I’m going to take a break from stand-up. I’m doing a set, or maybe I’ll be hosting, on Saturday night, but that’s going to be it for a while. I need to focus on getting my book out there, whether I continue to query agents or commit to self-publishing. The manuscript has been done for over a year and I half, and though I continue to tweak it every so often, I could spend the rest of my life tweaking. I’m going to have to draw a line in the sand—and soon.
About three weeks ago an agent in California requested a partial (first 50 pages, annotated table of contents and bio) and I still haven’t had a chance to send it out—shame on me. This weekend, dammit.
Am I the only one who procrastinates like that? I do want to revisit those first 50 pages (again) and the agent wants a hard copy snail-mailed, which takes a bit of effort, but for Christsake, if my attention was focused on my priorities, I’d have had that out in no time.
Let’s see, my major goal for 2009 is to get my book published. On January 4 I emailed a bunch of query letters. (Good.) Three days later, an agent responded with a request for a partial. (Great!) Three weeks later I still haven’t sent it out. (WTF?) I’m either lazy or have some perverse underlying fear of success.
No, I don’t have my priorities straight.
What we focus on grows, right? I haven’t been focusing on the right things, so I’m shifting the focus, starting today. I need to align my actions with my priorities. I need to focus my attention and channel energy toward my goal.
You can help me, my beloved blogging buddies. Hold me accountable. Nag me about taking action. And let me know if you need a gentle nudge toward your goals as well.
Here’s the synopsis I’ve been sending out. Tell me if you think it’s something you’d be interested in reading. Or if it sucks and I’m totally barking up the wrong tree. If goals are unrealistic, then it’s best to drop them and channel energy elsewhere. But in my heart, I think I’m on to something. I just need to take the steps to get from A to B.
A week after we moved to Las Vegas, I put my bastard husband on a plane to the other side of the world. By then he was actually my ex-husband, and he wasn’t always a bastard; he was perfect and I loved everything about him. Until his thirteenth beer.
The next day I went to a divorce support group I found in the Meetings section of the local newspaper, listed between "Cross-Dressers of Las Vegas" and "Friends and Family of Incarcerated People." (And I thought I had problems.) As I sat in a circle of strangers waiting for my turn to “share,” I glanced at the Absolutely No Swearing sign hanging from the ceiling and thought, this will be a challenge.
“I’m Linda,” I began, “I have no husband, no job, and you people are my only friends.” Everyone laughed at my pathetic truth.
Bastard Husband: A Love Story is an autobiographical account of my first year alone in Sin City following a mid-life divorce. With one foot in the past, anchored by concern for my troubled ex, I plod forward and take my readers along with me as I survive day to day, slip-sliding all the way. I share the frustrations of looking for a professional level position in a job market where valet parkers and cocktail waitresses are the coveted career options. Figuring I’m no good at long-term relationships, I become a hospice volunteer and burst into tears when a kindly patient comments, “I bet you have a nice husband at home.” When my first post-divorce date arrives at my door not with flowers in hand, but a brochure detailing his chronic mental condition, I can’t help but conclude I really know how to pick ‘em.
Though I’d rather sulk at home watching my video of Princess Di’s funeral, I force myself to go out and explore the Vegas neon nightlife. I check out music venues and start hanging at a bar that has open mic comedy in their back room. After several weeks of watching comics of varying levels of ability, I decide to put a stand-up act together and sign up for stage time. Despite excruciating anxiety, my first performance is a triumph and afterward I am approached by a woman wishing to book me for other area stages.
The story ends a year after it begins. Thankfully, I’m no longer so miserable even Jesus would cross the street if he’d seen me coming, and although some pieces have yet to fall into place, I realize I’ve begun to embrace the new life I’ve built. Most importantly, I learn I must honor my ex’s path—however self-destructive—and simply get out of his way because in the end, your heart beats only for yourself.