This morning I grabbed a pair of underwear from my drawer (I refuse to use the dreaded word that begins with a p) and pulled it on. I glanced down, though, and read the words printed into the waistband:
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD BE HAPPY EVERY DAY.
Yes. I've written about this particular underwear before, but not enough can be said about synchronicity and underwear affirmations.
So much can change from one moment to the next.
I spent many weeks procrastinating on submitting my manuscript to the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, but over the weekend hunkered down for many hours getting not only the manuscript but also the cover letter and overview ready. All of this was done even as I prepared and had my Books & Bakes dinner on Friday night, took care of the Soph, counseled, cooked and otherwise kept in line The Two Teenagers and did some editing for My New Job. I know very well that I have far too many frying pans on the fire, and I fear that I am doing each thing in a slipshod way (remember my botched Hungarian dessert?), but I was determined to enter MGDB* into this contest, namely because it was for unfinished manuscripts and would force me to put some order into the thing. I confess to hating the whole "structure" thing and have fantasized about someone like Mary Poppins descending from the sky and landing on my back stoop to take the book in hand and just -- well -- tell me what to do and make it a book. The Graywolf Nonfiction Prize takes submissions every other year, and one of the requirements is that the book is NOT finished. This seemed perfect to me. I have an overview and many, many pages, but I also have this structural problem that will take some wrestling, and maybe, just maybe, I'll win the prize and then my troubles will be over.
At 10:05 pm, Pacific Standard Time, I finished typing out my overview and went to the Submittable page.
It was closed.
I had missed the deadline because I live on the west coast and didn't bother to think of the time difference! I let out a blood-curdling scream, stripped naked and ran with the coyotes that lurk in my neighborhood and eat miniature dogs.
In all seriousness, I was if not devastated, then feeling crushed and, frankly, idiotic. Why had I waited so long to submit it? I went on Facebook and wrote a pathetic status update, asking for violins. I got plenty of them, but I also got a couple of wise suggestions to email the folks at Graywolf and tell them my story of woe. I took the advice and included a screen shot of the Submittable page that said the contest was open January 1st through the 31st. Then I watched three episodes of Downton Abbey, contemplated why some people have the balls to date online and some people think only of Looking for Mr. Goodbar and that scene where the Richard Gere character is chasing the woman around the room, all drugged up, and then I went to bed, crushed.
I woke up this morning resigned that it's all for the best, it's not like you're going to win, anyway, there's probably a better thing to submit to, maybe your good friend will win it which will be almost as good as winning it yourself and at least you finally did an overview and are one step closer to wrestling the thing into shape.
Then I grabbed the underwear.
Then I read my email.
Thanks for your email. The prize closed at. Since that wasn’t clear on the website, we’ll let you submit your manuscript. If you’ll go ahead and email me the required materials in one file, either PDF or Word doc, then I’ll add your submission to the nonfiction prize in Submittable. Once that’s been done, you will receive a notification from Submittable that it has been entered.
I let out another bloodcurdling scream, stripped naked and ran through the neighborhood with a palm frond that had fallen in the hurricane-like winds we're having this morning in one hand and my underwear in the other.
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD BE HAPPY EVERYDAY.
* My son, getting ready to leave for the Winter Formal at his high school on Saturday night. A sight for sore eyes, for sure.
**My God Da*&ed Book