There has been so much stress engulfing me and my family lately, part of me quite frequently wonders, "What the fuck?" The hassle of moving again. The legal bullshit that is delaying the sale of the house (although I will say this: that prick next door got in way over his head — we've got a kickass lawyer). My ongoing unemployment and resulting financial panic. Watching as Grace tries to adapt to yet another huge change in her life, without quite so much resiliency this time (heartbreaking). And the real sucker punch, my father's back pain turning out to be a broken vertebra that will require risky surgery. I confess to more than a few afternoons finding me curled up in bed, sleeping in order to tune out my world.
Normally, I would search for perspective in the problems facing the rest of the world: the more serious economic crises of other families; the earthquake in Italy; the shootings in New York; Michelle Obama hugging Queen Elizabeth (the horror). But it's not working for me anymore. To the contrary, it adds credence to the question that gnaws at me more and more lately: what's the point?
I used to find excitement in drama. I worried that if I ever found happiness or, more precisely, contentment, that I would be bored. But right now I would give anything in the world to be bored. I long for a predictable daily routine, one that doesn't have me constantly bouncing from one crisis to the next, never able to completely extinguish any one fire, always feeling as though I should be doing something else. It's draining, and I'm not much fun to be around. (Also, I tend to skip showers when I'm stressed, so I neither look nor smell very appealing.)
I know what I want to be doing. I want to have the luxury of time to promote Soft Landing without feeling guilty, to continue working on my second novel, and to curl up on the couch every night to watch a movie we've seen so many times we can recite the dialogue (The Secret Garden; The Neverending Story; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Little Princess, Over the Hedge). Weekends at the playground and the dog park. Friends over for a barbecue in our adorable little backyard. Driving to my parents' without worrying about paying for gas. Just your basic, boring old American dream.
I love to write. It's the only time I truly feel that I'm doing my work, making my contribution. I want Soft Landing to succeed because I love the feeling I get when someone tells me how much they enjoyed reading it. It's not money or even validation I crave; it's the knowledge that something I've created has made an impact on another human being. To everyone who has taken the time to tell me how much they loved the book, THANK YOU! Please keep your fingers crossed that one of my upcoming publicity efforts will hit, or that word of mouth alone will help Soft Landing find a larger audience.
Then I'll be able to obsess over the fact that among four-year-olds, one in five is obese.