January 22nd, 2007

No, I Don't Hear Voices

I’m big on communication. As is evidenced by my career (and chronic blogging). But I’m not talking about writing and reading, or talking and listening—not just with people, anyway. I’m talking about communicating with the universe. (Please take a moment to reread the title for swift reassurance.)


I admit that there was a time in my life I invested a lot of effort into writing letters to God and then trying (fruitlessly) to fold them into superhighflying paper airplanes. (Seriously: I am SO MUCH MORE NORMAL now than I was as a kid. By any standards.) But even that’s not what I’m talking about.


I’m talking of signs and symbols.


We’d all like the universe to be logical and decipherable, wouldn’t we? The difference between you and me is that I persist in believing it is, only you have to read the signs very carefully, analyze them very thoroughly, and thus determine their meaning. (Hence my excessive fondness for excessive analysis, chewing every bit of input—conversations, glances, confluences of events—until it disintegrates in my mouth.) It is, to the layperson, a lot like superstition. You know—a ladybug is a good sign. “The Wicker Man” being nominated for a Razzie is a sign that there is intelligent life in the universe. And so on.


This is all part and parcel of my general theory that Things Just Work Out. Or, to put it another way: if it’s meant to be, then it will be. If it’s not, well, you probably didn’t want it that much anyway. (It never hurts to put a positive spin on things.)


And it used to be part of my general method of living: just go on doing what you’re doing until life shoves you in a new direction. It worked for me for a long time, and then I got all weird and proactive. (Well—proactive for me. To other people it might look a lot like doing what I’ve been doing until life shoves me in a new direction. But they’re just not interpreting my actions correctly.)


As part of my burgeoning proactiveness, this year I established Very Firm Goals, particularly regarding freelance sales and fiction projects. (In case you’re wondering, I have been Very Good this month. I only have two and a half work goals left to cross off, and one of them is practically done.)  Which brings to mind a saying that I should perhaps have tattooed on my forehead: if you want to make God laugh, just make some plans.


Last week I discovered that one of my editors—a good one. A nice one. In other words, a complementary one—had given notice. He informed me that he thought I’d make a good replacement—one he would highly recommend. And thus I found myself earlier this evening trotting over to the post office to mail my resume and a copy of the newest edition of Fibromyalgia AWARE.


Even as I typed the cover letter I was arguing with myself. “Did you, or did you not, reaffirm your commitment to freelancing and fictioning this year?” I demanded.


“I did.” I tried not to sound sheepish. (This would be a good place to refer to the title for another swift reassurance.)


“Then why in God’s name are you applying for this position? Do you want to be an editor? Is that the direction you want to go in?”


“No.” Now I tried not to sound truculent.


“So explain your actions, then. Go ahead.”


Here I sighed. “How can you turn down an opportunity like this? Even if it’s one you don’t want?”


I could have argued the point, but instead I threw up my hands and gave in.


I still don’t know who won that argument, though. I don’t much want another editing gig—but the additional money would be nice. I dread the thought of having to divide my day between three offices—one of them at home—instead of just two; but won’t I be on my own enough so that, no matter where I am, I can just work on whatever needs working on? And when life opens a door, even if it’s one leading to a room you don’t really want to enter, don’t you have to at least try to step over the threshold? And how can I tell if this is a sign from the universe ("Turn Here")--or a test of my Newly Firmed Resolve--unless I push forward and see what develops?


Anyway, I remind myself, no matter how good I look on paper (and even I have to admit that I seem like the absolutely perfect fit for this position, more’s the pity), there’s always the chance they won’t want me. (Then I can get all angry and resentful that they didn’t offer me a position I didn’t want in the first place. In answer to your question: no, it certainly is not easy to be a total fruitcake. Only the truly skilled can make it appear as effortless as I do. Thanks for noticing.)  

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