There's Something I Haven't Told You
Eek! Isn't my new pin the COOLEST? I can hear the deep voice now, announcing the start of the show: Spaaaaace Tweeeerp!
It would make a good cartoon, wouldn't it? I'd watch it.
The pin is part of an EXCELLENT package I received in the mail yesterday from Laini Taylor. (I know! Another package! I am so freaking lucky to have such amazing friends.) Laini, amongst being:
(A) An awe-inspiring writer
(B) A hilarious emailer
(C) A genius advice-giver
(D) An intuitive gifter
Anyone who reads her blog knows the care she puts into her Christmas presents, but seriously, all of her gifts are awesome. Check out the rest of yesterday's package:
Pretty stationary, delicious candy, a Portland travel guide (is that a hint?), an adorable "watch," and . . . what's that in the middle? Oh yeah. Homemade chocolate chocolate chip cookies. But wait! There's more! See that jar in the back? Wanna know what's inside?
Lavender caramel sauce.
Let me repeat that.
LAVENDER CARAMEL SAUCE. Which was heated and poured over vanilla ice cream for last night's dessert. Yuuuumm. Also, there may have a bit more candy and a few more cookies before this picture was taken. Maybe.
And . . . (Yes! Even more!)
Laini's super duper rockingest stupendously fun husband, Jim Di Bartolo, added in some new tunes for my playlist AND a print of this:
Which I have hardcore coveted ever since he posted it on his blog. I LOVE it, and I can't WAIT to hang it in my writing room. Isn't Jim talented?? I'm not the only one who thinks so. Last night, I sent Thom an email of the drawing. This was his reply:
Subject: re: LOOK AT MY AWESOME NEW PICTURE!!!
Which, coming from Thom, is a huuuuuge compliment. Yay Jim!
But . . . okay. I'm avoiding something here. That thing I haven't told you about? (You know, the title of this post?) That's the reason I received this package in the first place. And it's something I've wanted to tell you guys for a while, but I didn't know how. It's Big News. Good News. But in light of this crap economy, it makes me feel uncomfortable and guilty and squirmy inside.
So I haven't told you.
Because, really, I can't put it off any longer.
Except if I space out a few more lines like this.
Or even this.
Thom Yorke is my boyfriend!
I bought blue nail polish to match my hair!
Sharp cheddar cheese is better than mild cheddar cheese!
(Oh get it over with, Stephanie.)
I quit my job.
The package was a congratulations gift for my new status as Official Full-Time Writer. As of two weeks ago, I am no longer a librarian. Which is simultaneously one of the most joyous and terrifying things that has ever happened to me.
Let me back up a bit.
My husband and I have had an agreement for the last few years. A Very Simple Agreement. When I got an agent, I could quit my job. Please allow me to make it clear that we both fully realize that agent does not = published book and a fatty paycheck. We are fortunate to be okay financially. We are not rich (so don't ask me to borrow a twenty, because I will laugh), but thanks to my husband's job, we do just fine thank-you-very-much. We're lucky not to have debt (apart from that pesky mortgage thing), and we're notoriously thrifty.
So anyway. Why when I got an agent? Because, to me at least, it's the first major step towards publication. And I know it might not happen with this novel, and maybe not even the next, but I DO feel good about it. Really good. And I have a GREAT agent. And having this first industry professional on my side is like my first gold star. It means: Hey. This is good stuff. With hard work, you might have a career here.
Notice that phrase? Hard work? Because that's what I'm doing. What I HAVE been doing. Working my butt off, day after day, night after night. I've been working two full-time jobs, and now that I have a reason to hope, and since I am financially secure, I have quit one of them to pursue the other to the best of my abilities.
Which, like I said, is terrifying. And thrilling and wonderful and vomit-inducing and cartwheel-producing.
And I have felt enormously guilty and hesitant to tell you because I know so many of you are struggling right now. And despite my hard work to get here, it feels really unfair. I have close friends and family who have lost their jobs or taken pay cuts or are in jeopardy of losing careers they've held for twenty years. And here I am, basically throwing away a paycheck.
Please believe me when I tell you that this wasn't an easy decision. The plan had been for me to quit the day I signed with an agent, but as it turns out, it didn't go down like that. We agonized over this. We watched our finances and balanced budgets and threw out dire scenarios and all sorts of scary stuff.
And we decided that the time was still right.
What it comes down to is this: If I didn't take this risk, I would always wonder. And that "what if" would slowly eat away at my soul for the rest of my life.
Now, I am not a risk taker by nature. I order the same thing every time I go to my favorite restaurants. It took me a dozen years to grow the courage to dye my hair. I love travel shows, but I let my passport expire because I am terrified of embarrassing myself in another country.
But THIS "what if." This one is different.
This one is my dream.
And I am so sorry for everyone struggling out there right now. And I wish with all my heart that the economy turns quickly. But I also hope that you can see this was the right decision for me, at this time in my life. No matter what happens -- good or bad -- it was the right decision.
That's what I keep telling myself, at least.
Now, if you pardon me, I'm going to go stress vomit.