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For the longest time I’ve dreamed of a particular flat…in London or Paris or Vienna…second floor, with tall French doors which open out on to a small balcony over a busy avenue. It isn’t very big…just one room, with a tiny bathroom. Gauzy white curtains pool on the floor, a big bed takes up most of the space, a tea kettle sits on a single burner. Funny the things that live in our heads…almost as real as the tangible world around us. Part of me is in that flat tonight…a single light, sitting atop a stack of books, casts a circle of light and throws shadows. The French doors are open. The sounds of laughter, shouts and horns drift up and keep me company. I’m wrapped in a sweater, drinking red wine from a thick water glass and playing with poetry. I always get suspicious of myself when I write poetry…

Meanwhile…

Very kind family and friends ask how my meeting with Amy went yesterday. Each time I talk about it allows me to better formulate my thoughts on the event, as well as process what I learned. I mentioned yesterday how encouraging and informative the meeting was; I wish an agent like Amy upon every new writer. If they have some talent and heart, they’ll come away feeling that their endeavors are beautiful and full of possibility.

But even Amy can’t change the Everest that is the reality of the business world of writing…getting an agent, getting published, marketing and succeeding. She can only point at it and describe the different paths that might lead up and over it, if they’re passable this time of year. None are easy, and none are certain. Standing at the base, it is daunting to look up and see it all in one breathtaking view, which is inevitably what happens when I have a meeting like the one yesterday. In the same moment that I’m heartened and should look down at my feet as they take the next step, I become transfixed by the mountain before me, and have to stop and look away for a time.

Tonight I’m dabbling with an application to a new endeavor…even now another screen sits open waiting for me to fill out the next page and click “Save and Proceed.” But I’m drawn away by the things that live in my head…

So that…

In the flat I turn on old love songs…Fleetwood Mac, Bonnie Tyler, Berlin, Journey…their familiar, unapologetic strains are soothing. I pour another glass of wine and step out onto the balcony, feet bare. I’m cold and filled with an ache that the poetry battles, but never beats back entirely. The streetlights are too orange wherever I am, which remind me I don’t really belong and, in turn, make me feel more alive. Graffitied words stare back at me from a nearby wall. “Always remember that the crowd that applauds your coronation is the same crowd that will applaud your beheading.”  I laugh and the ache subsides for a moment.

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