Monday, May 3, 2010

What would Amelia Earhart do?

The woman wanted to write. Sometimes fate takes a hand. She got to fly planes instead and we're all grateful for it. Writing is such an oddly solitary profession. You engage with these characters daily, you fight with them in your mind and often aloud. Yes, that's me, the madwoman who wanders the trails of Mills Reservation with my aged dog in tow, saying things like "What if?" and "Then what?" And answering myself because there's no one else around to do it for me.

Today, I sit and wait and try to keep busy. Not that I don't have things to do, an article to finish, (worked on already, questions sent yet again etc.), and a novella to try and publish or maybe extract short stories from, a business to run to make money which I surely do need . . . still I wait. Wait for judgment and then more judgment. What would Amelia Earhart do? I know she waited for a chance to get into a plane and fly over the Atlantic. She waited, not happily for an interview with her future husband to insure that she would be included in that same flight. And she waited for other things, for money to be raised, for planes to be readied, for weather to clear, for dawn to come. As she waited she undoubtedly did many of the things we all do . . . worried, gnawed away at those worries, dismissed them, thought about the future, thought about the past, thought about odd things. . . and so the time passed.

It passes so quickly really, and it seems a shame to miss any part of what is fleeting. I see that with my own parents, and with my memories of my children. Wasn't it just yesterday, yes it actually was if you look at it in terms of the bigger picture. Sometimes to gain perspective I try that. I think of how we're just this one tiny planet in the cosmos. But then of course I'm pulled back into me. Into my demands and the primacy of my incredibly important life, (joke intended.) I so wish I was different. I wish I could just walk away from the self that wants and needs approval, on the other hand, I can't. Getting better at something means exactly that, you've gotten better. Better with not wanting to scream or murder someone or else just sinking into despair when you get those dismissive rejection letters. Better with the process of waiting. Better with the way people tell you what they would or wouldn't have done if they were well, you. Infantilizing? You betcha. Yet I'm all grown up right?

When G.P. Putnam left Amelia to cool her heels outside his office, she wasn't pleased about it. I think of her sitting there, waiting for that interview, not knowing that the next few hours would change the course of her entire life. I think that's how everything is, in a way. There's a before, and then there's an after.

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