coaching the writing, or the great anticlimax

I was petrified of my first writing coach session. Terrified and shaking, convinced–for no good reason at all–that things would go horribly wrong and I would be, what, chased out of the library by a mob waving pitchforks and flaming laptops? That someone would slap me if I suggested that their poem could use a little work? That I would be followed home and pantsed if I noted that we were past our allotted 45-minute session time and could they come back next week or make an appointment at the Writing Center? My fears were not so crystallized; they were vague, amorphous, and scarier for all that. Something Bad could happen–would happen! And the only way I could prepare would be by girding my loins and dressing way up.

Dressing way up is something I very much recommend for your sense of well-being and worth. As I ran around doing errands and a little shopping before my session, I felt ridiculously cute and stylish and lovely all day, and got a lot of compliments on my stripey shirt and my comfy Fluevogs, to the point where around about the time I had to head over to the branch library to make sure I knew where it was and that I would be perfectly on time and not die lost in a ditch somewhere, I was actually feeling pretty good about the whole situation. I am very attractive and confident! I thought. Though not exactly in those words. It manifested in a bounce in my step, a twinkle in my eye, a wiggle in my walk, and the lack of a sensation that I was about to immediately and urgently double over and upchuck all over my nice shoes. That is more enjoyable a sensation than you can imagine.

The map seemed to suggest that the library was very close to the train
station, so I decided to just walk on such a lovely day. Which turned
into such a hot and miserable day. Which turned into a walk on a hot
and miserable day through a rough-and-tumble kind of neighborhood,
surrounded by overpasses and littered with broken glass. By the time I
made it to the library, my knees were aching and blisters were raising
up, and Google Maps, which I should have paid more attention to, told
me I had just walked a mile point four. Awesome. Also, I was an hour
early, and starving and there was not even a convenience store within
two blocks, and sweaty and disheveled and no one seemed to know what to
do with me. The signs on the walls all read “Writing Coaching: Tuesdays
from 4:00 to 6:00!” It was Wednesday, and I was supposed to be there from 6:00 to
8:00. Things, with the boding: not well.

I was tempted to leave, while they dithered. I was overheated,
uncomfortable, hungry, nervous all over again, tired, my feet hurt, and
hungry. If I did not eat, I would die. If I had to sit there for two
and a half more hours, I was convinced I would die. I don’t handle low
blood-sugar very well. I decided I was brave and wouldn’t run. Finally,
they set me up at a table, and so I couldn’t run even if I wanted to. I
sat up straight at the table and tried to look friendly and
approachable. For two hours, I sat up straight at the table, working on
my laptop but trying to glance up and look friendly and approachable
whenever possible. My friendliness was either unapproachable or no one
had any reasons for the approaching. Why would they? The session is on
Tuesdays at 4:00.

Eight o’clock came, I bid the library farewell, and I booked it out to the bus stop
to make my bus, because I wasn’t going to walk back to the train with
these feet. The bus didn’t come. The bus kept not coming. I missed my
train. I walked back to the train with these feet, missed the next
train, waited for the last train of the night. I got home at 11:30,
clomped home from the station to my house, clomped up the stairs,
crammed a granola bar into my maw and died.

When I woke up, I was done with the fuming and ranting and swearing
that I was going to quit because this was ridiculous and stupid and I
hated it and I hated everyone–I am ashamed to say I did a lot of
teary-eyed fuming. Starving, aching feet, exhausted, cold (because of
course I had not bothered with a jacket, not thinking I’d be out until
all hours), miserable, mad because I told them I had needed to be at a
library near a train station, because I had no car and buses are
unreliable. This will be fine! they told me. It wasn’t fine! I hated

Oh, I was mad. I slept it off, and noted for future reference what I
had learned: that I will not wear 2.5 inch heels when there is the
possibility of walking many miles; in fact, I will check and see
exactly how many miles are possible, not blithely and dopily assume the
scale of the map. I will eat before I go anywhere; I will carry a
granola bar with me at all times. I will ride my bike from the train. I
will not lose my shit. Happy sunshine rainbows writing counseling!
We’ll see how it goes next time.

3 Replies to “coaching the writing, or the great anticlimax”

  1. Is there anything worse than gearing up to gleefully face something you are dreading and having it suck in spite of your upturned chin? Dude, there is not.

  2. Jeez! Man, does that suck it hard.

    Good for you for not quitting. I would have totally lost my shit, had a hissy fit, embarrassed myself mightily and left in a fit of swear words to never return.

    Then I would have eaten something and realized I was a huge dork and called to apologize.

    Look at all the steps you saved by being so cool in the face of adversity!

  3. Damn, that sucks hardcore.

    But you did get some killer cardio out of it! And for the next time… my bf and I have started carrying around Clif Builder’s bars because they are excellent when you’re starving with no immediate promise of food. I guess they’re fairly high-calorie, but there’s a buttload of protein, some fiber, and some vitamins and minerals in there too. They’re 270 calories a pop, but they make the calories count. He’s taken them to job interviews, I’ve taken them when I have an uber-long day in lab and fencing, and they don’t taste like sawdust. They’re a good food safety net when a fruit won’t keep you full.

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