Monday, May 17, 2010

More closure...

...of a mixed-blessing kind.

When I deperted my previous life, a long-time friend with whom I had worked and played often over the course of more than 20 years stopped by my apartment. When he left, his small SUV was full of what I could salvage from the wreckage in the pitifully short time I had to choose what went with me and what would remain for the carrion birds. I picked my most valuable personal books, CDs and a few papers, and what was left of my "professional" research library. All found a temporary home with him (thank you, J. C.).

At his suggestion, I agreed to let him put the work-related materials up for sale. This last Saturday, he called my Secret Number and informed me that he had found buyers, and that I would realize a sum rather higher than my own estimates of their value.

The check is on its way.

This is a major relief, to put it mildly. It is also a sad moment in the transition from the end of the Old into the unknown wilds of the New.

Don't get me wrong. I am in no way tempted to blow some of the proceeds on an expedition to the nearest bar to drink myself into blissful oblivion. Nor am I sitting here staring at the wall and wondering why the hell it All Went Wrong.

But a part of me can't help thinking that this is the ultimate symbol of 24 failed years. They began with another check, for roughly 20% of this final sum, sent to me when a magazine accepted my first manuscript*. After what in retrospect seems a lifetime of ups and downs, good memories and bad, it ended in financial ruin, stress, and a sudden-but-essential departure from familiar ground.

The starting-over process was never guaranteed to be pain-free or easy. That's for Horatio Alger books and cheezy movies.

It must be said that I'm feeling a bit more confident, but nothing like the way I'd feel if one of the umpteen job applications I have so far sent from here had resulted in even the dimmest glimmer of interest.

So almost everything I valued is now gone. All I have left is a handful of people watching my back (more important than anything, in my view), memories light and dark, and a little more change in my pocket.

And I have me.

It's a start....

* And "manuscript" it was: Written on my Remington-Rand electric typewriter, the sheets were full of blobs of White-Out covering typing errors, and probably represented the third or fourth draft of the piece. I was horrified to see it again after the magazine's Copy Editor finished with it, when it had acquired a few ugly blue pencil slashes. Her assurance that it was the cleanest copy she had received in a long time was little comfort; I wanted my maiden effort to be perfect....

1 comment:

elizabeth down the street said...

For a while there the "me" seemed in short supply, so I'm excited to see this step up. I'm happy to hear you have a little bit of a cushion to support your next endeavors. Thanks for writing! And have a hug for this week.