I am so incredibly grateful that you finally pulled everything out of me last night: three jars of capers, two ancient half-full containers of tahini, four thin jars of jam from last year’s baking project—topped with white fuzz and needing to be tossed, the wet moldy bag of what might have been parsley a month ago wedged under the nice new carrots, the homemade sauerkraut you bought BEFORE the pandemic, the expired box of half-used chicken broth, salami leftover from Karyn’s backpacking trip last summer, THREE packages of smoked salmon you never even opened, the glass container of over-the-rainbow pinto beans (phew! they stunk!), cashews that had grown too soft even through I’d faithfully kept them chilled for months.
I can’t tell you how good it felt to have that hot soapy water clean my surfaces and crevices, to wash my drawers and glass shelves. It was good to see you again after months of you shoving things into me, always without looking, pushing everything else further back into my deepest recesses.
I know you’ve been busy. You’ve been in that recording studio in your office recording podcasts, I’ve heard rumors that you’ve been putting on makeup—makeup? I’ve never seen you in that before—for your Zoom events. I know this book you just birthed—The Burning Light of Two Stars—is important, but really Laura—your obsessiveness—even for you—has been over the top. I’ve been watching you get up at three or four in the morning, staring at the screen on your phone, pulling out your laptop, grabbing your endless to-do list. It’s been painful to witness.
And now that this big push is almost over, the fatigue just wafts off you. You, my darling, are due for a crash. You sense it, too. You’re like an old horse, barely making it over the finish line.
Admit it—you’re sick of seeing your own face all the time, that same little author picture you’ve been using for years—the one with the turquoise shirt. You’re sick of hearing your own voice, repeating the same soundbites and stories over and over again. And now you’re indulging in new habit—checking to see if Amazon has allowed someone new to review your book or if they’ve blocked yet another reviewer. Yes, it’s unfair. Outrageous even. But that is one dangerous addiction.
Your mood has been going up and down like a yo-yo depending on whether the hour’s news is good or bad. I know we can do better than that. And I’m here to help you.
I know you want to relax, but you’re so jacked up, you can’t. You need to remember who you are when the cameras aren’t rolling, when the tape recorders aren’t whirring, when you’re not teaching or doing a live event or planning for the next one. When you’re not recording morning drive radio in Alabama at 6:30 AM before you teach your morning class.
That’s why I called you. I knew I had precisely what you needed. What you needed last night and what you need this whole weekend is a big old dose of normal. You cleaned me out last night and you’re going to spend the weekend going through your house, sorting through things and throwing them away.
Remember in the olden days, when you’d come back from a book tour, one of those fancy, a-different-city-a-day book tours, and you’d walk in the house and Karyn would tell you to wash the dishes or she’d simply put a crying child in your arms. And you’d instantly remember that all that special treatment you got on the road– the accolades, the praise, the deference, the attacks, the criticism, all of it—while you were out there being “LAURA DAVIS”—it all fell away the moment you put your hands in a sink full of hot soapy water. When you read six stories in a row to a snuggly, cuddly three-year-old.
So, congratulations Laura. Last night, when you had your hands deep inside me, you took the first essential step in letting go of the hype and returning home.
Welcome back. I missed you!
The Burning Light of Two Stars is available in paperback, eBook, and audiobook wherever books are sold. There are links here to buy signed copies, bulk copies, and to support independent bookstores with your purchase. You can also read the first five chapters for free.
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