Thursday, March 13, 2008
Every Silver Lining....
There is some sort of Midwestern superstition afflicting me that makes it difficult to enjoy things until I’ve run thru a catalog of all the ways either the thing will be a disappointment, will cause its own set of problems in an each action has an equal and opposite reaction kind of way, or will fall through. I used to think it was some genetic problem of mine but my doctor told me once that he had to learn how to interpret feedback he’d get from his Midwestern patients because they’d never admit to feeling good. Instead, they’d say, “Not too bad today.” He attributed it to farmer superstitions—that a farmer never wants to crow too loudly about how well the crops are doing or how favorable the weather has been because it could all change.
So yesterday when I found out I’d been accepted into a low-residency MFA program it took me awhile to circle around all the potential problems (where will the money come from? how will I juggle my job and this program? how many days of summer love will I lose? what if it wrecks my writing?) before I could venture into a celebratory mood. Every silver lining has a cloud, threatening thunderstorms, has been my motto since birth.
I didn’t realize I was happy until yesterday. Even the sun was shining. One of my students wrote an assessment note on his paper that said it was clear I loved my job and that made the class interesting. (A for him.) M was thrilled when I bequeathed her my little magnetic “Mr. Right” with changeable messages. (My favorie: It’s not your fault; it’s mine. M’s favorite: You look thinner. Have you lost weight?) My own real-life Mr. Right does not need magnets, and I am lucky in that. Even when a postcard I had up about the repealing the Global Gag Order was ripped in two and thrown on the floor by my office door, I felt a certain amount of glee as I taped it together and then taped it to the Bill of Rights so if someone wants to make a political statement with my door flair, they’ll have to shred a document they typically like to cling to when writing tedious papers about gun control. Also, it was the first day since I got the news that Z wasn’t being considered for a job at my school that I’ve released the bitterness and hate.
(Well, most of it. I still reserve the right to glare occasionally at those I hold responsible for this injustice. And if any of them asks after him, I will definitely snort loudly and turn my head.)
Anyhow, that’s the news. I’m still having moments of fear—the first manuscript is due in just over a month and suddenly I feel as if I’ve forgotten how to write—but I think maybe I’ll chose to live in optimism on this one, and not wait for failure and abject misery to rain down.