My Friday writing check in with a friend happened this morning, Saturday, which seems appropriate. A week has gone by since I pulled in my driveway, last Saturday, after a month at the VCCA, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Looking back, this has been a week of re entry, a week of missing terribly that immersion I had at the VCCA, and so I've felt scattered as if I'm not sure where I need to be and what I need to be doing. My mother in law used to describe this feeling as being at sixes and sevens. I have no idea what that means or where it comes from, but it describes accurately how I feel, neither here nor there, neither good nor bad, more uncomfortable than comfortable. So work has been slow. I managed to go over "Surfacing," an essay I read from at the VCCA. At home, I read the piece aloud over and over. I changed the last sentence at least five times. I took out short paragraphs that interfered with flow. I researched literary magazines- an ongoing project every time I send a piece out-- checking deadlines and money. I decided I'd send only to magazines that pay—at least something—this first round. I don't like working for free. Nobody else works for free. So I've sent this essay off to four places. I usually like to hit at least 5 in one shot. But a lot of the good ones have closed to submissions for the summer.
For this coming week, I'd like finish one of two essays that are nearly ready. I'd like to start a folder I'll call The Book where I gather my musings for an introduction. I think an introduction will help me focus on what I'm doing. I'd like to begin a second essay about Yvonne which will center on her life right after the Second World War when she is 15 or 16, then end that piece when she marries and moves to Paris. "Surfacing" is about her life during the War. She was nine when her father handed her over to his sister at the French/ German border. I know I don't have enough information for the next piece, but beginning will let me know what I need.
What's bothering me? Angst about finding an agent, angst about finding a way to publish this book that is not self-publishing, angst about taking what I have and throwing it all down on the floor and seeing if I can find a way to bring the essays together, angst about whether I should wait a while before I do that, angst, angst, angst. Welcome to the writing life.