cafe mama

a domestic realist blog

bad day . 18 february . 2013

The magazine came in a white envelope, not part of my subscription; I'd received my subscribed-to copy a week earlier. "This is the kind of magazine we send to our writers or our reviewers," I thought, but there was no letter and I was in a hurry. I put the magazine in the pocket of my bike, meaning to page through it in some imaginary bit of calm. I already knew I'd love this Issue 47, full of people I knew or wanted to know, focused on women, centered around a gutsy piece from Cheryl I'd already read online.

I was too busy and I was sick and I felt awful, awful all weekend, even though I had lots to celebrate I kept feeling bad. It was such a bad day! I couldn't even see right through my woozy weary eyes. My nose dripped so raucously I couldn't even wash dishes or make food right, dripping right down into the sink and on my just-washed hands and barely missing the cutting board. I cooked the garlic a little too long and shouted when I should have been kind and never finished the lentils; I put the boys to bed before the good healthy food was all the way cooked. They ate ice cream and sardines for dinner. Fine.

I was waiting all day for the news to post on Ooligan Press' page, I'd been awarded second place in a book contest and I'd just found out. It was lovely and I wanted to bask in happiness but I felt so bad! When I thought about writing notes to tell people, potential agents or people who should really publish my book or anyone, really, I sneezed so hard I thought my cheek bones were a touch out of line. Can you throw your cheek bones out of joint from sneezing? Can you bruise your nose?

I had too much work to do and lots of it was late. Way late, and I wanted to go to sleep, but I stayed up stuffed in between boys, sniffling and feeling sorry for myself, eyes hurting and hot and cold and so uncomfortable and of course people were "liking" my post and I should be more happy but I was tired and grumpy. For some reason I had brought the magazine upstairs. Oh: it was Neil's fault, he had said something about how it would be great for me to post a list of things I was reading, and this was going to be one of them! Damn it!

I picked it up. No: I had to search the bed for it, all the boys fell asleep in my bed and they've now rolled and flipped and wiggled so much the blankets are all in a tangle. I finally found it and it occurred to me, in a rush: "Tiny Truths." It took me forever to find it. Monroe flipped over and put his foot on my laptop keyboard. My ears were so filled with congestion I could barely hear.

sarahgilbert in tiny truths in creative nonfiction magazine, issue 47
There it was. Me. A tweet I'd loved, from the summer, and reading it the day came rushing back; I think maybe it had been a bad day, too, then. Bleary-eyed then, too. I was just starting the magazine and getting tiny snatches of sleep and not ever getting enough done. I rode my bike home from the farmer's market down 44th Avenue and a very pregnant woman was putting something in the recycling bin. She stopped, and I could see by her eyes she was having a contraction. I said it to myself, then, so I'd get it right when I got home, this #cnftweet.

There. That's all of it: a bad day, as always, saved by a story. This one I was there, I bore witness, I wrote it down, and someone published it. More of this. More every day.

Monroe's knee is almost on Truman's nose, now, and the chicks are busily cheeping and likely making a mess out of their water dish. Kitty is sleeping on the expensive wool pillow, the one that doesn't have its pillowcase on. There are crumbs in the bed and my nose is still dripping. I haven't gotten any more work done. It's a bad day.

But people are reading my stories, people are liking my stories, and it's a very, very, very good life.

ads, which strive, which fail to yield

read my previous post . fiction unhinged . why nonfiction is not enough . january 24 . 2012