I met a frightening man on Wednesday night. He was a white guy, perhaps 5'6" or 5'7", not particularly broad shouldered, wearing a dark blue security company uniform. He came in to the pizza place where I was waiting to pick up two pies, said he had a military discount. I looked at him for perhaps a split second – I was busy putting my receipt in my purse – as the manager observed that he also got a policeman's discount. Gesturing to his breast badge, the man said he was just a security guard, but that he planned to enter the state highway patrol training program in the summer. There was just something about him that sent chills down my spine, and made my stomach contract. As I said, he was not physically imposing, but he nonetheless silently exuded a bully air, giving me a gut feeling that if he hadn't already abused someone, it was only a matter of time until he did. To me, he seemed humorless and vicious in the completely casual atmosphere of the pizza kitchen. I've not had such a strong sense of revulsion in seventeen years, and it was weird, and upsetting.
I never heard from the literary agent in New York with regards to the Two Motherlands, Two Fatherlands manuscript, so a couple of weeks ago I approached a reputable Midwestern publisher directly, and an editor there asked for several sample chapters. I'm not getting my hopes up, considering that I have been trying to get this accepted for five years now with no success, but despite the regular disappointment of outright or silent rejection, it's hard not to dream. I wonder if all aspiring authors automatically cast the movie version of their book in their head before it is even in print? Ambitions tend to run far ahead of reality.
My brother Bob is staying with me for a couple of weeks, consolidating his worldly goods in my garage preparatory to packing them in PODS and having them shipped north to Virginia, to his new house. At first he thought about renting a trailer, but the size of the necessary trailer, and the sheer irritation of having to maneuver with it on the road persuaded him that PODS was the best option. My other brother has gotten an offer on his Atlanta house, and so will be moving soon too, but to where I don't think he has yet decided.
My job continues interesting, as I learn more about poets and playwrights, short story scribblers and erratic novelists (hard-working and yet difficult to pin down). I really love editing. Because the writer doesn't see the material again after he or she submits it, I can rephrase, reorganize, and rewrite with impunity–though, of course, I'm always happy when I don't have to! I devoutly hope that I will soon be permitted to telecommute two days a week, as gas prices rise and I get so used to the road between here and Columbia that I could almost drive the route blindfolded. And sometimes traffic is terrible – Wednesday morning, it took me an hour and 54 minutes door to door. On Tuesday, I bought two 23" monitors – I frequently forget that it's no longer necessary to designate that they are flat screen! – so I can work more efficiently from my laptop, on whose single small screen it has been difficult to juggle multiple open documents at once. I don't know that I'll have a chance to set them up before I begin to work tomorrow – they are in a large box in the middle of my living room.