Thursday, June 14, 2007

Xanax and Barnes & Noble

For about a year after I realized my book wasn't going to be published, I dared not enter a bookstore, because if I did, I would start crying like a crazy chick. I sometimes even teared up merely passing the window displays of bookstores. I would stand there and think, "Jesus, look at all this crap people sell, and I can't even sell my crap, which I know is better than their crap."

And of course the book's course of events led to the downward spiral that caused me to leave New York, forsake writing, publishing and magazines, and move to Miami to get a "real job." Which of course made me realize how I was literally soulless without my writing, and having a boring "real job" made me more positive than ever that this is what I was meant to do. (Save your catty comments, I know I'm not Virginia Woolf. I'm not trying to be.)

It was only after I left NYC that I could enter a Barnes & Noble without the fear of crying. But then when I was in Miami, and I began venturing back into bookstores, I had these weird visceral reactions. I would get dizzy, lighthearted and short of breath. I would be unsteady on my feet. I felt the need to race through there and get to my car, ASAP.

It wasn't until a few months later that I realized I was having anxiety attacks each and every time I entered a bookstore. These pretty, colorful tomes were taunting me, screaming, "We got published and you didn't, and look at how crappy our book is! Ha, you total loser."

Well, I read several books a week and don't have the patience to order online, so bookstores are unavoidable. Today I was out of books; had to trek to B&N. And before I knew it, there was the nausea, the unsteadiness, the utter sadness, the pit of dread. And when I pulled into my garage and looked at the B&N bag, I just started crying. I couldn't help it.

I am trying to live in the moment here and focus on my future and my freelance career that is keeping me very busy, but for me, the non-publication of my book is like the death of a boyfriend or a lover—the insurmountable loss of something that you poured your heart, soul, time and money into all for naught. Or, more appropriately, it is the death of my dreams.

And upon reflection, I still can't say for sure that writing it was a mistake, because some good things did come out of it. But I do think that this rejection, especially since it was on a Page-Six-level public scale, is one that I may never get over.

Or maybe I will, when I write another one, or edit the 500 pages I have into something coherent. My July respite in South Beach may be just the place to do that. Because even though I can be a whiny, sensitive girly-girl, I'm also a tough chick, unafraid to kick ass, who can conquer pretty much anything. So perhaps there's hope for my dreams yet.