Casting into the Void and Bad-luck Days [Lambda Literary Foundation]


Procrastination. That cheap whore.  It just kept beating me back until I had only a single evening to prepare my admission packet for the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Writer’s Retreat. But that was just the beginning.

Read on for more of my shitty day.

I spent the entirety of Wednesday night writing a bio, using the wonderful Google Docs to get 4 of my friends to proofread, critique and edit in real time.  I think I would have lost my sanity otherwise.

It wasn’t until 1am that I realized I hadn’t event attempted to clean up the first 25 pages of my manuscript, Fury Blades, which were required in the admissions packet. I stayed up for another few hours fixing it up and getting it presentable. It wasn’t perfect, but it is still a work-in-progress, which is one of the major points for applying to the writer’s retreat. Still, I’m really happy with it.

Possibly the crappiest day I’ve had in many months.

It started the last weekend I went up to Birmingham to see Andy. On the way, my car started to shake violently when I went faster than 60mph. We assumed it was just something out of alignment. So, because I had such a busy day of getting my LLF application in the mail and driving th B’ham for another work weekend with Andy, I woke up early and headed to the closest place that could balance the tires for cheap: Walmart. The most wretched hive of scum and villainy in Tuscaloosa.

I pulled up under the aluminum awning to wait for an attendant, but one never came. I parked the car in the nearest space and started to walk inside, when a women pulled up to the awning behind me and the attendant magically appears, wearing little green dot earrings one can find on the rack at Claire’s. I told her I waited but no one came out, but she still went over to the new car and took her first. And guess what, she was there for tire balance as well. Not only that, but ANOTHER car pulled in behind her for the same fucking thing. By the time the stupid bitch got to me, she said it would be an hour and a half because I had two people in front of me. I said “No, I was here before them, but what the fuck ever. Just do it.”

I spent the next hour walking around Walmart. Enthralling. I decided to head back to the auto center only to see my car on the lift. I assumed they had just gotten to it, so I went back to browse DVDs for a few minutes before I got frustrated and went to sit at the auto center.

After 10 minutes sitting there, one of the mechanics walks up and asks “Is that your car, boss?” “Yes,” I say. He then proceeds to tell me that both rims on the right side are cracked and shouldn’t even be driven on and the back tire has a huge gash because of it. That explains the flat tire I had just days before, which I patched with some green goo. The best part was that my car had been sitting up there for 45 minutes while they waited for me to come back. All they could do was put the tires back on and advise me not to drive it anywhere but to the nearest replacement center.

By this time, I was already pissy, and it was only 1 o’clock. I headed back home to print out all my application papers, only to have that FUCKING HP printer refuse to work with my netbook without downloading an entire suite of crap-ware programs. FUCK YOU, HP COMPUTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I ended up using my parents laptop (which, for some absurd reason, it did recognize). I moved all the documents to it, only to have the printer run out of ink 3 pages in. Joy. I quickly packed everything up and drove (car vibrating off its hinges) over to Office Depot to get everything printed, which took forever because the print center register was about the only one open. Plus, I had the added benefit of a rock hitting the windshield on my way.

Once everything was done, I checked my list about 10 times and packed everything into the envelope and headed to the post office. Again, horribly busy because it was now after 4pm. All that was left was to have them do a money order for the application fee and put postage on the packet.


And off he goes, out into the void. Fly swift and safely.

Walking out of the post office, I felt really good; as though I accomplished something just by getting as far as applying. Because, let’s be honest, I don’t follow through on things a lot because I’m scared of the outcome. This time, I didn’t worry about any of that. I just did it and I couldn’t be happier.

But that happy note isn’t how the day ended. On the way home, a teenage twat in his truck, jacked 4 feet off the ground, came a single inch from rear-ending me just so he could get in the turning lane.

Once I got home, I found my cat had gotten shut inside my room and made a bed of all my clean clothes set out for the weekend. I yelled at her and she took a flying leap across the bed and right across the night stand, sending my relatively new Barnes and Noble nook straight into the floor.

Ever wanted to kill your own pets before? I did.

I checked the nook for damages, but it seemed perfectly alright; no physical damage and no apparent internal problems.

When I checked the mail, I found that I had been sent a sample packet of coffee. “Oh, good,” I thought. “This is just what I need to make the afternoon a little brighter.”

I went to the coffee pot to clean out the morning’s grounds, but on my way to the garbage can, the filter ripped, sending a mound of wet coffee grounds across the entire kitchen floor. My brain, unable to get any more frustrated or angry that day, just kicked into hysteria mode. I spent the next hour laughing maniacally at my day while I scrubbed sludge off the tile.

The day wasn’t all bad. After the coffee thing, everything was a riot. I also had a nice surprise on Twitter. The day before, I had tweeted: “Uh-oh. Mom found my stash of Writer’s Digest magazines. There’ll be questions now.” And the editor of Writer’s Digest herself, Jessica Strawser, @ replied to me saying: “Tell her you just subscribe for the articles & don’t even look at the pictures. :)”

A very wonderful way to brighten up the day.

Because of the car trouble, Andy had to come down in the evening and pick me up. We went for Indian at my favorite restaurant in town, Sitar. But only a few minutes into dinner, he gets a phone call saying the alarm system at his home was going off. The evil eye strikes again! Fortunately, it was just his friend entering the wrong code.

There was one other thing I like to blame on my bad juju, but that’s a private matter. *wink wink, nudge nudge*

The only carry-over I had on Friday was my breaking a glass bowl, but that seemed to end the cycle.

On reflection, it wasn’t an entirely awful day. I’ve had plenty of those and they included panic attacks. This was just the worst I’ve had in a while, but it has passed and I’m looking ahead! Keep your fingers crossed for me.


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