergartens, teachers, and parents in full wild west regalia.

Now, I’m working on becoming one of those people whom, as in a quote I came across by someone of note, "on which nothing is lost." (I’d like to tell you who said this, but I’m a compulsive magazine hoarder who reads in bulk. It could have been anyone.)

So, I’m packing little thumb pots into boxes and I’m watching the K-4 teacher fan her cowboy hat through the air and I remember that at a crossroads four years ago, this is the job I was thinking about taking. Watching her hee-haw her way around the musical chairs circuit, I suddenly realize that this is as close as you get to seeing what "could have been." Like seeing your life with that guy you almost married, or fifty pounds heavier in that bakery you never opened out in Colorado.

Four years ago, I chose to write. I found a journal the other day from that time period where I was wondering what the day to day life of a writer was supposed to "look like," or where it would take me. For now, it seems to be somewhere between New York and the wild west.

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