Today I put in notice at my job. My boss let out a squeal and laid her head on her desk as if I’d told her a comet was hurtling toward Earth and we were sitting at ground zero. When she’d pulled herself together, there was a pink blotch on her forehead and a scrap of paper stuck to her hair. I told her I’d be around for two weeks to train my replacement; she asked for three with wide, beseeching eyes and dissolved again when I held firm.

I left her office with a giddy sense of displacement. Soon I will be homeless, jobless, skidding toward Oregon with my pages in hand and my family in tow. In a book, I’d be writing a car accident for the heroine about now, but here in the real world it’s conceivable that I could be realizing two dreams at once: publication, and a home in the pines.

I know. But before we start counting our blackberries, I’ve got a revision to complete.

I’m planning another trip to my sister’s cabin in the woods, where I can be quiet and get my head together and slog through this latest round of rewrites. For now I’m simply filling my notebook with scribbled drafts of the scenes I need to add, but at some point they need to be coaxed into coherence and made to resemble the rest of the story. And my body is giving out on me. I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since August first told me he liked the manuscript. Good news has that effect on me. My mind begins to spin. I’m a little girl in a party dress, wobbling around the dance floor after one too many twirls, and before you know it I’m flat on my ruffled bottom with scuff marks all over my patent leather shoes.

A couple more weeks. Then, provided the snow has melted, I’ll be heading up to Utah, shutting myself in, and finishing the fucker. Again.

Where do you go when you need to be alone?


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