One of my possible publishers, who will remain nameless at this point, fired off several quick emails to me last week regarding the "novel in progress" that I am due to submit to them soon. The basic message was, now or never. Since I am still neck-deep in the typing of the manuscript (yes, I really am a dinosaur who writes out the work long-hand before transcribing it to the computer...) this was jarring for me. But, how long have I hoped for a publisher to push me like this? To have this interest...to have an email waiting for me, even if it was of semi-complaint--I was thrilled at the same time.
Thrill tapered off to fear, as it can sometimes do. There is no way I can get the draft in any earlier...Mission Impossible. I began to fret and stew over this, right up until the moment last Tuesday when a neurologist mentioned my five year old son and the words brain tumor in the same sentence. Slow motion floor collapsing in over itself...the doctors' voices ominous and deep.
In one week, I have sat at his side for an MRI, two separate Spinal Taps, a weekend hospital stay, and now a diagnosis--no tumor, a treatable disease. Tomorrow, he will have a pick-line run from his bicep to his vena cava adjoining the heart so that we can provide him with intravenous medication until early-mid September. I have not written one word...and, I have typed a meager five pages in the odd stolen moments of his sleep. It hasn't mattered one bit.
My apologies to the prickly publisher...yes, my writing is deep and essential to my life. No, I am surprised to report...it isn't my whole life. My writing may be the primary treasure I've had my whole life long that has never let me down. It may be a defining feature of my fingerprint--the lover who consumes my thoughts whenever I'm away from my notebooks. But, I am happily married, it turns out, to my own little life...however insignificant it may be in the scheme of the wider world. The marrow for me is this ordinary, simple state of being. My little boy's steadily-healing brain is "no contest" with the contract I may have just blown. Opportunities abound in the professional world...my family will continue to frame my life--the smooth connection holding it all together--anchoring things in their proper place. The rest? For today anyway, it's all just a pretty little picture...