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4:15 p.m. - January 12, 2004
Knock knock?
Open mail and there is a letter from an events scheduler at a bookstore in San Francisco inviting me to read. In my would-be life, I would be pleased and thrilled, feel good and self-congratulatory, call friends to let them know to reserve the date if possible and be my cheering section. My would-be life is emphemeral and as quickly as it forms it dissipates and that golden beam replaced by cool shadow, and I sit here wondering about my response.

I should be proud of myself, take pleasure in accomplishments, say, Good job, Jason. The fruits of labor are sweet indeed but the thoughts running around are automatic doom-and-gloom, poor quality poems delivered without polish, bad feelings overall. You know, I'm tired of being like this, of feeling guilty when someone compliments me, dismissing out of hand anything contrary to self-perception. And knowing is half the battle so it's said, so what's the remaining half? Enough of being blase, non-committal: I'm feeling both guilty and pleased, happy and proud, wholly content. Eh. It was an effort.

To read or not to read: It isn't the question. I'm going to reply affirmatively, say Yes! I'll do it! and persuade myself that I can do a fine job again and that it is okay if my voice wavers at the more emotional pieces and nobody thinks ill of me when I do.

My stomach lurched.


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