My Multitudes.

If you read my last blog, then you know that I had a spurt of confidence and rebellion. I was all like, “I don’t need them, I’m going to do this all on my own!” There were practically little army soldiers charging out my fingertips, trampling over the keys, hungry for victory. I appreciate their enthusiasm but they were a little manic. I think I lost two whole days to figuring out how to send my book to Advanced Readers. The books not even done; and I don’t have advanced readers to send it to.

Since then, I have dampened their spirits with a new schedule to my mornings. I’ve decided to allow myself 3-4 hours a week of planning my take over of the publishing industry. Outside of those hours, I will return to writing. Or walking my dogs, or remembering to eat, etc. I will not obsess over the things I still don’t know about self-publishing.

I did receive a rejection from Nelson Literary! (Shout out to the agencies that don’t ghost queries!) I can’t decided if they definitely visited my website and saw my last blog post or they definitely did not have the time or interest to look that deep.

I’ve also submitted to a new agency. So yes, I’m self publishing and yes, I’m querying. I can have multitudes.

I am listening to “I Contain Multitudes” by Ed Yong. So far, it is mostly over my head. There is a plethora of biological terms that all sound the same to me. I’m having better luck imagining little microbes and their friends as cheeky personas in a sitcom. I don’t remember their names but I do remember their attitudes.

At only the halfway mark, this is what I understand: Bacteria are the OG inhabitants–the first first nation. As animals and plants began to appear on earth, Bacteria were the wise old ancestors bubbling about on porches, watching us invent the wheel as if we were Hot Shit. Bacteria lets us carry on thinking we are little islands made of stardust and harbingers of world peace. Then one day we realize we are covered in bacteria. They are on our skin, our tongues, and in our guts. There are as many bacteria in our bellies as there are stars in the milky way galaxy (fact.)

We are smothered, covered, and capped in our first colonizers as we pass through our mother’s vaginal canal (assuming you’re not a C-section baby.) Our mother’s super-food milk feeds us, but it also feeds the bacteria in our guts, which then turn around and help us digest food (assuming you’re not a formula baby). Thanks mom! If you skipped both of these steps, no worries, microbes found you in the end regardless. If you are alive, you have and will harness the energy of these bacteria colonies until you die (and the bacteria consumes you entirely.)

Did you know: our immune system works WITH microbes to defend our bodies. Our Immune System doesn’t just check IDs at the door, it is in cahoots with the microbes to make sure all the organs and their residents keep the nice trim lawns and noise ordinances of a well run HOA. Microbes are all like, ‘yo, Immuno–we’re gettin a little crowded in here, crank the heat?’ (Inflammation)

Oddly, somewhere in the last couple decades, we’ve gone from CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS to shaming the over-use of antibiotics (which destroy these microbiomes). Now we have a Hand Sanitizer Nation along side weirdos eating pro-biotics to give their gut bacteria little extra treats on the side of their routine meals. For those on seek-and-destroy-all-bacteria missions, the book was sure to point out that if we killed them all, humans might be fine for a year or two, but everything we eat would die, and therefore we would follow not long after.

And yet, we can’t let them take over either. The symbiotic life of microbes and their host is a slippery slope. Microbes that help digest food in your stomach or communicate with your immune system might be detrimental in your small intestine and cause cancer. The microbes in your gut might be detrimental transplanted in my gut.

Maybe, bodily health is a lot like a democracy. We haven’t perfected the voting process yet, and sometimes parties get angry that they don’t completely get their way. There are still mysteries as to why who does or doesn’t vote, that we may never fully understand. The trick is to maintain balance. We can’t nuke the country and start over. Some really smart and important [people] might be lost. (Looking at the beneficial microbes that might very well be extinct due to over use of antibiotics or excessive hygiene regimens.)

We also can’t assume when some microbes are acting up, that getting rid of them will end the symptoms. It’s just as likely that the behavior of the microbes are a SYMPTOM of some other malfunction. These microbes could be warning us, signalling to our body the alarm sound that our own cells have turned on us.

Sure, sometimes antibiotics save lives. This is undeniable, and antibiotics have never killed anyone (knock on wood?) However, antibiotics *usually* eliminate one problem, only to cause another in a neighboring area.

Okay, so with all that in mind–back to publishing. Here are my multitudes:

I am scared of doing anything on my own. Failure is painful.
I am amped to do everything on my own. What even is pain?
I believe everything is accomplished with a little bit of luck and elbow grease.
I do not believe I am lucky.

I don’t have enough elbow grease.
I know that I may work until I die, and still not achieve what I want.
I believe the work is the pleasure. When I die, I’ll feel I achieved it all.
I am unique.
I am not doing anything that hasn’t been done before
I will fail, just like everyone before me.
I will succeed, just like everyone before me.
I will self-publish.
I will accept an offer from the right agent.
I will keep writing.

Maybe harmony isn’t a silent room but just giving all the parts a turn at the microphone. Maybe I need all of these thoughts. Killing one of these thoughts is not the answer. I need to be aware of inevitable failure just as much as I need to be aware of inevitable success. All parts are tugging and pulling me in a very specific direction and behind all of these thoughts are small wants and desires that I may never understand. My only choice is to trust them, collectively. And continue writing. What about you?


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