We All Drop the Ball

I turned in my copyedits for GEEK FEMINIST REVOLUTION last night, and a good thing, too, since the book comes out in May. I now have seven days left to finish a big revision on THE STARS ARE LEGION, because we have ARCs going to Comic-Con, apparently (ha ha) and it comes out October 1st, and we are tight on timing, here.

This morning I cruised into the day job and attended our usual all-hands Monday meeting at the agency and noted to everyone that I was going to try and take Thursday and Friday off this week so I could work on my book, but that was going to require me to get a LOT of shit done this week in the lead-up and farm out a lot of work. Last night, my spouse left the house to care for a sick relative, leaving me at home to care for our two dogs, one of whom can’t get onto all four feet without shrieking in horrible pain. He weighs nearly 140 pounds, and let’s just say that the shrieking and the hauling and the care can be stressful. On top of that, I’m driving our second car, which is the one that we paid $2500 cash for and vents carbon monoxide into the car so we can only drive it with the windows open and oh yeah, watch the front tire because every few days it goes flat and so we ride around with an air pump for it.

We are paying out the nose for our dog’s surgery and meds and still haven’t been reimbursed, and we are still about two months out from royalty season. But this week we’re expecting some payments for things, so we are holding our breath about that. So though we feel cash poor right now, yes, relief is coming, but needless to say, there’s a lot on my mind.

All of this is to preface this story of how my dog ran away at noon. So here I am driving back to the house from work in this deathmobile. I get back to the house and my husky dog is jumping and happy to see me and my poor shrieking mastiff with the bum legs has literally not moved from where he was sitting when I left this morning. I heat up some food and do the dishes and I don’t want to move the mastiff for his noon walk because I don’t want to put him in any more shrieking pain and surely he can wait until I get home but hey I can take out the husky!

So I grab the leash and go to the back door and Snax the husky trots up next to me and I just… open the door.

I open the door…. with the leash still in my hand, not attached to anything. And my dog just trots out the door without a leash on and I just stare at her like, “What did I just do?” and then she gets the bottom of the stairs and takes off.

We are all of us imperfect.

I drove around after her in the deathmobile, with my spouse texting me directions on where she was based on info from our dog tracker (great toy, let me tell you). And yes, eventually I cornered her and brought her home and it was fine.

But I kept replaying that bizarre moment of dissonance, when I just… opened the door without putting my dog on a leash, my brain wholly occupied with worry over my dog, my deadlines, and who was going to put away the dishes.

We are, all of us, imperfect. We all drop the ball.

Sometimes when people look at me and my life and how I get stuff done, they compare themselves to it and feel they come up short. But let me tell you. There are days you don’t want this life. Your life is perfectly fine. You are doing what you need to do, at your pace. The pace I’m keeping is not sustainable, and it makes me pretty nutty. You do you.

We forget sometimes what gets sacrificed in order for us to achieve the things that get all the splash and bang online or at the bar or in the media. I sat up alone last night entering copyedits into a PDF while my dog whined downstairs because he was lonely and in pain, and my spouse kept watch over an ill relative. I looked at GRRM’s post about the Superbowl this morning after hauling the dog outside and drinking my coffee and thought about how making deadlines is nice, but I sure would like to be making enough with just one series so that I could miss a deadline for a year or five and have a life and maybe some hobbies and other interests. But you want to be the best at something, you have to work harder than everyone else. I know that, but I also know it’s not sustainable. Something has to go. Something has to break or breakout. Let’s hope it’s a book that breaks out, cause let me tell you, I’m tired of breaking.

Hope springs eternal.


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