Day 9

It’s the halfway point. Mile 13 of the marathon and still, I can be all smiles when I’m out and about but when I get back to my room I want to break glass. I want to claw at the dresser. To toss the pillows. To ram my face into the sink. The pain of not sleeping, the annoyance of an email from back home, old business hanging over me in the mail, the anticipation of Cass’ arrival on Saturday, anything, you name it, and I could go off my rocker. Are we all such fragile creatures? So close to the edge? Jesus God I’m trapped.

And goddamn it was a good day. To have my former nonfiction advisor sit me down for a 30-minute meeting in her room and say: “You’re doing it. You’re a Writer. Half a million more words and think where’ you’ll be. You will be successful. You can do this. This can be your profession.” To think of the elation I felt and the accompanying terror. To imagine the small ship of this hotel bottling up so many of our fears and dreams, to picture each of my closest friends in similar meetings, with similar assurances, each of us having traveled our paths only find more paths stretched out before us. To think of the unfolding grace of all of this. So many dreams. So many words. So many sleepless nights and glasses of wine.

I call my parents because somehow I think this will help. They are real. They can ground me; remind me of planet Earth. But the conversation goes all wrong and they think I’m shirking them. I tell them I’ve gone batty, that it’s all too much, that I know I’m spewing anxiety and insanity at them across 3,000 miles of telephone wire but nothing helps. We hang up. I eat dinner and drink three glasses of wine. I cry at Ellen Bass’ reading. Later, I have all the love in the world and want to give it to someone as if it were a precious stone. Here. Hold this for me. It comes at too high a cost. I can no longer bear its weight.

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