My husband is reading his work email. They’re going to change their document control system soon. Among other things, the “rejected” button will be changed into a “return to author” flag, “which will give our control system a more snugly congenial feel.” Meanwhile I’m editing some of my own stories and feel seriously tempted to stamp “rejected” on them. But perhaps I should return them to their characters instead. Meanwhile the sun blazes down, thunder rolls in the distance (and sometimes too close) while offering no rain, and my supply of headache pills is running low. Perhaps the voices in my head need headache pills too in this crazy summer weather.
Our youngest son returns to town from parts distant this weekend, moving into an apartment all on his own, which makes me feel seriously old and headachey. I was planning to drive and pick him up, but my husband wasn’t sure I or the car would succeed without being returned to the manufacturer, we being both four years older than the last time we made the trip. I pondered flying to help youngest son, but Southwest no longer has direct flights between our two towns. Perhaps they returned the routes to another airline, but everyone else charges arms and legs for baggage. Then we discovered UPS. Many strange parcels are now heading my way, and hopefully none of them will be returned to sender, since the sender will soon be on a plane.
But now I’ll return to that editing. And yes, “return to author” does feel more congenial than “rejected” after all. I’ll gather the characters around a virtual table with me, authors all in my head, and ask them, congenially, what those curious stories were meant to mean.
Maybe it will rain.
Maybe I’ll get that Elvis Presley song, “Return to sender,” out of my head eventually too.
Sheila Deeth is the author of Divide by Zero, coming soon from Second Wind Publishing. And those obstreperous characters are helping (or hindering) in the writing of Subtraction, coming later.