February 6, 2018
New York, NY
The moment I opened my eyes I calculated, as per usual, how many hours it would be until I could go to sleep again. My boyfriend had already done a half an hour of yoga, fed the dogs, and taken them out. They were lying on the faux fur blanket (color: fog) I got on sale at Restoration Hardware even though I knew it was tacky, because I knew they would love it. They are both pit bulls and were lying, as my friend Tal likes to say, ass to ass.
My back hurt (degenerative disc and arthritis), but I didn’t do the simple stretches recommended by my physical therapist, Susan, even though I knew they would help. I told myself I would do them when I got home, which was probably a lie.
My boyfriend took his usual care getting dressed. He works in a more fashionable industry than I do and always looks good. I do not always look good. Every morning I open my closet, and when I realize I can’t go to work in the coveralls I bought over Christmas from an online unisex clothing store, I feel a very small, but very real, stab of physical pain. I wore pants that are much more expensive than they look, which I got on sale. They are pretty much the only style of pants I wear, so I try to buy lots of pairs at a time. They make me look more in shape than I am, and I’m not sure what else we can ask of pants.
I walked down Ninth Avenue, a pleasant 25 minutes during which I did not look at my phone and which made my back feel better. I passed the NYC public gym that I joined the day before so I could swim for cheap, since I know it will help my back. I was a member of the gym years ago and was disgusted by the number of Band-Aids floating in the pool; I am hoping conditions have improved. I thought about how good a toasted bagel with cream cheese would taste, and then I remembered Susan saying that is a snack completely devoid of nutritional value and kept walking.
At work, I lowered my new standing desk into the sitting position and answered emails. I read some headlines on the New York Times website. I added a few more documents to the mortgage application process I halfway finished yesterday. I still have not resolved the username/password issue on a few accounts, and that was so frustrating that I gave up. I wrote some rejections for proposals I read the previous night and made sure my manuscript was up to date. There is nothing more irritating than rejecting something that was never logged in; it’s like the work didn’t actually count.
I transcribed some edits of a manuscript I’m working on, since I edit on paper, which I know is so annoying and time consuming, but I can’t do it any other way. This takes a long time, and I was annoyed by myself all over again.
I confirmed lunch with an agent who is also a friend. I raised my desk to the standing position and tried to be happy about this, and tried not to stand with one hip cocked, as per Susan. I wrote rejections until lunch.
We had lunch at a very serene Japanese restaurant that makes fresh tofu, which is all I ever want. We talked mostly about personal things, and not work, since talking about publishing is usually pretty boring. Nobody reads enough books, nobody buys enough books, people are still spending too much money on projects that probably won’t sell that well—it’s pretty much the same conversation I’ve been having for the 27 years I’ve been working in publishing.
After lunch I guiltily lowered my desk and read a few proposals, using my noise-cancelling headphones to listen to WQXR, but they were playing movie soundtracks and the swelling orchestral scores were too distracting. I refilled my water bottle.
I talked to an author whose book I’m interested in. I forgot to book a conference room for this call, so I spoke quietly, knowing my neighbors could hear every word I said—sort of inhibiting, but there was nothing to be done. The conversation went well, and I got excited about the possibility of working on this project.
I raised my desk and went online to start thinking about comparative titles for the book I now wanted to buy. I asked my neighbor for ideas, which I can do without moving since the walls of my office don’t meet the ceiling, and she was very helpful. I looked up sales figures on the comp books, and it was depressing but absolutely not surprising.
I took the best numbers I could find that weren’t ridiculous and worked on a profit and loss statement. I went to see my boss and reported on the phone call, showed him the P&L, and talked about how much we should offer when the book goes to auction next week. We were happily in agreement.
I went through my log and printed out a handful of proposals that I would read at night.
I took the subway home a little after six. I immediately changed into coveralls and took the dogs out for a quick walk. Gus saw a large shaggy dog, his least favorite kind of dog, and barked a lot. Evie did nothing remarkable.
Back home I texted my boyfriend the same text I send him, or he sends me, every day. Food? When are you leaving work? I fed the dogs and ordered Chinese food. My boyfriend came home around 7:30 and we ate, watching part of The Long Kiss Goodnight, a movie in which Geena Davis plays an ex–CIA spy with amnesia, which we happened across, an event that feels like a little present.
After dinner I had a splash of bourbon on the rocks and lay in bed reading manuscripts. Then I watched the latest episode of High Maintenance. I edited another chapter of the memoir I am working on and put those pages in my bag to take to work tomorrow. I took the dogs for a longer walk. I read 30 pages of The Group, for my book club, and fell asleep.