I’ve never been much for limbo. Who is? Maybe you are. Maybe you take limbo as a gift– and do things like yoga and deep breathing and mindful dish washing. One woman’s limbo is another’s purgatory, I guess. Because for me this waiting time is torture. I’m no good at it. I find myself in odd contortions– re-arranging the bookshelves by theme, resisting the urge to color code it, marrying socks (I don’t DO socks, under normal circumstances), stocking up at Costco like the world’s about to end. In short, we have a LOT of toilet paper right now.
Five weeks till blast off. I feel pregnant. Really pregnant. Like I need to take a toothbrush to the dish washer. Or wallpaper a nursery or something. But there’s no nursery. How much Face Book and Twitter can one woman do before she gets a bad reputation for it? Distraction simply isn’t working. I need to hold that pink baby in my hands and see that it’s real. And then I want to pass it around to its aunties and baptize it to a community that will love it. Shepard it. That’s what I want. Five more weeks.
People keep asking me if I’m nervous to read in public. I like public speaking. I used to be good at it as a kid– won a few awards, starred in a lot of plays growing up. Somehow became a writer instead. Which means that I’ve been alone in a dark room, writing for over half my life. The most public speaking I’ve done in recent history, is sing and play guitar for the fourth grade, and that actually makes me sweat– “Broadcast News” sweat. But the book tour will be different, right? Because I simply cannot wait to meet my readers. And that longing cuts through any nerves, though I remember Johnny Carson saying that the minute he stopped being nervous before he went out on that stage from behind that striped curtain…it was time to quit. A little nerves are good. It means we’re alive. Right?
But I’m a bit concerned. Check out this dream I had last night:
I’m sitting in a dark auditorium, in the back row, with my husband, awaiting a concert, minding my own business. Suddenly, a woman gets on stage and introduces me. Turns out, I’m the act people have come to see. All five of them. All of whom either is in jail in real life, or should be. I stand up and it’s a long walk to the stage, and I realize, I’m not wearing a bra. I’m the kind of gal who really needs a bra. And I realize that this is a stage that I acted on as a young girl– poorly. My solo was so weak, that they had the whole chorus come in behind me and sing. I get to the podium– in the exact place where that poor acting moment occured, and realize after much fumbling, that the light doesn’t work. Then I realize that I don’t have a copy of my book. And even if I did, I’m screwed anyway, because I don’t have my reading glasses. (Yes, I’ll be doing my book tour with reading glasses– that’s how long it took me to get a book published. But that’s another story.) The woman running the event gives me a stack of papers that loosely resembles one of the first revisions of my book, complete with notes scribbled all over the margins, and I’m leafing through trying to find the chapter I want to read, but alas…half of it is in Spanish and the other half is upside down. I’m not making this up. This is the current state of my subconscious. Then I ask my husband, through a feedbacky microphone, if he’ll race home and grab a copy of my book, which might take a while since this auditorium is in suburban Chicago, and we live in Montana. But he’s game. He’s good that way. And while we wait, I start talking about my book, CLUMSILY, and some dude pulls out a guitar and starts to play…and everyone starts singing, yes, OVER me. And heck– I join in. It’s “This Land Is Your Land,” afterall. Which I’ve just sung to the entire fourth grade last week, so I’m up on all the verses. At least I’m up on something.
Then my husband arrives with my book, just in time for everybody to stand up and leave.