I have been thirsty for two weeks. I have no idea why this is, nor have I spent really any time thinking about it other than to grumble to myself about what an annoyance it is. It is amazing how one little thing can weasel its way into your life -capture your thoughts, steal your focus, alter your priorities, lower your standards.
Thirst has become insistent for me. It is like a stubborn toddler shoving his way to the front of the line at Chuck E. Cheese. It doesn’t care who it tramples and won’t take “no” for an answer.
I find myself making unscheduled pit stops at Sonic for a large diet cherry lime-aide because Thirst could care less if I have a schedule to keep. I swoop down upon large, outrageously priced bottles of Dasani in line at the grocery because Thirst doesn’t give a rat’s behind whether or not I am on a budget. I snag free styrofoam cups of water meant for building contractors and parched landscapers at Home Depot because Thirst is a shameless slave driver.
Thirst laughs at me as I run to the bathroom constantly, mocking me as dinner burns on the stove, my oldest son sneaks out of the house without doing his algebra homework, and the second grader steals candy from the pantry.
But today, thirst drove me to a new low. It made me do the unthinkable – the riskiest thing imaginable. It made me drink from the water fountain at the pediatrician’s office.
I think I feel strep throat coming on. Measles. Chicken Pox. Rubella.
So, today when I settled down to finish my two entries for the annual Writer’s Digest Competition, I was prepared with an enormous glass of ice water to my left and a mug of tea to my right. An hour later, the mug and glass were empty and the moment came to hit “send” for the submissions. Finally, months writing, re-writing, editing, and begging friends for feedback were over. I knew the pieces remained imperfect and that I was destined to find some horrible omission or type-o on the pages as soon as I sent them on their way. It is a daunting reality, and one which has at times kept me from sharing my work with the world.
But this time, I sent it anyway.
In Bird By Bird, writer Anne Lamott promises that if a writer is faithful to his craft, and resists the bondage of perfectionism, he or she will reach a time when they know the work is finished.
“This will probably happen while you are sitting at your desk, kneading your face, feeling burned out and rubberized…even though you know that your manuscript is not perfect and you’d hoped for so much more, but if you also know that there is simply no more steam in the pressure cooker and that it’s the very best you can do for now- well? I think that means you are done.”
And it feels good.
I would love to tell you more about it, but I can’t. I have to go to the bathroom.