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Friday, October 24, 2008

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Ferris Bueller's Day Off

A friend told me she was in a therapy session recently, and the therapist quoted my blog to her.

Oh god, I thought. I've become Ferris Bueller.

It's a wonder I have any friends left.

These are strange days. Once, I sat in the car pool line, the checkout lane, the crappy waiting room of the kids' medicaid dental office and I dreamed. The dream went something like this:


VOICE: Who is this Kyran Pittman? Bring her to me!

Yeah, that dream. Sometimes I'd let it play out all the way to the phone ringing, with an editor or agent on the line, but I'd snap out of it pretty quick. Who was I kidding?

"I'm going to be the lady who writes poems for the Christmas party every year," I wept to a friend one day, after another rejection letter arrived.

My queries took on a doomed tone.

"If you are reading this cover letter, you should probably fire your assistant," I wrote to one agent.

Then one day, independent of anything I was doing except writing on this blog, the phone rang.

It was the New York publishing world.

Dreams that come true are both exactly and yet nothing at all how you thought they would be.

It has been exactly as thrilling as I dreamed it would be to break into the glossies, go to New York, see my name and photo on the newsstand shelf, get approached by agents and editors, and begin work on a book. If nothing else happens from here, if it all evaporates tomorrow, if my coach turns back into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight, I still got to go to the ball. It has already exceeded anything I dared dream. I'm very, very grateful.

But there's plenty I didn't see coming. Like how I would be on that fantasy phone call to my New York agent, but still be sitting in the kids medicaid dental clinic (time zone mix-up). Wearing a giant Louis Vuitton bag, for an extra shot of irony. Or how I'd be making a per word fee that sounds great, but spread out over a year is not getting me out of the medicaid dentist's office anytime soon. On a per hour basis, McDonald's would probably pay better. Plus benefits. Or how restrained I'd have to learn to be in speaking about any of this stuff to the people in my life, when my impulse is to grab everyone and say, holy hell, you won't believe what happened to me today. Not everybody wants to hear it.

I couldn't know how incredibly compressed it would all be.

I took a phone call one day that was straight out of that dream script, and what I mostly remember about it was thinking, I have got to hang up on this guy or I'm going to miss my story deadline.

If it sounds like whining, it isn't meant to be. These are the things that make me laugh and keep me grounded. I don't know if they are properly called "ironic," but I think it's what Alanis was trying to get at.

Life is exciting, but my days are really very boring (m-o-o-n spells paradox, laws, yes). I put in several twelve-hour days this week, making what I hope are last revisions on a big article that has not been anywhere near as fun as trying on Prada. Or even getting salt in a paper cut.

And the book. Everyday (everyday, everyday), I write the book.

Not this day. I'm taking the rest of the day off from writing to just be a Mom. I'm going to make the beds, deliver a classroom snack, and take my kids to a Halloween party. I'm even going to dress up myself, if I can find a pair of rimless glasses and a two-piece dress suit. You betcha.



Blogger Running with a sharp pencil said...

Love the post today! Although we don't agree on everything(like politics), I always find something deep and useful. Thanks for the gift! My gift in response is to recommend the last two posts of Brinn at messythrillinglife.blogspot - She is a 29 yr. old lawyer from Texas who writes with amazing depth. I think you would appreciate her. Vickib501

10:42 AM  
Blogger Rowena said...

I like your snapshot of the reality of that dream. I have/had it too, and I know it isn't the fantasy. It probably looks like my life now, but with extra stress and a little extra money (only because that's how little money I have now).

I'm glad your dream is coming true. I hope mine will come true, too, and I will stay true to myself while it does.

And manage tying it all together with real life.

11:46 AM  
Blogger patsyrose said...

I can picture you in the suit and glasses. If you do it, put a picture on your blog. You could be the next Tina Fey (and she makes a lot of money)!!

3:04 PM  
Blogger Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

It's good to hear about all aspects of the dream. It keeps me dreaming and grounded at the same time. Thanks.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

But you're doing it and that in itself is amazing! You were in GH for goodness sakes. Do you know how many body parts I would sacrifice to be able to put words together in a sentence as well as you? Live the dream, don't dream about the dream. You're book is going to be amazing with or without you worrying your pretty little head off.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Don't be silly.

McDonald's doesn't have benefits.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Barb said...

So glad you are finding balance in all this. A day to be a mommy is just what is needed some days.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Thank you for sharing the realities of the dream with us. I think of your journey as I send out my own queries for the novel I've written, or get a rejection letter and now that I just need to keep going!

3:57 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I just Stumbled this blog today and have been loving reading about your struggles and dreams and realities of being a writer. I have related to just about everything you talked about in this post... though I'm still waiting on my dream call from New York. :-) Keep it up. Keep the dream alive... for both of us.

9:42 AM  

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