Saturday, June 27, 2009

Subterranean Protozoa, Reincarnation & Hope

Ever since landing a repeat role as the drummer in our subdivision's Madonna cover band the summer after fourth grade, I've had a hangup around the idea of being famous. Because life is meaningless if your face isn't plastered in gloss on someone else's bedroom wall. Right?

As a more mature adult, it's been my belief in reincarnation that's helped me reconcile the fact that my name is conspicuously absent from Oprah's bestseller list. I have multiple lifetimes to achieve greatness! My soul has been pretty busy building pyramids, schlepping water in pails out of rivers and rubbing elbows with the Queen. Maybe more than that- I'm not sure- the latest Facebook quiz assures me I'm 88% gay, not big news to my husband THIS lifetime. So after receiving several lovely rejection letters from my first-ever national magazines queries (my fave came from Men's Vogue, which I didn't know existed 10 minutes before I sent them a typed up shard of my latest adventure query-style. Turns out they don't. "Sounds like a good idea, but Men's Vogue is no longer," wrote the editor), I've decided THAT article is just another chapter for the memoir. Which thus far exists 50% as a huge unwieldy mess on my hard drive, 10% in the journal that VANISHED from the face of the earth last month, 7% in my witty, comprehensive, beautifully crafted status updates that disappear into the ether of nowhere land and 33% in my repressed subconscious.

Regardless, I seek out my place on the food chain of literary fame and find myself subterranean protozoa, again and again. And then there's always this perspective offered by my good friend and the oft-published author, Eliezer Sobel last November at the Jewish Book Fair. "How's your book coming?" he asked.

"Miserably," I said. "I'll never get published."

"Well, hurry up and get published so you can be miserable AND published like the rest of us," he said.

So last week, plodding through the unsung joys of domestication peppered with a few rare and erotic moments of inspiration, I organized a panel for a local nonprofit on playwriting and screenwriting. You might say I joined the nonprofit so I could borrow someone else's budget to organize such panels, carting in my handful of wildly successful friends from around the country to the capitol of the South just so I can hear them talk.

Of course prior to the panel, I was most concerned with what to wear. After amassing a pile of unsightlys on the sagging mattress, I headed to the local Exxon to vacuum out the inch of dirt, twigs and volcanic sediment encrusting the bottom of my car before driving to the airport to pick up my good friend Bryan, creator of The Philocetes Project. Handing me change for a dollar, the curly-haired Hispanic woman behind the counter said, "Hey, I see you the last Thursday of every month!" I quickly scanned my memory for all of the various cults I attend regularly but came up blank. "You know, The Writing Show!" she said, introducing herself by way of her name plate, "HOPE." "I started going last October."

"No kidding!" I said. "I hope you can come tonight- it's gonna be a good one."

"I'll try," she said. "But it's the end of the month and there are a lot of inspections to get through."

Right then and there I felt more famous than God. Someone recognized me at the GAS STATION!! My whole attitude and outlook on life changed. When I saw Hope later that night in the front row of the audience splendid in a lavender v-neck, I gave her a huge hug and introduced her to the panel.

So for today, fame may not be what I'm after, after all. As I write this, I'm reminded that for a while there in '98, aspects of my life on the farm in Arkansas paralleled Monica Lewinski's and I never envied her press package one bit.