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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Wait

First we’ve got the classically horrific waits; for the dad to emerge dead or alive from heart surgery, the husband to call from a war zone, the daughter’s CAT scan result to come in re. the effectiveness of chemo. 
 Then there are the middling annoying waits -- not fatal but certainly life-eroding. Our accumulated eons lost waiting for buses, appointments, dates, planes, repair men, lunch, in line at the DMV, on hold with tech support, stuck in traffic, waiting for the meds to kick in... 

And this I know to be true: Surviving the big waits does not make us any better at handling the lesser waits. Even if we bring a book, or our knitting, catch up on our texts, or have a vivid fantasy life... a wait is time irretrievably squandered by the drop-by-drop seeping bleed of normal life. 

Onto the third type of wait. The career wait. The one where you've done all you can do and your fate and future, income and sense of worth are now in someone else's hands, off screen.

Perhaps to those Serenity Prayer types who can wrap their heads around accepting the things they cannot change, waiting for a thumbs up or down from an editor is a snap. 

Some humans even seem to be distractable. My husband for example, can glance down at the newspaper and laugh at a Dilbert cartoon while we are in the middle of a fight. 
Some people are optimists and assume all outcomes will be rosy. Others are tra-la-la about what is or is not meant to be.  

And if the point is to live as l-o-n-g as possible then the way time warps into slow motion while we’re waiting for a call should be cause for gratitude! THANK YOU WORLD for the fluid and inconsistent nature of time! Thank you for adding to my life span in this remarkable way!
But alas, people like me can not be distracted from our obsessions and we don't assume all travails will end in delight or even mercy.  

So, as we await career news we do not find ourselves accepting or celebrating the wait. Instead, as the time elongates, we implode, growing stooped, wizened, bitter. A new eye twitch develops, the lip curls. We swear at the cat and snarl at the dog. 
Karl Wallenda, of The Flying Wallendas once said something like, To walk the high wire, that is life! Everything else is waiting

Well, Karl, I’m waiting.


The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

Oh God! Me too!
am so tired of the blankness. I sold a picture book in September. I am still waiting for the editorial letter. I've sent a couple of funny emails to remind them....Nothing.
I sent them another picture book with an SASE (according to my contract, they are supposed to get first look.)......Nothing. That was two months ago.
I sent them another one yesterday, hoping to create a log jam which might pop out the editorial letter....

At the same time I am querying agents for picture book representation and other agents for adult representation... Nothing. I feel invisible Susan at Pen and Ink

Amy Goldman Koss said...

Grrrr! Susan, I feel your pain.

The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

Whenever I wait, be it dentist appointment or an answer to a query letter, I hold my breathe and jump up and down in a big fit.
Patient Impatient

Susan Patron said...

I think it's ironic that we spend much of childhood longing and longing and waiting and waiting to grow up so we can have control of our lives, believing adulthood brings a kind of power over our destiny that childhood lacks...only to finally, finally grow up and discover that we are still waiting. This post says it all, Amy. And I love the photos.

Amy K. Nichols said...

From one Amy to another: You're so not alone.

Claudia Puig said...

l love that you quoted a flying Wallenda! Now I'll quote some far less soaring, but maybe just as often high: Tom Petty: "The waiting is the hardest part."