Thursday, August 5, 2010

No Good Crying Over Spilled Tea....

There are days that are just destined to be days where you really should either say, "do over!" or you should just stay in bed, under the covers.

I know I seem to say something of this sort fairly frequently but I'm not talking about days where it's hard to get out of the cosy cocoon of a warm bed or days where work just kicks you when you're down. I'm talking about the sort of days where you really just shouldn't touch anything.

My day began fine until I left the house. I had my tea in my travel mug. It was raining. It was the sort of rain that was heavy in spots, light in others. As I pulled out on the main road from my street and started to drive, someone pulled out of a parking lot without looking. I had to brake quite hard to avoid him. Fortunately, having just had my brakes fixed, I was able to stop with no repercussions.

When I got to work, I discovered that our alarm was down. I couldn't get in. Usually I'm the first one in the office but today, I recognized the truck of our technical support person who's also in charge of the alarms. I knocked on the door to no avail. It was raining. I finally decided to drive around to the front of the building to see if that was open.

This may seem lazy but I'd worn heels today since we had visitors in the building. Also, it was raining hard and I didn't feel like getting my heels stuck in mud while I got rather wet.

Just as I was about to pull out of the parking lot to get to the front of the building, our technical support person came and opened the door, propping it open. Groaning, I backed up and re-parked in the spot I'd abandoned. As I got out of my car, my tea mug lid came loose and spilled spicy black chai all down my very white shirt. I groaned. When I got inside, I tried to scrub it but a rather ugly brown splotch remained.

My morning passed in a tangled web of muddle. Everything I tried to test to make sure it was working broke. This is good because I'm doing my job but when you end up breaking everything you're supposed to test and things are getting fixed, you end up chasing your tail and tripping over your legs.

I finally went to lunch. It wasn't until I got inside my house, I realized my wristlet was missing. My wristlet is a cross between a wallet and a purse and it holds every bit of valuable stuff I have as in driver's license debit/credit cards, green card, etc. I searched my car, nothing. I searched the route I'd taken when I'd come in. Nothing.

I hoped beyond hope in my haze of muddle, I'd just left it at work. When I got to the office I searched for it. Nothing. I began to worry. My coworker said she'd seen me leave with it but she also thought one of my other coworkers may have had it when she'd come looking for me over lunch. I went to her office. She wasn't there and her office-mate didn't think she'd picked it up.

Thanks to the aid of two of my favourite coworkers, we searched my car and still didn't find it. I was trying not to panic. In the end, I decided the only thing to do to settle my mind was to go back home and search again.

I rushed home. I finally found it. Today was trash day. The wrist strap had come undone as I'd been hoisting my rubbish bins over the fence after they'd been emptied. It was lying on the ground. Since it was brown, it blended in with the dirty concrete. My heart rushed to my mouth as relief flooded in.

I got back to work. The afternoon should have passed well after a successful outcome of that near-scare but I have to confess, I was in a funk.

I'd been in a funk all day. It's all because I published my book in every electronic reader format possible and am selling it for $1.99. So far, no one's bought it. I know I just need to be more patient but even with my Viva La Revolution of Self Publishing! attitude, it's sometimes a little depressing how hard I have to work to get people to buy my book.

And I'm not even talking about the general public. I'm talking about friends and people I know. My closest friends have bought it because they're my closest friends and that's what they do. Yet when I step back, I admit, I get a little depressed that I haven't been able to persuade more than a mere fraction of my facebook 'friends' to buy it.

I know. I'm an idealist. I can't help but think that if it was a reverse situation and someone I knew had published a book, I'd buy it, just to help out. To say, "I know him/her!" It's the same reason I watch some bad movies or bad TV: Because some of the actors in the shows/movies are people I went to school with and it's nice to see them doing well with their life, even if the movies/TV shows aren't particularly good.

In my funk, I tend to over analyze. I get a little disappointed sometimes. When I moved out to L.A. nine years ago, I did so with the promise from a former boss/friend that her sister who was involved in Hollywood would help me with my screenwriting career. I moved out there, tried to contact my bosses sister and...nothing. I contacted my boss and after several attempts I realized that it was an empty promise. I tried not to take it personally but it was hard.

Nowadays, it's different. I have a couple of friends who know people in the publishing industry or they do PR but for whatever reason, they can't help me. I know they have their reasons but on days like this, I start to feel sorry for myself and wonder why all the writing books that talk about the importance of networking don't tell you that the majority of people with whom you try to network can't or won't help out.

It's one of the reasons I'm so jaded at times. My closest brush with getting somewhere was having a class with a Hollywood producer when I first moved to L.A. He liked the idea for my script and gave me ideas on how to fix it. I did and, as he requested, I queried his company with my script. I never heard another word.

It's been like that a few times in my life. It's one of the reasons I like the power of self-publishing. It's not about getting your work published because it's not fit for a real publisher as I still keep reading online, it's about no one else giving you a chance so you make your own chances. You have to "create your own luck," as Jack from Titanic says in the movie.

But sometimes, particularly days like this, I feel beaten down by 'creating my own luck.' I just want things to be easy when, in actuality, it's not supposed to be easy.

And yet if I just tipped the glass the other way, my day could be seen from a whole other point of view: My brakes were fixed, therefore I didn't get hit. I found my wallet. My tea didn't ruin my shirt. I still have a book published, even if it's not getting read by as many people as I'd like.

I suppose it's all about perspective. If I take a step back and realize some of the challenges that my friends are facing every day: sick parents, rheumatoid arthritis, sick spouses, no jobs...I really do feel guilty for whining. In the grand scheme of things, things can always, always be worse.

But on days like this, they feel like that could also be just a little bit better.

Still, tomorrow is another day and it's a Friday at that. That's cause for celebration in itself.

Happy Friday!

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