view of the Hudson River at Buttermilk Falls Inn, Milton, New York
It's Monday morning, a little after 7 a.m. (actually, it was when I started this, but now it's 1:13, because life happened). I've been up since around 5:30, reflecting on the utter madness that has been the last week. To some degree, as a freelancer and frequent traveler, no two days, let alone weeks, are the same, but last week certainly upped the ante on that.
I'm going to go a bit out of order, mostly because I'm incredibly impatient and don't want to wait to share the most exciting part (sorry, sleeping in a bathtub wasn't it). The week ended on a high note with the publication of my New York Times article on bookface. Researching it has made me view book covers in a whole new way, which is interesting because I'm sorting through hundreds of mine (my entire collection) in another attempt to purge the seemingly endless amount I own (if you're in the U.S. and haven't entered my giveaway to win one of my anthologies, do so now; the deadline is tomorrow morning). I've vowed to get my collection down to 10 boxes (from some 36, not counting books I've edited or have stories in). It's a daunting task but also a wonderful one as I get to discover books I forgot I owned.
My boyfriend suggested we take our own bookface photo with his photo book Tom Waits by Anton Corbijn, which I got him as a gift. So this was what we did:
So back to last week...I got to New York and then onto the Megabus to State College last Monday smoothly. Being in cars or buses is not my favorite thing in the world, but the ride was smooth. I got dropped off in a Walmart parking lot, and although I don't approve of most of what I've heard about how Walmart's workers are treated, I stopped in because I did need some things like seltzer and to use the bathroom. I didn't have a Walmart near me growing up and am not sure if I'd ever been in one; if I had, it happened maybe once. I immediately was glad there wasn't one near me, because I see how it's so popular: it has everything, including a bathroom I was free to use with room for me and all my luggage. And it's 24 hours.
Eventually, after getting some snacks, I made my way to my hotel, then met up with some of the women taking my erotica class (it wound up being all women, but was open to anyone). The class was wonderful, full of writers in various genres, including sexy ones, and newcomers to writing erotica. I was pleased with how it went, but also tired, and didn't get a lick of work done. The next day, Tuesday, my throat started to ache, but I hoped it was just travel and tiredness, especially because Wednesday my boyfriend and I were taking a rare mini vacation to Buttermilk Falls Inn in Milton, New York. I had a feeling, though, based on my brain's utter inability to work properly, let alone brainstorm story ideas or send out interview questions, that I might be getting sick. I slept the bulk of the five-hour bus ride to New York.
We didn't cancel, but I wasn't my best. Still, I was grateful to be in such peaceful surroundings breathing fresh air. We explored the grounds and marveled at the beautiful weather and ate way too much the first night, and even so, I took home almost my entire entree, save for the kale, because I'd also ordered what amounted to two appetizers (calamari and potato latkes). My boyfriend and I are not the best co-sleepers any time, but that's heightened when we're in an unfamiliar location. We have separate bedrooms for a reason.
I conked out by 9 p.m., and he left the room to read and then had trouble getting to sleep until he put in headphones. The next night was somewhat reversed, courtesy of the two cups of coffee I drank at dinner in order to stay up until a decently acceptable adult bedtime. Well, I accomplished my task and then some: he fell asleep around 11:30, I think, and I lay there trying to sleep, but couldn't. I had a feeling we would bother each other with our snoring and shuffling if we both tried to stay in the same bed, so I took the beyond comfortable quilt and moved to the floor. I can sleep almost anywhere...if I'm tired enough. I tried to calm my mind and get ready for slumber, but it wasn't happening. I almost forgot about the coffee until I looked up and saw the clock said 1:25 and I was nowhere near sleep.
my excellent salad, on the night I decided to just have 2 items off the wonderful menu at Henry's at the Farm
Rather than try to go in the hallway and possibly wake my boyfriend or other guests, I took myself and the quilt and Jillian Lauren's excellent memoir (out tomorrow) Everything You Ever Wanted and curled up in the tub. I was surrounded by the quilt and had a towel pillow and you know what? Engrossed in an excellent book, I was fine. I don't know how long I read, probably about two hours, until I decided I could reasonably doze off. I did, until morning when my boyfriend needed the bathroom, at which time I returned to the bed. I already felt out of sorts so adding one more oddity to my night didn't seem that big of a deal. In fact, I felt resourceful.
We got to pet llamas and say hello to goats and not get in the car for two days and just chill, until I had to do some work. Next time, I hope I'm not sick and can truly unplug, but that's not always how life goes. Then upon our return the weekend was a mix of chaotic and comforting. We resumed some of our routines and caught up on our TV shows and returned to our rooms. We each aggravated the other but also got time to talk and relax before "real life" returned today.
Now I'm catching up on all the things I meant to do last week but was too wiped out to tackle and gearing up for my next LitReactor class, which starts tomorrow (I will post here very soon with news of my upcoming August-September class). I'm also trying to cut myself some slack, especially since I'll be in Philadelphia on Friday to teach Erotica 101 at SEXx Interactive. I'm spending time I'd rather be doing anything else chasing down money, one of the more frustrating aspects of freelancing. But I also feel hopeful. I think there's a fine line I walk between realistic and hopeful, between dreaming big and zeroing in on what's right in front of me, between facing my fears and growing and learning and building what sometimes seems like a precarious mix of activities I call a career, and other times seems like pieces of a beautiful puzzle. I can't say for sure this week will be any less crazy than last week; all I know for sure is it will be different, and I will do my best to be ready for it.