My dog died today. She's been under my feet for about 14 years - always acted like she was a puppy the minute I came in the door, even tho' she was old many years ago. I just had to go back and change that sentence to past tense.
Then I got an email from the acquisitions editor that was considering my ms. It wasn't good news.
I'd been expecting my dog to die. She was old. I was expecting the ms. to be rejected. It has some major flaws.
But it was still a bad day.
Except for two hours when I went to lunch with my friend Linda. God knew I'd need her today. She's a poet with the soul of a saint and we talked about being real in our work, about writing what we know instead of what we think someone else wants to read. We talked about the importance of authenticity. Interesting word, that.
We talked about my friend Doug, who's dying and the way he's being real about that. The way we need to live and work as though we're dying too. Because we are.
Then I realized I'd been able to lay my hand on my dog's heart one last time and cry a bit before having to go on with a day that was full of doing what needed to be done. And I'm thankful. For the 14 years that little bit of fur and bone was underfoot and for friends who can make you feel better just by sipping a cup of tea on the other side of a table, and for a day full of mundane things that are so beautiful in their rhythm you hardly notice. And for that word 'hardly,' for the fact that I did notice; for the hope that gives me, that maybe I will be a little more authentic because my dog died, my friend is on his way, and so am I.
And for an editor that said no in a way that made me believe I could still achieve the dreams I have about words strung together on a page.