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Lusty Lady

BLOG OF RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL
Watch me talk about my debut as an author, Sex & Cupcakes: A Juicy Collection of Essays, in this Q&A with my publisher Thought Catalog Books

Monday, May 16, 2011

Whoa

I’m at such a weird place right now. Part of me hates the fact that I’m going to Seattle and London to do readings because you know what that means? 6-7 weeks of all the stress I got rid of when I purged In The Flesh from my life. 6-7 weeks of trying to live my regular life plus be a crazy PR guru looking into every possible website related to those cities, every possible media nibble, and fighting like hell to get myself into them. Do you know how not fun that sounds? And yet I’d be adding to the foolishness of going to those cities, the costliness, by not trying to get press. It’s a vicious cycle and I’m honestly so so over it. I don’t miss that at all. I used to think it had a shred of creativity to it, and maybe it does, but lately, when I’m happy to write 750 words I eke out, when I miss submitting to anthologies there’s no good reason I should, I just don’t have that extra energy.

I don’t know if I’m tired or bored or over it, but I can safely say that if putting out books means all this hassle, I think my days of doing it might be numbered. That's not really true - I love editing anthologies, even when, like now, I'm behind on them, but all the other stuff that is not so fun and creative and is basically a giant drain on my time? I don't love that so much anymore. I dream about having long days in some quiet setting where I write. Just write. Just create. As much as I know it’s a pipe dream, as much I as I feel foolish or lavish or self-aggrandizing for thinking I might deserve that, I do dream about it, maybe with a side of children. But right now it all just feels like too much.

I don’t think in the past ten years or organizing events I ever really stopped and asked myself what the fuck I was doing, because once I did, I realized that’s not who I want to be, at least, not all that often. The pressure of running an event builds and builds and builds, and the closer it gets, the more people there are to harass, more places I should be notifying, more worry about the weather and competing events and who will come and, with Seattle, will I make it to the airport on time?

I literally am almost about to cry because I just can’t do it all, or even a tiny fraction of it “all” anymore. I can’t pretend to care if Major Reviewing Magazine is reviewing my book or not. I mean, I care, but I do not have time to look into that. I’m just at this breaking point where I’m surrounded by super successful people on one side, and all the things I want to do on the other, and I can’t seem to bridge that gap, to leap over to the side of the successful people, or to fill in the holes of what I want to do. I don’t know if it’s laziness or fear or overcommitment or what, but it’s something not pretty.

I feel like there is a moment of excitement I’ll get, a spark of an idea, and it’s a good idea, almost always, and then it’s like a firecracker, dazzling and sparking and being eye-catching and glowing and then it just fizzles and dies and, the way one does with firecrackers, I just sit there and watch it die. I don’t try to keep it alive—okay, my firecracker analogy is over because in my idea world, I could keep it alive. I could nurture it and feed it and maybe not make it the most beautiful display ever, but one that would get, at the very least, mild applause. One that would make me feel that sense of accomplishment I feel when I turn something in. Instead I have to do lists and forgetfulness and mistakes and ultimately what feels a hell of a lot like emptiness. It’s not even failure, because you have to try in order to fail, but just emptiness, like maybe writing that column forever ago for The Village Voice was the biggest thing I’ll ever do. I know it doesn’t have to be that way, but I know no one’s going to walk up and hand me another column like magic the way that happened. I have to go out there and fight for it, only I’m not quite sure what “it” is. Maybe “it” will be a YA novel under a pseudonym, which would be fitting since my protagonist gets famous under an alternative persona. I guess right now, when it feels like the most minute minutiae is my life, like I’m just treading water until I die, I know I need to make “it” be at least something I can be proud of.

It’s funny because my personal life is going really, really well. Nothing I can sum up pithily in a blog post but all the drama and confusion and jealousy and just messiness of the last year is not there. And I know that really says what my relationship is not rather than what it is, but I don’t know if I have words for that just yet. I’m happy. It’s kindof simple and yet I think part of why I am happy with it is that there isn’t all the wondering and what-does-this-really-mean? drama. I’m so fucking over being jealous of what someone else has, of knowing too much. The internet is a fucking treasure trove of TMI and that doesn’t mean in my low moments I don’t seek out the TMI; I do. I’m not perfect in that regard. But I no longer torture myself with it. Okay, not as much. I’m trying the best I can to be rather myopic about my life. What am I doing wrong, and how can I fix it? Not, what are all the ways I suck more than __? Because a lot of them are things I will never be able to be “better” at, at least, not in real life.

And I guess if there is any tension I feel about my relationship it’s that I think he sees things in me and believes in me in ways I don’t yet myself. That’s what I’m still working on, should be working on, whether I’m in a relationship or not. I was convinced after 2010 and Crazy January, which, the more I look back on it, was super insane on my part, that I needed solitude and retreat to work on those things. And maybe I do a little more than I have. Maybe one of these weekends when I’m not busy, which are few and far between, I should take myself away somewhere and shut off my phone and shut off everything and just be with myself and confront some of the realities about who I am, for better or for worse. I think I’m still a little fearful about trusting someone else in ways I’m not sure I’m ready for. But there’s also something very soothing about that, when I let it be soothing. I get stressed about work but I’m not stressed when I’m with my boyfriend, not in the ways I have been in the recent past.

There’s maybe a part of me that thinks that relationship might disappear all of a sudden, like a magic trick, once he gets to know who I really am. Not that I have so many deep dark secrets—most of my neuroses and issues are an open book, but it’s one thing to hear about them, another thing to be up close and personal with them. But ultimately whether or not anyone else cares as much as I do, I know I have to figure out a better system, a better way of moving forward. It’s one thing to know the old ways don’t work and another to actually figure out new ways. I’m kindof in between those two steps…me and umpteen to do lists. But I’m getting there.

Lots of good things in the air, but honestly, the thing that excites me the most is those sparks, when they happen. I’m grateful for them…I’d much rather have sparks of ideas than none at all. It just makes me sad, and angry at myself, when I don’t follow through with them and watch them die. Maybe I needed to write that down to get myself to actually carve out that time, and even if it’s not a weekend away, it could be an evening or an afternoon or just a mindset, a prioritizing not of other people’s needs but my own. Hopefully I will have something to show (meaning blog) for it.

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