Getting “The Call”

I mentioned last week that I’d just received some Rather Good News. Here’s how it happened:

The sun didn’t rise – just clouds and rain, rain, rain on yesterday’s washing. The forecast was for more rain tomorrow, and the day after that. A grey day.

Louisette was sick, and woke me before dawn. I thought I’d recovered from several days of illness, but I was sick twice before I reached her room. Woke CJ to take care of her while I was unable to move from the bathroom. A day of cramps and stench, and an unhappy child left to cry on the floor more than once while mummy was sick.

Nappy after stinking nappy needed to be taken directly to the outside bin, and the rain kept falling. Louisette had nappy rash that made her cry, and I gave up on one product and tried another. I SMSed family members one by one, seeing if anyone could come over and help – to hold Louisette’s bottle while I was sick; stroke her hair when she cried in pain. A day of moving my one pathetic hour of paid work to another day, and crossing my fingers hoping that day was better.

Her feet and hands were cold, and so were mine. Had to leave the bathroom window and door open despite the cold and the danger of our jealous cat expressing herself on the bathroom floor (again). I picked “Fahrenheit 451” from the bookshelf to read while putting Louisette to bed, having just finished the last of the Terry Pratchetts.  I thought, “If only I could write this well.” I wondered if I’d eat dinner, and knew I wasn’t healthy enough to run errands. SMSed CJ to pick up some groceries on his way home. A day of going back to bed the instant Louisette closed her eyes, and then waking up to her cries and another urgent series of trips to the loo.

I checked the mail in the pouring rain, because today might just be the day I get a letter from a publisher saying they want to publish one of my books.

It wasn’t the day.

My first attempt at a lunch I could stomach tasted of raw flour (the pack also split when I picked it up and I left slippery white footprints all over the kitchen floor), and by the time the second was ready Louisette was crying for an early feed. I changed her and calmed her and held her while I finished the cold remnants of my food. Her nappy leaked and I put that outfit in the “spray it first” pile. Then I changed her again, and she wet herself, her clothes, her wrap, and the change table right at that perfect, naked moment. A day of doing the washing despite the endless rain, and putting every bit of it in the dryer until the laundry walls were slick with moisture.

A tradesman arrived unannounced – our flat is being sold, and there is a seemingly endless series of jobs that are happening to our home whether we want them or not. He glanced at the flour on the kitchen floor and didn’t say a word. A day of pretending my PJs were regular clothes, and hoping the man whose name I couldn’t remember didn’t notice I wasn’t wearing a bra.

I sat on the floor and cuddled the baby. I put on more nappy cream, washed my hands extra carefully, and gave her medicine to ease the pain of teething. It’s been more than a week without a break, and she still has no teeth.  A day of seemingly endless, seemingly pointless pain.

The phone rang, and I thought it was my sister-in-law calling to say she wasn’t able to come over. It was somebody in Victoria – the number started with “03”. As always, I thought, “Is it a publisher?” Except this time it was.

A surprising day!

When she said she was from Text publishing, I knew at once – with the same eerie calm I feel when a motorbike under me slides out of control and I’m going to crash – that I’d done well. Sure enough, I was shortlisted.

An excellent day!

Out of 250 entries, I am in the top three. The winner gets a $10,000 advance and publication. Second and third places get. . . . a warm glowy feeling and a pat on the back. But a 1 in 3 chance is a whole lot better than the usual 1 in 10,000.

A hopeful day!

The details are here.

The winner is announced at the party tonight (Tuesday 17th) – and yes, I’ll be there. (I feel much better now, thank you :P)

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