We were completely surrounded by critics

Dear Milo,

Raining? Sunny? Doesn’t matter; have no intention of going outside today, or at least, not beyond the courtyard. Today I have nowhere to be and I’m catching up on freelance work, cleaning off a desktop, doing laundry, taking out the trash, having space and time to reconnect the dots. I really needed this. Nothing makes you appreciate a day off like the exhaustion of rehearsal.

But it’s more than that; it’s the exhaustion of moving to a new country, the Polish language intensive, the graduation and the thesis, the final semester, the stress and sadness of leaving friends behind. I was and am well and truly worn out. Succeeding at something can be just as crazy as failing at it, and those two states can seem remarkably similar.

What’s the problem?

“I was trying to explain what the problem was, but what was the problem? I felt tears well in my eyes. We were completely surrounded by critics. The critics had opinions about everything, from the distribution of literary prizes to the advantages of a macrobiotic diet.

At some point we headed back into the rain. Although I had quit smoking six months ago, I paused to bum an American Spirit from a conveniently situated critic. “I thought you quit,” my agent said. ”

-That’s Elif Batuman, in the Guardian, on the stresses and crazinesses of having one particular dream come true; “Life after a Bestseller.” Via Explosion-Proof‘s site.

Getting what you want can be rough.

These bumps in the road are part of what the experience will contain, I understand, and I am getting used to it. I am grateful to everyone who’s been helping me navigate. You don’t have to look pretty in the ring; you just have to stay standing.

To get myself through said bumps, I have been writing lots. I did silly things, like creating (a year late) a properly designed triple-tracking submissions spreadsheet. I did some work in genres that have been neglected due to the prevailing influence of Planet Poetry. And I even found, under my computer cushions, an old post I’d been meaning to post since May.

So here’s something I wrote when I knew I was coming here but hadn’t gotten here yet. It’s a bit droopy, but perhaps you can understand, given the circumstances.

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