Post #11: Inbox-watching
Updated: Dec 8, 2021
So I emailed the publisher to ask whether they'd read my manuscript yet. That was yesterday.
I haven't heard from them yet.
I realize this is a dumb thing to be worried about. I checked the publisher's website, and it says that they will tell you their decision, even if it's "no thanks." So no news is no news. Simple as that. Life is all about waiting. And pain. And betrayal. And heartache. And disappointment...
Wait. Where was I? Oh, right, I was talking about my current anxiety level. It's redlining, frankly, even for me. See, I'm not good with ambiguity; I don't handle it well. I like a plan. I like a clear decision. I like being prepared, even if I'm preparing for a big letdown.
Which, now that I see it spelled out, really means I like being in control because I always expect the worst. I know that many would say that's the wrong attitude, but let's be real, here. The worst is a safe assumption. As the bumper sticker says: "Oh, no, not another learning experience." Are there really people out there who don't expect the worst? We come out of the womb crying.
My current anxiety level is a problem in another major respect: it translates to irritability when I'm at work, dealing with library patrons. In my defense, there are people in this world who were born irritating. Here is a sample of a phone conversation I had with a patron just this morning:
Patron: "What will the weather be like for the next two days?"
Me: "Partly sunny in the morning, cloudy in the evening, chance of rain tomorrow night."
Patron: "Chance of rain?"
Me: "Tomorrow night. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, it will be partly cloudy in the morning and cloudy with chance of rain at night on Tuesday."
Patron: "So, sunny some days?"
Me: "You won't see full sun all week. Partly cloudy in the morning, cloudy with possible chance of rain at night."
Patron: "Which day will be more sunny?"
Me: "The forecast says it will be partly cloudy in the morning and cloudy at night, with a chance of rain on Tuesday night."
Patron: "I don't need to know about the night. What about the afternoon?"
Me: "There isn't going to be a day with full sun this week. You can assume that in the afternoon, it will be cloudy."
Patron: "So, it will be what, tomorrow?"
Me: "It will be partly cloudy in the morning..."
That conversation ended with the patron saying, "well... I guess you did the best you could." Like I said. In some cases, I have legitimate grounds for irritation.
So what do I do while I'm waiting to hear from the publisher? I'm not sure. Start the second book in the series? Work on a standalone? Write some short stories to submit to magazines, on the remote chance I'll win a Hugo award? Dagnabbit, how can I succeed at a new thing if I don't know whether I've failed at the old?
I guess the real question here is, "how do I measure success?" Or maybe, "what do I really want out of life?"
At the moment, the answer seems to be, "an email." I don't know how to aim higher.