Stephanie Burgis
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Living with obsession
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Okay, so I may be nearly 27, but my maturity about writing submissions doesn't seem to have increased much since I was a kid. About two weeks ago, I sent off a requested rewrite to America. At first, I felt mature and wise and karmic, and felt no anxiety or impatience. I was just glad to get it out of the house.

Then it got to be four days since the mailing, which meant that maybe--just possibly--the reader could have received it in New York. My karmic serenity disappeared. Fast. When last witnessed, it was racing at high speed out of my life, and has shown no signs of returning.

Since last Monday (the day I decided was the day it MUST have arrived in America), I've been doing everything I know I should be too cool to do. I've been checking my email every five minutes from the time Americans arrive at work (approximately 2 p.m., British time). I've been listening for the phone. I've been biting my nails and pacing and worrying about their reaction to the rewrites (and trying to influence it by really focused thinking about it--keep those good vibes going!). In a word, I've been Pathetic.

Gaargh. This morning on the bus into town, I announced to Patrick, "That's it. I'm over it! I've grown numb and resigned." "Good," he said. "Just be patient." And I was.

Until two o'clock.

I generally turn to my other favorite obsessions to help keep me going when I get too crazy from trying to control my fiction submissions, long-distance. (Hey, it's hard to influence editors/agents/etc. by mental telepathy! Especially from outside the country!) Sadly, my oldest and truest obsession, coffee, has deserted me--I've been forced, kicking and screaming, to cut down to one cup a day this year. Luckily, I've discovered Cheshire cheese, which I now nibble like a rat. Internetting, of course, is ALWAYS a viable option, especially as opposed to getting real work done. And we've been watching an awful lot of "Buffy" episodes.

But this morning I took Nika down a country lane into her favorite running fields, in the dazzling sunshine, and I felt a lot better than I had in days. We met a bouncy golden lab, and the two dogs raced each other off the leash, bouncing and diving and darting and grinning like mad. I watched, I laughed, and I felt great.

Then I went home and did a pointless, heart-thumping email check.

It's time to find a new obsession.

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