all I can do is keep breathing

I’ve had Ingrid Michaelson’s “Keep Breathing” on repeat all morning — along with Coldplay’s “Warning Sign.” I don’t know why I’m feeling all mellow today . . . I guess it’s partially due to the fact that today really feels like fall is approaching. Considering it’s the second day of school locally, I guess that’s only fitting. The morning was cool today — almost cool enough to wear a jacket. I’m going to have to start digging out my long-sleeved work clothes!

The leaves on the parkway near my office are all starting to turn, which is a bit of a scary sight. I have no idea where the summer went. Now I’m getting scared, honestly, because of a series of self-imposed deadlines I made for myself are rapidly approaching.

More than a year out of college, I’ve been working two jobs since June 2007 — saving money where I can, running around like a crazy person, trying to get a game plan going. I told myself I would stay at my current newspaper job until at least June 2008 — a year is a good amount of time to get settled, figure out where I’m going, etc. I figured within that year, I would start looking for a job in something I would ultimately love — something creative. Because I like my job at the paper, but it’s not exactly . . . inspiring. It’s a job. I work with great people and it’s close to home, but I really, really, really want to . . . write.

So I’ve been writing. Within that year framework, I wrote two novels and am currently working on the third. In between everything else, I think I’m doing pretty well! But I have to find an agent . . . I have to get published. I can’t let my resolve on that wear thin because I’m too exhausted to keep pursuing it. I have to just keep plugging away.

But the year has now come and passed . . . and here I am, 23 years old, sitting at my desk in my dim office thinking and thinking. Many people I know — including my younger sister, friends and coworkers — are all heading to college or getting new jobs in the city or across the country. And I have to make a decision — where am I going? What am I doing?

But how do I decide that?

I keep thinking the answer will just — present itself. Appear in my morning cup of tea. Scribble itself across the notebook in my purse. Sing out to me during a routine phone call. Some catalyst — however tiny and seemingly insignificant — will call my attention to the fact that I need to make a change. Do something. Be something.

Because I know I’m here and I’m doing things — I know, of course, that I already am someone. Someone real. But I don’t think I’ll be able to reconcile any of these scattered thoughts until I figure out what I’m doing with my books. And I hope that means I’m moving forward with them.

I have eight queries floating around inboxes somewhere in New York City, D.C. and, I think, Wisconsin (?). I’ve heard back from the two agents so far. One website I was on mentioned “not hearing something” back from agents is, in fact, actually hearing something — no. But I have a hard time accepting that. I know we’re all very busy and important people, but I can’t really bring myself to say, hey, some people are just way too involved to actually do the right, professional thing — sending me a form letter.

I guess I’m naive. I don’t know. But I’m waiting, waiting, waiting . . . It’s been about two weeks, going on three. The waiting is the worst part — the dangerous part. It’s enough to make anyone crazy.

In the meantime, there’s plenty of work to do . . . But I have managed to have some fun lately! I went with my family to Rehoboth Beach on Sunday. I have a ton of photos, but I haven’t had a chance to upload any of them yet. Maybe tomorrow . . .