Tuesday, May 24, 2005

An aside (with love from my lungs)

More stories to come, but I thought I'd offer an update on what's happening away from the blogscreen. Having read hundreds of supportive, wonderful emails from all over the country -- including a sudden avalanche of messages from the fine students and profs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison -- I feel like Hilary Swank on Oscar night. I'm just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream....

OK, I didn't grow up in manufactured housing, but I do come from modest circumstances and have always lived about two paychecks away from a Frigidaire box wedged under an overpass. So all of this media attention (watch for a story in the Houston Chronicle this week) and the calls from literary agents and big publishing houses have me feeling flattered and flummoxed. It's new territory, but I think I have found my advocate in the world of big-time book writing. He's part barracuda, part guru. Just what I need in an agent.

Meanwhile, I'm battling the worst bronchial asthma attack ever. My body is throwing off the past and breathing in a new identity -- or so my homeopath/brother would say. When I started wheezing like Darth Vader the other morning, I headed for the clinic. "Are you still teaching?" the new lady doctor asked, staring at my chart.

"Not anymore," I said.

"What're you doing this summer?" she said, still not looking up.

"Just writing. Probably a book."

"Did you read that story in the paper about the professor who was fired for writing stuff?" she asked.

"That's me," I said.

Now she looked right at me. "No! Really! I read that story and laughed out loud. I called my daughter at [Ivy League University] and read it to her. She said it sounds just like her school."

There you go.

Since I was newly unemployed, nice lady doctor gave me handfuls of pharmaceutical samples to clear up my nasal passages and open my clogged lungs.

The meds, and the constant stream of positive messages from strangers who now feel like friends, have worked their magic.

I'm breathing a lot easier today.

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