"Notes to Self" was rejected, out and out (meaning no comforting handwritten editor's note), by the Georgia Review. GR never gives me any love. Never.
I was waitlisted for a spot at Soapstone, a women's writers' retreat here. They glibly noted that I had very high scores but that there were only 25 spots. "And we had 163 applicants!"
My response has thus far been schizophrenic. I go from thinking Son of a bitch. If I cannot score in the top 25 out of 163, then I am certainly no writer, to I so was in the Top 25! Pshaw! Those morons!
The latter is what Friend Two calls the Meglomaniacal Genius State. The former, though, I think is known as Normal.
So, I've sucked it up and decided to apply to everything this year, everything being Axton, Wisconsin, Exeter, and a few others, including the Gift of Freedom Award (which is insane--$50,000 over two years, no real strings except to write). I'm not applying to the Stegner, since I don't think that, even if I got it, I could manage to eke out a living in Palo Alto as the parent of three children, unless I sell them into indentured servitude, which I may do anyway, but I hear it's much more difficult to pass off in Palo Alto.
Mostly, I've been thinking about how I didn't want to move them away from John, and I still am trying to take that into consideration. However, he's working as a customer service rep for a cell phone company, while my profession of choice has some demands that his doesn't. My last few months in my own kind of indentured servitude has made it abundantly clear that I should be doing something with my brain, teaching being a viable option. I should be writing more, and I miss it terribly. I'm not sure I can be a good writer and do the things I need to do and keep giving and giving and being the one who back bends for John. This was what our marriage was like, in some ways. We decided that I'd put him through school first, then he would put me through school. And I did my part. I worked an insurance job I didn't really like because it was secure and stable and had great benefits. But once I went back to school, he only worked a year at a glass factory, a job that paid a pittance, then quit, went back to school again himself to get a second undergrad degree. I was the one that started working part time on campus. I was the one who got into graduate school, and who he threatened to leave because of it.
Regardless, part of me is still heartsick over it, over moving away, even for a year or two. I had all these grand plans, in my typical fashion. I had hoped to be a Fulbright scholar, had even gone as far as talking to the country rep for the region I wanted to travel to. I didn't apply this year, because of the kids, because of John, but it will be there next year.
When he could, John was supportive, wanted so badly to be a more generous man, to be happy for me. At times he was, truly was. The day I got into school here, we celebrated, and all of those threats he had leveled in the months before seemed far away. But wanting to be a good person and being one are two different things. The cold, hard fact is that I stay here, I stay limited. I stay in the same job I've had my entire life, a job where I am gifted and bright and begging for a recognition that no one there would be capable of giving.
I haven't told him yet, the kids yet, no one really, but I think I would move them across the country for a year or two, if I got something. Maybe longer. I don't think I can stay here unless I start doing something that actually uses my brain and my talents. I want to believe it's fair of me--to everyone--to make that choice.