The smell of urine overpowered my bathroom, courtesy of a cat litter box in need of changing. The laundry basket sat empty because apparently the new laundry basket was the house. There were a few licks of milk left but no juice, and I had just used the last two eggs to scramble a hasty breakfast for my son who I begged every morning to eat eggs but always chose Honey Nut Cheerios; yet on this morning with the cereal already mid pour into the bowl and 19 minutes to catch a train, he decided maybe he would like some eggs. And toast. Cut diagonally with butter, no crusts.
I don’t even bother with a deep calming breath, who had time for that nonsense? I quickly got to work preparing a nice warm start of the day so that he’d remember his mother kindly after she bolted for the door.
My own snacks had already been neatly packed in my keeping it classy H&M shopping bag alongside a slim folder holding copies of my pitch, backup pitch and sample chapters of my novel. I had been out of bed since 5am, ready for my fourth and final day at the New York Pitch conference.
The conference wasn’t at all what I had expected that first day as I sat in my seat sweating; my laptop at the ready. For some reason I thought we would be writing more, but quickly learned that this wasn’t your typical writing workshop. In fact, it wasn’t a writing workshop at all.
We were there solely to hone and sell our pitch; three paragraphs that encapsulated all the plot and intrigue, the conflict and characters, the style and setting, and also left them panting for more. Just whittle those 100,000 words down to 200. Go.
I had been extremely lucky that right from the beginning my pitch was good, so I didn’t have the extra stress of revising like many others. I gave them so much credit. Editing under deadline is when the pressure gets real, man. But where else would we get the opportunity to meet editors, hear their insights and possibly sell our stories? That was the pitch of the conference and clearly we all bought it.
My group bonded easily, milling about the hallway, compulsively checking the list of names posted outside the door for our five minute turns with an editor; some of us nervous, some shoulder-shrugging calm – a bra-tender and a preacher’s wife, a whirling dervish, a soft-spoken Indian woman and an ingénue. There were the moms and the survivors; such an interesting and eclectic bunch, which I guess could be said for most random people thrown together united by passion and panic.
As different as we all were, these were my people and I was honored to be among them. No matter how stressful, it felt good not to be alone in the struggle.
My house is almost back to order. The litter scooped, the washing machine churning, the fridge filled. I am rallying my three boys for their first day of baseball camp; back to life as I know it, racing around doing everything for everyone.
But as I hastily apply sunblock to each sweet, scowling face, pull water bottles from the fridge and double check their packs before ushering them to the car, my heart twists wistfully for those past four days when I put everyone else’s needs aside and was racing out of the house for me, chasing my own dream.
I’m so glad it was a great experience for you!!!
thanks. i kind of miss having somewhere to go for me… not that i’m looking for a job or anything… 😉
You inspire me!
In fact, don’t be surprised if I blame you for a laundry-spewed house and dog-hair filled corners in the next few weeks to come.
You just went out there and did it, Mama!!
Because of your perseverance, vulnerable authenticity (part 1! part 1! part 1!) I think I’m going to sign up for the YeahWrite summer work shop that I keep finding excuses not to do.
Wanna go with me and get groceries before the chaos starts? There’s not a single egg in this house 😉
Best of luck with your manuscript, though it clearly sounds like you’ve made your own. xo
thank you! and definitely do it!! the more you write the better… and it’s great to put a little pressure on yourself. just go do a big shop and get to it! 🙂
incredible. such an inspiration. i’m so freaking happy for you.
thank you. i’m hopeful.. but realistic..
Ignoring others needs for your own is such an awesome experience. 😉
I’m glad you had fun at the workshop!
hah! i had no idea it would be so good! 🙂
It is…until the guilt sets in…
Good for you! Don’t apologize for giving us such good info!
thanks. i don’t know why i do that…?
I am so excited for you!! You are inspiring and I wish you the best of luck!!
thanks. it was a great nauseating experience. 🙂
aww good for you!! I’m so glad you got to do something for yourself!
right?! it was great feeling like i had something to offer.. besides milk and rides and clean clothes and food and…
Good for you!
thanks. i’m hoping for even better… 🙂
I’ll cross my fingers for you.
and your toes and legs and eyes…
Four days of heaven. That’s what I’d be calling it. Being a mom is great, but having time to yourself, to do what YOU like? That’s pretty awesome, too!
yes!! i had forgotten!!
Yay for you! So glad you got to do this, and that it was such a great experience.
you’re so supportive. 🙂
Wow! What a wonderful experience for you. I wish you the best of luck. You have inspired me. Great post!
thank you. go you now!
Sometimes you have to be a little selfish! Being a mother is the most selfless thing, so don’t forget to take time for YOU every now and then!
i almost forgot!! 🙂
Good for you for focusing on you for a bit. And I have my figures crossed for you that something amazing comes out of it!
thank you! me too. 🙂
Sounds like a great experience!!
I have been doing it for so long (going to work and ignoring others’ needs), but I have to say the guilt is always there and eating away at my conscientious. It’s a good thing my husband is self-sufficient (well, kind of), and I don’t have kids, but you only have to look at the state of my pot plants to understand the word ‘neglect’. *sigh* I really admire those who are complete opposite to me… Being able to put everyone else before themselves. Grass is always greener on the other side I guess! It has been great to read about your experience. 🙂 I have always dreamed to do something similar but my day job calls……
i think it’s all a balance we try for. some are more in inclined one way, other’s the other way. we just keep trying, right? and i gave up on plants long ago. ha!!