I don't know where it came from. Work was fine, it wasn't like that was particularly bad or anything. I'm keeping the fact that I do my once-a-week return to the old department in check in my mind, reminding myself it's only once a week, and after the last week of April, they won't be bothering me anymore. Traffic was fine. I was stuck behind a car going 10 MPH slower than the speed limit and I couldn't pass them because the left lane was packed, but that didn't bother me. I was very very chill all the way home.
I get home, and I start doing my prep work. C2E2 is this weekend. Still at McCormick Place in Chicago. The comic shop isn't offering a bus, and Mornblade isn't going this year. But I can't not go. Publishers will be there. Face time with them resulted in me getting a foot in the door with Archie Comics, and there's a bunch of new start-ups going to be there this year, one of which is looking forward to meeting with me. Old friends will be there, ready to talk shop and share knowledge about the industry and what we now must to do be noticed or to survive. Industry pros who recognize me as an enthusiastic fan of their work that they can't wait to catch up with will be there. Amazing as it is to me, I am about to go solo, by myself, on my own, without a swim buddy, into Chicago for the first time since about 1997 or somewhere thereabouts. I have to face my fears.
I look over all the things I'm looking to take with for when I hang with the others. I have the early sketches for Safe Passage to show what the central character is like. I've got two scripts done and am about to start on the third. I'm working on the designs for two characters so I can maybe get a jump on penciling some of it while waiting for traffic to die down so I can leave at night. I usually fast on Fridays during Lent, but I'm taking some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with to try to keep my energy levels up. I'm also laying out pages for Sound Waves #10 so I can do some work on that, too. I'm writing two Hannah Singer stories in tandem and will be loading both files onto Kylie in case I want to work on them. Got to charge up her spare batteries, too, but that can wait until Thursday morning. Have to charge up the GPS. Fermata's battery is still strong. Need to make presentation packages for the first issue of Quantum Redshift to show at least two publishers, maybe more. Francheso! likes getting his copies of Sound Waves directly from me at conventions so I can sign them for him immediately. A few others are asking me to bring them copies of the first Hannah Singer book, have to remember to bring enough of them. I don't know how I remembered to buy the pass to the show, I thought I forgot, but I see it right next to my watch and drum necklace. Need to pull out the right size pack. Shit, what am I going to wear? I need something presentable, not too casual but not too snobby, something that will make editors be more interested in talking with me than the Gen Y burnout with holes in his shirt, jeans with no belt he's holding up by one hand, and an eau de cologne aparently made from pot. Need my camera, where's that memory card?
And it's here that it hits. I just stop dead where I'm standing, looking at all this crap that I have to organize and thinking about all that's missing. And my mind screams, What the hell am you doing?!? Are you insane?!? Why are you even bothering?!? You've been trying to break into the writing field since 1992! You have made NO measurable progress in nearly two decades! And here you are, about to piss away how much money that you could use to get drunk/laid/shot up with dope/anything that would give you a better experience and would, for at least a short time that day, make you happy! Why are you putting yourself through this?!?
I don't know when I stopped viewing life as a gift. As something wonderful, where there was a new experience every day, where no matter how many times you failed, there was always hope you would figure out what you were doing wrong and get it right tomorrow. Life to me now is frustration and misery. I'm not supposed to be where I am. When I wake up in the morning, the first thoughts on my mind are, "Okay, what do I need to do to change this? What am I doing wrong? What is holding me back?" I wake up every morning knowing I'm not happy, and if I'm supposed to be happy someday, there's no way of knowing what day that is. Oh, but wheneven it is, it won't be happening today or tomorrow.
I miss my oldest friends. Even though I still talk with them, sometimes every day, and they tell me I'm actually doing great and I should be proud of my determination and what I have done. But it's not the same as me actually being with them. Where they can say, "Tell you what -- let's go get some cheesecake and you'll feel all better." Or "Let's go play laser tag." Or even just sit and commiserate with me, easing my anger, an anger they avoided because they were better at seeing the warning signs and knowing what to do than I was. I want to be with them. I don't want to be here anymore. I hate where I've put myself in life.
Yes, I blame myself for my situation. But then I think about it and say, No, this isn't my fault. I'm doing everything I'm supposed to to find a better life. I'm held back at my regular job by an old boy network that only had use for me to make it easier for their protected underlings. I'm held back as a writer because publishers love my stuff, they think I'm a great writer, but they don't feel my stuff has an audience so they won't back me.
And my fury starts anew. Raging at a world interested in control. Advertisers try to control who we make rich. Politicians try to control how we think. Religious leaders try to control what we believe. There are homeless people everywhere. Kids who go to school without lunches. Kids who need loving homes. I'm sick of a world where the people who want to help others don't have the resources, and those with the resources don't care to help unless they can leverage it into more power or position....
...and it's here I force myself to go, "Okay, Peter. Calm down. Step back from the ledge."
So I've stopped working on everything for a few minutes. I'm making some jambalya, which always makes me feel better.
Tomorrow is another day.
Another day to see if I can get right whatever I'm doing wrong.
And, hopefully, get to those better days before I realize it.