The photo is a picture of “The Waiting Game” card from John Holland’s Psychic Tarot deck. For those of you who are tarot buffs, it corresponds to the Two of Wands in the traditional deck. So what does Mr. Holland have to say about this card? “This card indicates that you’ve worked hard to set things in motion in certain areas of your life, and you’re now waiting for the results to come to fruition.” That pretty much sums up the way I have been feeling these days. And I don’t like it one bit.
I’m the sort of person who, when confronted with a traffic jam, will take the long way around, even if it takes more time. When I look at a period of down time, I almost feel like I’m looking into a black hole. I like to be in motion at all times. I like things to happen, when I want them to happen. Waiting for events makes me want to extract my eyes with a melon baller.
I sent out three short stories in August, and I still haven’t heard anything back. No rejection, which is good news, but also no acceptance. I’ve also been sending writing samples into the void of the internet, looking for new freelance clients, and getting no response. I keep filling these bottles with pages I’ve written, and casting them into the sea. No one seems to be finding them. I wonder if they were eaten by sharks. Of course, sharks typically don’t eat glass. They only eat attractive people, like the shark in Jaws. So if a shark eats you, is it a compliment? Is it nature’s way of telling you that you’re attractive?
Meandering back to my original point, I compulsively check my email every five minutes. I rush out to the mailbox the minute that I hear the mailman climb the steps. I’m driving myself completely nuts, wondering what is happening to all of these pieces that I have sent out. I wonder if they’re sitting in someone’s inbox, unread, or if they were deleted, never to be seen again. Or maybe they’re sitting in the infamous slush pile, and the editor is going to read them eventually, when he or she has some down time, which will never happen. Or maybe my mailman stole them. Okay, that’s probably not what happened. But he is shifty looking…
I despise this feeling of being stalled out, like an old car in the middle of the desert. I wrote in a story that I recently finished that life was like pressing Alt-C every day, or choosing “Copy” and “Paste” from the File menu. Every day, the same tedious grind of activities. Get up early to write, get the kids dressed and breakfasted (that’s a neat trick, huh? Turning a noun into a verb), take my oldest son to school, walk around my completely ordinary and unremarkable neighborhood, and come back to write again. Throw in lunch with my two-year-old son, which usually consists of some breaded compressed meat product and whatever fruit hasn’t gone soft in the bottom of the refrigerator. He naps, I write again, we pick up my eldest at school, and we come home. I’m beginning to wonder if I haven’t been deposited into some kind of Groundhog Day scenario. Or maybe that sweet Star Trek episode, where the Enterprise gets caught in a temporal vortex, and the crew repeats the same day over and over. Actually, I’d rather not be in that episode. The ship gets blown up at the end of each temporal loop.
I’m sure you understand my point. The days are feeling redundant, each day copied and pasted onto the next. Each day going by, with no response to the writing I’ve sent out. As an inspiring friend once told me, “If you throw enough shit at the wall, eventually some of it will stick.” I suppose I’ll just have to let that little nugget of wisdom inspire me to hope. Maybe, just maybe, someone is reading the things that I am writing. And they aren’t shit after all.
But if they aren’t shit, then what did I throw at the wall?