I’ll admit, it feels amazing to have one room in the house that doesn’t scream “fix me!” from every side. And there must be some sort of productivity molecules that are released into the atmosphere as a result because after last night’s Setting Things Right, today is one of those rare days that I’m finished with my clients’ work before it’s time to collect the boys from school. And when I miraculously manage to decimate my to-do list by 12:30, I smugly get myself a cup of tea and take my laptop out to the back yard where I can live out a scene that I routinely wish was the reality of my actual life: I’m going to be a novelist for a few hours.
Sam always used to tease me: The next great American novel is in there somewhere.
I was always too busy. I never got around to writing it...until after he was gone. When I finally settled down to do it, it was therapy, I guess - or escape. But despite that, I think it’s actually a pretty good novel. I would know, since I’ve read it two dozen times since finishing it. And I plan to publish it. But there’s just one thing standing between me and that goal: writing a pitch. You’d think that would be the easy part. I’ve already churned out about a hundred thousand words in writing the actual novel. But I’ve agonized over the five-hundred or so that are supposed to make up my pitch.
I open the incomplete file and poise my fingers over the keyboard, rereading what I’ve already wrote:
Great start. A measly four hundred ninety-eight words left. I absently tap on the keys.
Here’s my problem: the story is good - believe me, it’s really good - and I can label it (Romantic Thriller, of course), but I can’t sort out the complex parts. I can’t decide what is crucial to the story and what’s secondary. It’s about a girl - ok, making progress. And she meets this guy - or maybe the story isn’t really about the girl. After all, the guy makes a huge life change because of her so maybe it’s actually about him and just told from her perspective…
I snap my laptop shut and grab my still-hot coffee from the empty chair next to me. A pitch is such a waste of time. Pitches are stupid. If I wanted to write a short story, I would’ve written a short story. I sip my coffee through gritted teeth and decide that that’s enough of that for today and it would be more worthwhile to spend my free hour continuing Project House-Into-a-Home.
I’ve already decided that my bedroom will be the next on the to-tackle list. The dresser I brought with me is too big for the closet-of-a-room. Craigslist, here I come. Time for a switcheroo.
I flip my laptop back open and try to keep my eyes half-closed while I x-out of my word processor. Moving on. Moving on. I locate my local craigslist - which, because I’m now located smack in the middle of nowhere, my “local area” includes a rural swath that is the size of some east coast states. I list my beautiful dresser in the classifieds and reply to an ad for a smaller one that is not designer by any stretch, but it looks functional from the pictures and it’s within thirty miles of me - which is just around the corner by East Texas standards. Before closing the browser, I click back on the home page and let my eyes roam over the categories. Martina’s admonition to me last night echoes through my mind as I settle on the personals section. I smirk a little and click on Men Seeking Women. Let’s see what Podunkville has to offer.
I scroll through the listings –
Looking for my country girl...plus-size, big butt required!
Free massage...and more
Widowed, 75, need companionship
Love tats? Click!
Spirit-filled man looking for sexy / godly lady
-and shake my head after breezing through three pages.
Looking for a BBW to be my FWB and I’ll unleash your inner demon!
Craftsman with a Firm Hand
This last one gives me pause. No photo is included, which is great because there’s nothing I hate so much as being surprised by an unsolicited dick pic. I click and start reading.
You’re a woman who has a dozen pots all bubbling away at the same time. You have your successes and your failures. The world constantly requires something of you - perhaps that comes at the cost of your ability to remain soft and vulnerable. Maybe you are finding yourself uncommonly peevish, simultaneously discontent and yet unable to determine what you really want. If this sounds familiar, let me be blunt:
You need a good, hard spanking.
I blink. I know, I probably should click away in a huff of feminist indignation, but I don’t. I feel a resonating thud in my stomach and my pulse suddenly takes off at a gallop.
Instruction in the art of submission is the dedicated goal of my workshop, where girls who are trying to be good, but sometimes can’t help being naughty, are turned over my knee for thorough discipline. In my workshop, I will use all the tools at my disposal to sculpt you into the evolving work of art that you are: the feminine goddess, chained and released.
I’m not into role playing games - I won’t show up dressed in skin-tight black leather while you teeter in wearing a skimpy slave costume.
This is about you: real, vulnerable, accepting the painful side of pleasure, finally in touch with the raw femininity that blossoms under the firm hand of a dominant man.
Employment of proper grammar and healthy lifestyle required. Must be tattoo-free, non-smoker and test clean for drugs. A degree of anonymity will be maintained throughout our arrangement and references will be provided. If you are ready to begin, reply with three references.
I feel like I’ve just read a sex coach’s elevator pitch instead of a personals ad. And I can’t help but admire the thoughtfulness, the clear-sightedness...the lack of text-language acronyms. Of course, I also pity him for selling to the wrong market: the list of qualifications he’d delineated pretty much weeded out the majority of this small town where it seems like everyone smokes something, and I have yet to see a body under the age of 40 that is not tattooed. I double check his location– several small towns over, nearer to my Wal-Mart. God, is that really how I’m going to start gauging distances now?
There’s a part of me that sternly says: Go back to looking at dressers. You’ve got enough on your plate already, you don’t need this.
But there’s a quieter part that says: But I do. I need this so bad…