In my mail today: the latest issue of Poets and Writers, which I’ve been hiding under my bed for the past few months, since it reminds me of all the things I’m not doing. Yeah, whatever, I’m blogging — but that doesn’t count. The last time I perused the classified ads of P&W (April?) was pure torture. I think the worst thing that can happen to an undermotivated cash strapped writer is to be confronted with dozens — maybe even hundreds! — of writing opportunities that would only be available if one were to, well, start writing. I’d rather be a Type I diabetic chocolate addict forced to work in the Fannie May factory for eternity.
So it was with trepidation that I forced myself to look through the latest ads, and even then it was out of embarrassment. I was hanging out with W. at The Boring Store for this NaNoWriMo workshop they’re having for the kids, and one of the volunteers saw me with P&W and asked if I were a writer and — being ten — W. said, Yes, she is, and she’s working on two books and has had essays published in a bunch of places. Damn kid!
I was shamed into pretending I’m still a writer, though at this point it feels like something I used to do out of sheer boredom and naïveté, just like when I was 14 I’d cut myself at slumber parties or when I was 19 I’d take speed to stay up for three days straight and would smoke a pack of cigarettes in an hour and never feel a thing. But whatever. In ten minutes I found a half-dozen calls for submissions asking for things exactly like what I’ve been writing lately anyway. (Little known secret: when I’m up at 4am and not working, I’m writing. It’s what I do when I’m procrastinating about what I should be doing.) I never thought I’d feel grateful for embarrassment.
But before The Boring Store, I was at Walgreens and as I was walking in I saw J. locking up his bike, which made me walk faster hoping he didn’t see me. And when I went to look for mouthwash, he was looking at toothpaste, so I made a U-turn and ended up by the hemorrhoid cream, which is where I literally bumped into him, quite nearly breaking my nose on his chin (after which he, uh, shook my hand). I don’t know why I was so scared to see him, other than he was one of the last of the drunken canoodlings I had this summer & he’s been so gracious about things the last couple times I’ve seen him — at Wicker Park Fest, then at Cal’s when I went to see his band play — and I’ve been left feeling like a complete ass, especially after he called and gave the most heart-felt apology for being a guy that I’ve ever received in my life.
He’s funny and sarcastic and he wavers on the edge of “interesting looking” and “fabulously attractive” and we get along marvelously and we talked for a good 20 minutes and we even joked around about how neither one of us really gets the whole Halloween costume thing. Yeah, he said, I’ll go to the parties but it’s just to get drunk and stoned, and then the whole thing fell apart and whereas a total of four seconds earlier I’d been thinking, maybe there could eventually be something there with this guy, it all disappeared and I had a minor (ok, not-so-minor) panicky feeling that I will never again have sex before I’m 50. Or, gasp, possibly even 60. He said he’d call, but I don’t even care.
After The Boring Store, W. and I went to see The Quiltmaker’s Gift at the Athaeneum Theatre on Southport. The author of the book was there for opening night, and even though the seats were, uh, in an odd state of disrepair, leaving us feeling as though we were not only watching a play but also on a roller coaster ride, it was a fabulous production, and I was subtly crying by the end. This guy who had to be 50 if he were a day crawled over seats to sit next to me and chatted me up before and after the show and asked me for my number. I gave him my (work) email address — hey, I was there in a professional capacity — but won’t respond if he does contact me. He was very much like Mr. Big (the character, not my friend) and apparently has two teen-age kids, but if I’m certain of anything right now, it’s that the last thing in the world I need is to be swept off my feet by a single dad Mr. Big type who drives a fast (expensive) car and would likely have no problem funding my obsession with Christopher Blue jeans and stiletto heels. And the second-to-last thing I need is to get involved with anyone.