Tuesday, October 16, 2007


So, I've come back from Germany, where I had a great time. I was attending the giant book fair they have there every year, and it is by far my favorite part of my job. I love it. Which is actually kind of funny, because it involves talking to people all day long, and I am not usually a social person.

I love it, though, because it (and its counterpart, the London Book Fair), is the one time where my job consists of a finite task. There is only one thing to do (happily, something I'm actually good at), there is no way to avoid doing it, there is nothing else you should be doing instead or at the same time, and when you're done doing it....you're done. This is not how I would normally describe my job, which usually seems to be an infinite number of tasks which are never quite complete.

This fair was bittersweet, because it was the last fair for me. I've been going to the Frankfurt Book Fair since 1999, and I will miss it. But the move to Seattle means giving up my job, and while that's a good thing on many fronts, I will miss this part very much. Saying goodbye to the foreign publishers I've worked with over the years really drove home to me how much my life is about to change. It was the first time I was saying, "Goodbye; this is the last time I will see you" to anyone. And I was surprised and touched by how many people seemed sincere when they said they would miss me.

Home again, I am feeling sad. I've noticed lately, too, that I have a much shorter fuse than usual. The smallest things make me very, very upset. I have no store of patience or tolerance or calm. I'm instantly angry or distressed. Living in New York, it's not good to have no emotional buffer, because little irritations are a fact of life. I don't normally have the patience of a saint, but I think usually I am pretty good about letting things go. When problems arise, I curse at them, and then hunker down to fix them. Now, I panic, sure that everything is ruined. And yes, I do eventually get around to fixing the problems, but I don't like that panic, that anxious, helpless me.

I guess with this huge change coming, it's not surprising that I feel anxious, but I am a little surprised at how that anxiety manifests itself in every area of my life. I feel like I've turned into someone I don't recognize. I worry that this scared person is who I really am, and the person I thought I was was a mask I could wear because life was easy. Because life never changed, and therefore never challenged.

Four months to go until the wedding, and wedding planning is going to kick into high gear. I need my most calm organized self, and she's gone AWOL. Well, whatever happens, I already have the venue, the food, the officiant and the dress, so even if I fall totally apart, a reasonably nice wedding will take place. I just have to keep reminding myself of that :-).

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