Here's the thing: I'm not good at saying no. It's still a HUGE honor for me to be asked to do anything, read anywhere, show up. Like I said above, I dreamed of "this day." And I had an incredible time at the Housing Works party in NYC. I was on a high as I boarded the train at 11 PM - a rather absurd thing I've done recently in order to be back home in Vermont when my two girls wake up.
But this is when things started to get desperate.
The locomotive didn't work. It took 2 hours for them to replace it. So at 1 AM, my train left Penn Station. I got to Albany at 3:30 in the morning. Now, compounding this fatigue is the fact that I still have young girls who regularly get up at 5 AM. I've been training for big runs (just ran a half marathon on Sunday), grading papers, writing. I was in NYC last Thursday and am due in California this weekend. It's also garden season - in other words - I'm flat out exhausted.
I'm also HORRIBLE with directions. So when I pulled out of the parking garage in Albany at 3:30 AM and both of my options for getting onto the highway back home were closed, and my nav function on my phone was in rebellion, I started to breathe kind of heavy and maybe I swore and maybe I cried and maybe I pulled over to a gas station whose employees wouldn't let me in and November Rain came on and I sang with all my heart and maybe I just drove off into a weird part of Albany until I finally found a highway I knew and got on it.
The sun was beginning to rise as I pulled into my driveway in Vermont. Birdsong and hungry cats at my feet as I stumbled out of the car toward the door. And all I could think was: living the dream.
But at 6:30 AM I had two girls crawling in my lap, and fun memories from the night before. And also great - a super meaningful and kind thank you note from a book club I Skyped with. My writing life isn't pretty (I look like Courtney Love right now), but it's my life, and I know I'm damned lucky.