“It’s really not healthy to eat so late,” she whispered. “You need to start thinking of your weight, Carlynn,” she added. I smiled wider as I pictured her ducking over her phone and holding a hand around her mouth so Shane wouldn’t bawl her out for getting on my case about things that were none of my mom’s business.
“Mom, I work out four days a week when I’m not hiking. I’ve out-pressed you at the gym every time we go together and I out-ran you on every 10-K race you’ve signed us up for. Add to that, on my last checkup my doctor said I was one of her top ten healthiest patients. I’m pretty sure my weight is fine.”
“I’m allowed to worry,” she rebutted.
“Mom, you’re a toothpick. My femurs are probably thicker than your thighs. My curves keep me huggable and I love them.”
“I love you, too,” she added, purposefully ignoring that I was talking about my body and she was talking about me as the person living in my body. My mom was never going to admit someone standing up and still having a belly roll could be healthy unless women’s magazines started revolutionary articles about more than just how to get rid of the rolls. Meanwhile, since realizing her opinion was hers and not mine, me and my elastic waistbands enjoyed being happy. Plus, sushi as an eight o’clock reward for finishing that series early? Yes please!
“I know you do. I love you, too. So tell me about Shane’s work trip this past week. How did it go?”
She spun off into the retelling of what he’d talked to her about during and after his trip. The interruptions he offered this time were ones that she let me hear and pretty soon she had her cell on speaker so I could talk to both of them. My dinner arrived while we were still chatting and the delivery guy was the usual one – the really cute one – who’d been bringing my orders for the past six months and giving me five-minute conversations whenever he dropped off. We winked at each other because I was on the phone and he waved as I swung the door closed.
I hung up the call and enjoyed my dinner in front of the movie I’d paused when the ring tone for my mom had started. Tomorrow was going to be my day off. I made the decision for it as I was snuggling into bed. My agent wasn’t expecting me to call before Wednesday, and my friends would all be at work, so it was a day to totally do whatever I wanted without having to worry about anything.
Morning sunlight through the studio windows made my Starlit Spider series pop off the canvases, each one fifty-six inches high and twenty inches wide. I still loved the shifting focus between the three of them. These were definitely going to stay my favorites for a long time. However, I was going to have to figure out a better name before taking these to the auction they’d been commissioned to be part of. I doubted people would pay well for a set that had ‘spider’ in the title. Maybe I could go with something like Shifting Focus for A View from the Web? Probably I should have a morning coffee before trying to think of a name.
With breakfast in my stomach and fresh coffee in hand, I came back to my studio to just sit in my chair and look out the windows at the city passing a few floors down. I made enough off my art now that I could afford my own place. It wasn’t fancy. The larger of the two bedrooms was my studio. I still kept the phone number for the diner where I used to serve tables full time, and they’d call now and then when they needed help covering shifts around employee vacations. With this week suddenly open, I had the option of calling to see if they had any shifts for me over the next couple of days. I didn’t need the hours, but having some extra cash leading into autumn and holiday shopping never hurt.
Instead of calling, though, I could use asking for hours as a great excuse to go and visit everyone after the lunch rush today. That thought made me smile so I decided to make it the plan. That plan also gave me the whole morning free, which meant a workout at the gym across the street before a shower and still lots of time for some sketching. I wanted to play around with free-handing watercolors again. Hitting the gym, then watercolors, then shower, then lunch at the diner, and then the whole rest of the day for sketching. I smiled into my coffee. That was a nearly perfect day!
My usual food deliverer, the cute one, came to the same gym and I was lucky enough to see him and chat for a couple minutes on my way in while he was heading out. I made the mistake of checking emails during my workout and almost fell off the treadmill. Not for anything bad, I was laughing. Some downtown company wanted lobby art and was ‘offering the opportunity for massive exposure’. They were only paying the cost of physical materials, which they had written as being expected to be under two hundred dollars.
I emailed them back with a copy of my saved script that politely thanked them and gave them my agent’s contact information should they wish to pursue a commission. Amber was a great agent who had a switch installed in her brain that clicked from being a wonderful, warm and caring person to a woman capable of living off spite and breathing venom, so her ability to layer a response with polite ‘fuck off’ messages was extraordinary. Probably I’d get a snotty reply from the people wanting free work done for their lobby that amounted to a tantrum over not being able to remove my copyright watermarks from every online image of my work. If that was the response which came in, it would die in my trash folder; I wouldn’t even bother sending it to Amber.
Seriously, though, how am I supposed to live off ‘exposure’ as a wage? Last time I looked into it, grocery stores don’t let people pay at the tills with ‘The Bank of Don’t You Know Who I Am?’ cheques.
Why are Authors crazy? I can't answer that, but I can provide bits of my own thoughts so that you can piece together why I may be.