Maybe it’s the smoke graying the air and the hills lining our windows. Maybe it’s the muffled quietness of the house, the streets outside, the subdued rooms in our apartment, so silent that my husband is asleep with the NY Times in his lap. Bored, I sip my third cup of coffee trying to focus on the To Do list in front of me.
We are in a period of waiting.
We are waiting for a doctor’s call to set a surgery date; waiting for a piece of mail with news of a query sent to a magazine; waiting for a friend’s call to ease our anxiety about her health; waiting for a pill to lessen the pain in my knee; waiting for good news from a son who is also waiting; waiting for a cooler moment to walk to the grocery for food for tonight’s dinner; waiting for the TV show that is our habit each evening and makes us believe, at least for a moment, in the media’s ability to tell us today’s truth.
When we get a surgery date for Don, if I get a response from the magazine, when my friend calls, when I take a chance on walking to the store, after all this waiting, I will begin to understand that waiting is never over. New waitings will arise. I know this because of a call I got just now which ended one of the waitings I’ve been living with: the publication of my next novel.
I had plans for the book’s arrival, a To Do list of promotions, readings, newsletter notes, a launch with champagne, maybe. Then the call came. My publisher informed me that instead of a firm launch date, she is going out of business—on the day she had set for my book to be born.
That waiting is over. At first I felt relieved. My To-Do list dissolved. I could …
even … Then she suggested I try self-publishing. “You’ve done it before,” she reminded me.
I have given the idea some thought since her call. My story is an okay one, one I’d like to see in print. I’m thinking that maybe I can even change its title, the awful one given to it by the now-gone publisher. Maybe, maybe.
So now I’m beginning the wait for my book to be born. Again. My To Do list has changed, is growing complicated. I need to clean off my desk, get organized, learn how to deal with the digitalized materials that I’ll be sent, leftovers from my publisher’s emptied files. I will re-title the book, create a new cover, plead for help from Createspace. Probably cry at least once.
But I won’t have time to notice the gray smoke.