Countdown To Panic

117 panicMost people are familiar with the warning “be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.” To me, it seems mostly applicable to situations where you find yourself with the opportunity to have a wish or three granted, but had to use careful wordage and phrasing due to the tendency of bottle-dwelling genies to be quite literal. Or maybe spending eternity crammed inside a bottle has just turned them into assholes.

So if, for instance, you wished to work with one of the world’s best authors, you might find yourself transported back in time to the 19th century where you’re employed as Charles Dickens’ scullery maid.

But since I don’t expect to come upon a magical Jug O’ Genie anytime soon — although I do spend a certain amount of brain power reviewing my wish list and the ways it might be misinterpreted by literal-minded genie or a sadistic one who gets his jollies jacking up once in a lifetime opportunities –- I never really gave the saying much thought or what it might mean to those of us who live in genie-free regions.

So why all this talk of genies and wishes? If you’ve poked around my blog a bit, you may have noticed periods where I fall off the grid and return months later complaining about writer’s block and my poor writing habits. Basically I gripe about the peaks and valleys that my writing inconsistency produces, wish I was more disciplined, motivated and/or inspired and then do precisely jack-shit about it.

So, as often happens in these situations, the universe has stepped in to help me where I’m too lazy to help myself. I’ve been peddling my questionable artistic talent in the area of animation on for about a year now. Not too far back I decided that if people were willing to pay me for my childish doodling, I might also be able to bring in a few dollars writing things for people who lack the desire and/or ability to do it themselves.

So when I saw a person looking for someone to write a series of educational children’s stories, I thought that might be something I could do. After all, I’ve written and self-published one whole children’s book in my life. And in my world, that qualifies me to be as accomplished a children’s book author as I am an animator. I’m not one to let things like lack of experience or success stand in my way.

The woman who was looking for a writer contacted me some days later and asked if I could write something based on a topic she provided so she could access my fit for the job. Apparently she liked what she read and told my that if I was interested, she’d like to work with me. It would be an ongoing gig she said, because she had a number of areas she wanted to cover.

I thought it was a great idea because I’d be forced to write more often and I’d pick up a few bucks in the process. After hammering out the price and deadline details, she casually mentioned the number of stories she’s got planned for her project. By the time we were done, she said, she’d have around a thousand stories in the project library. One THOUSAND!

I’ve been blogging for years and this will be my 117th post … I’ve never written a thousand anything. I’m trying not to panic, but knowing my history of ups and downs, I am slightly freaking out about my ability to write hundreds of stories.

And did I mention I’d also be doing the illustrations and some animation for her? Because apparently I don’t think a thousand stories will keep me busy enough, so I voluntarily heaped a bunch of more time-consuming work on my plate. Why not?!? If I get through it all, it will be a hell of an accomplishment for me. And if I fail, it’ll be a fairly significant and spectacular failure. So there’s that to look forward to …

On the plus side, and what’s keeping me from a premature breakdown, is that she’s a wonderfully nice woman whose got her own life to run, so the only pressure I currently feel is what I’m putting on myself. She doesn’t want me to burn out, so she’s set a fairly relaxed pace at this point.

Another bonus is that her project is different and interesting and as long as I can keep from letting her down, I think it could really be a success. And, of course, that opinion is based on my extensive time and experience in the children’s book area, so I totally know what I’m talking about.

The one thing I am slightly concerned about is that she’s very strong in her Christian faith and I think that in her corner of the world, homosexuality might be illegal. So not that I’ve asked or that she’s indicated, but I don’t know how she’d react to learning about my chronic atheism and rampant lesbianism.

She really seems to like my writing and has said more than once that she’s so glad to have finally found someone to write the kind of stories she wants. I think it would be awfully sad on both ends if she has any beliefs or concerns that would make her uncomfortable working with me.
Again, all speculation based on few facts and many assumptions. But when I decide to worry about something, I think it’s important to weave in as many unfounded fears as possible.

I’m going to do my damnedest not to let my blog fall back into hibernation, but my posting schedule might get a bit splotchy. And on the bright side, I’m hopeful that the anxiety attacks and self-doubt I’m anticipating will provide some good blog fodder.

So, in the upcoming weeks and months, if you see someone off in a corner, curled into the fetal position, trembling and mumbling to herself, that will be me. Feel free to stop in, say “hi” and bring me some Xanax.

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