First, you have to hold your raw and precious ego in your hands and tell it to pipe down. You made art, now you have to stand behind it and deal with other people's feelings about your art. With grace.
You get crazy from lack of sleep, and then you get worn down. And when you get worn down you find yourself extra grateful for all the kind people in your life who treat you well: the husband watching the kids when you're on book tour, your reliable babysitter, the friend that brings your family a pot pie, the mother and father who offer you their cars and coffee, the sister who made green beans just the way you like them and brought them to you when she picked you up at the airport with 3 kids in the back of her car. The agent, editor, and publicist who have your back. The friends that give you their 101-year-old aunt's vintage jewelry and coats. The friends and old teachers who make it to your readings on blisteringly cold nights, or send you supportive notes and tell you when you have lipstick on your teeth before you read in front of fifty people.
I find myself thinking: please let me be the type of woman who deserves such kindness.
This morning my parents left for work and I was alone in their Raleigh house. I felt 14 again, as if I had no driver's license. I had coffee on the back porch (funny how 40 degrees feels warm after a Vermont winter). I brought my notebook with me and decided to do some work on my novel in longhand.
I love this journal - what a year it's seen me through. It's coffee-stained (hard-livin' in my purse), stuffed with old plane tickets and sanskrit alphabet guides, has irrational to-do lists, yoga teacher training notes, confessions, dreams, and the outline for my next novel. My 5 year old drew a few lovely pictures - without asking of course. But her drawings are one of the things that makes this journal representative of the beautiful mess of my life.
I actually got some great writing done this morning, and even though it consisted of two meager but magical paragraphs, it reminded me of why I do this in the first place.