Skip to main content

Right Me?

            So I’m at a bit of a crossroads. I could take a job for a nickel an hour and redeem my self-esteem in the process, or I could take up the terrifying life of a freelancer.

            No self-respecting 54-year-old wants to be on the dole.

            That being said, I’m too damn old to bring home $387 a week. I don’t care if I’m stirring oatmeal at the nursing home.

            I find my professional life has taken a turn since I moved from Syracuse to Martha’s Vineyard. Granted, it’s a newspaper life and we all know the printed word is about to be dug up by archeologists any time now.

            When you do something with your hands or your mind, even if it’s just typing, you tend to wonder all the time if you’re good enough. Isn’t there somebody just over the horizon that’s better, that’s faster than you in every way?

            Then there’s the whole thing about making a living for the past 25 years as a writer. There’s still this part of me that thinks to myself, "I’m a writer . . . that’s kind of like being a court jester or a food taster."  It’s not a real job.

            My title a few years ago was editor but I’ve always thought of myself as a writer. And really I think of myself as a storyteller. My idea of a dream job is sitting around a group of octogenarians and asking them about their first kiss. 

            Writing is an ethereal way to make a living. You feel like it’s not quite real even while you’re doing it. Then I’m amazed that people pay me money to do it. Even though they pay me very little money and I don’t know how I’ll pay rent with my dividend.

            Then there’s the whole thing about how great it feels when someone, anyone, compliments your work.  It’s different than a foreman on a bricklaying job in a few ways, but not many. We’re both constructing something that we hope someone will buy. The end product is ours alone. You can look at it and see its worth.

            When you put what you have produced right out there for everyone to see, it’s personal. If they don’t like it, they don’t like you. It’s sort of hard to get past that mindset. It must be like when a painter of a house or a masterpiece sits in anticipation before the homeowner or art gallery curator. There are many occupations but I’m not sure how many take such a toll on your soul.

            I’ve thought to myself a million times that I should take that nurse’s aide training course or that civil service test for that post office job, but I just can’t do it. I feel like those jobs just don’t suit me. Then I think I must be some kind of highfalutin bitch who can’t bring herself to wipe the ass of a stranger. But I know full well that if it was my mom’s ass or my brother’s ass, I’d wipe it in a heartbeat.

            I’m “unemployed” right now and the word alone lends itself to degradation.  Visions of heavy-set women buying cheese curls with food stamps come to mind when I know that they buy them because they — A. Don’t have a car, and B. Are shopping at the corner store for children they just want to make happy.

Mine is the world of an underemployed writer. I see the speck of a crumb on your top lip and I think about how it got there and I feel compelled to write about it. Welcome to my world.


Popular posts from this blog

Getting well takes baby steps

So I’ve had what you could call a case of the pneumonia. It was not pleasant. And to top it off it happened in San Antonio, Texas. Like I wasn’t sweating before the fever.
I was there to see my niece Michelle, who by the way kept asking me, “Are you going to write about this?” which is funny because she’s a writer too. I naturally said, “Oh no, of course not.” And here we are.
Thinking back, the best part of that trip teeters between meeting my two great-nephews, Oliver and Isaac, and having a couple of beers with their Yaya, my sister, who I haven’t had beers with in decades. Like I said, it’s a toss-up. There’s also the fact that I got to spend time with my niece’s husband Alex. He’s a hardcore military guy. He teaches other military guys how to be military policemen. I’m not going to gamble on writing anything about him. He’s from Wisconsin though, which I like. And he likes to cook, which I also like.
I thought to myself before I ever left my nice cocoon of Martha’s Vineyard to tra…

Just sitting around doing jack

I think my blog may have been hijacked. I haven’t written in forever because I’ve been writing …for my job, which may mean I’m no longer a “jobless goddess.” I may just be a regular goddess.
I love the word jack. I could use that all day. Whatever, hopefully those who want to read the blog will read. Back to jack. It’s a cool freaking word. I had a brother-in-law named Jack who pretty much personified the word “cool.” He’s gone too soon and missed by everybody.
There’s Billy Jack, get back Jack, Jack Sprat, Jack Nicholson, Jack Berry, Jack in the Box, Jumping Jack Flash. And my favorite, a little ditty my sister introduced me to, “Jack Mother.” This is a something you say when someone cuts you off on the highway. “I’m sorry officer, I was cut off by that Jack Mother in the blue Subaru.”
My brother Steve has a friend named Jack. I thought he was about the greatest thing ever when I was 12. Who are we kidding? I probably still do. Jackie was hilariously funny and I loved to watch my brot…

Little women

I’m getting a real kick out of my co-workers these days. I’m working with about a half dozen young women — young being the operative word.
They’re all so freaking competent it kills me. They can write like it’s nobody’s business, they all take great photos to go with their stories, and they almost always laugh at my jokes. I call them ‘the girls.’
They’re either about to go to university, just leaving university, or all done with it and on their way. They do yoga and eat a lot of avocados. We live on Martha’s Vineyard and none of them know who John Belushi is but they all know they should keep using the same plastic cup for take out iced coffee over and over and over again. If they see a bug, they think twice before killing it. Actually they leave it for me to kill because they couldn’t possibly… and they know I won’t hesitate.
We get along just fine the girls and me. Oh, there’s a little trouble when I insist on running the window air conditioner up in our second floor office —ramsha…