Yesterday’s entry brought some good email/comments from you guys.

[readermail]I love that you’re taking your mom on the Orient Express. I cannot wait to read all about it. Maybe you should write a book. In fact, I command you to! Besides, it would make a way better movie than Eat, Pray, Love and Meryl Streep can play your mom and Patricia Arquette can play you. Perfect. There, I’ve cast it. Now, you just have to write the book! Start now! Hee.

Hope you’re well.

xo
Tamara
[/readermail]

I get told just about every time I mention this trip to someone new, “Well, I look forward to whatever you end up writing about that.” But this is the first time someone went ahead and cast it.

Okay, so really, I’m freaking out a little bit. But I am not here asking for sympathy. I completely, completely did this to myself.

I guess in planning this trip for so long, it felt like it was always going to be in the future. But now it’s very much almost here. Enough that I’ve made plans for things that happen once I get back. What a bizarre concept! There’s an after this trip? One day it will have already had happened to me?

So it had this fake feeling about it all the time, which is why now, two weeks exactly before I get on a number of airplanes in a row, I am looking at my schedule and realizing: I have screwed myself.

The weekend before this trip I will be in Athens, as I’ve mentioned, and since it’s both a book reading and a bout, my mind is mostly stressing about that gig, as it’s coming up first and I want to make sure it all goes well. It makes the trip I take three days later seem very far away.

But it’s not. It’s three days later.

And here are all the other things I said that I’d be able to do in the next two weeks, which is really a week and a half because half of a week I will be flying to and from Georgia: finish learning all this French, finish this screenplay I somehow thought I’d be able to finish before I got on a plane, finish reading and judging these scripts for the Austin Film Festival teleplay competition (Oh, did I mention I’m going to be a panelist at AFF this year? Hooray!), and — oh, plan and run a book drive for a Baltimore library.

That sympathy you do not have for me? It is the appropriate reaction! This is my fault.

I know I did this to myself because of this sometimes overwhelming anxiety. I’m also working while I’m doing these things, writing and pitching and pitching and pitching and waiting and waiting and waiting and with every different piece of property I’m waiting on, it’s a completely different outcome to the end of my year. I have things on hold while I wait to hear on things that are on hold. And the way it usually works is: you wait and wait and wait, and then after much longer than you’d ever thought you’d have to wait you start to receive the slow, sad little trickles of rejection. This one project doesn’t pan out. This one’s too similar to another one. This one they just didn’t respond to. This one the person who liked it doesn’t work there anymore. This person, you just flat-out never hear back from.

You throw fifteen things into the air and hope that one of them falls back down with a Yes.

And to keep me from going crazy while my future is in the air: I plan a book tour followed by a trip to Europe with my mom while I help run an online charity while I volunteer to judge a teleplay competition while I focus on getting my knee stronger while I stare at pages of this screenplay I hate every other day while getting new glasses and a physical and try to see friends as much as possible.

But the anxiety is always there.

I know something will most likely come up and I’ll be working on something I couldn’t have guessed but seemed like it was always going to be there.

But. Just as easily, it might not. Ever again.

“…And she never worked again.”

I hear that sometimes in my head. “I know. It seemed like she was going to keep getting work, but… she just didn’t. I don’t know. One of those things, I guess.”

I have nothing profound here that will bring me back to hopeful/wistful. This is just what happens in my brain and you should know that it’s scary when your chosen career means your paychecks sometimes don’t arrive until well over a year after you got hired. I know, wah. But still. It’s a weird life. When people ask me if they would be good at this job, at making a living completely off of writing, I usually ask them if there’s anything else they’d like to do and if there is something, then they should do that. Because the people I know who hang in here with this craziness are the ones, like me, who don’t really know how to do anything else.

[readermail]
Pam, have a great time in Europe! I don’t know how your mother feels about birds, but you may want to prepare her for the insane amount of pigeons in the square by St. Mark’s Basilica. Literally thousands of them. It’s hard to avoid thinking about the Hitchcock movie. But Venice is awesome and St. Mark’s is beautiful! Have fun. :)

Heather
[/readermail]

I have to say, it’s very tempting not to warn my mom about the birds.

I have to get a better suitcase. I can only imagine the porters at the Orient Express lifting my oddly-teal and horribly scuffed suitcase I got from one of those “We Found These Suitcases; Don’t Ask, Just Be Happy They’re Cheap” stores in Los Angeles that provides me with all of my luggage. And I have to call the airline, and AT&T, and do I get Euros here in the states or wait until I’m overseas to exchange money and why do I hate writing this screenplay and ulcers.

Bright side:

We’ve raised over $500 and sent more than 100 books to the Village Learning Place in Baltimore through Dewey since yesterday. But that’s only because of thirty-four generous donors. In all the world! We did a good job at almost clearing out their Banned Books wishlist. Maybe we could put a nice dent into their Children’s Wishlist? And don’t forget — you can always call their local independent bookstore The Ivy and pay over the phone — free shipping and 15% off! That’s like, an extra book! Thanks to those of you who have spread the word, and even more thanks to those of you who found a way to send some books. I know that money is tight everywhere, so it means a lot — to a lot of people — when you share some of your hard-earned cash with a library that wants to do good.