This joblessness is something. I have whole weeks where I scour writing websites, local help wanted ads, and journalismjobs.com. I panic and eat bags of salt and vinegar popchips because I’ve convinced myself that they’re healthier than the other brands. Then I try to settle myself down and remember that I’m a freelance writer after all. Like that means I have an actual job. Lord.
Then I spend hours chastising myself because I know real freelancers who actually make a living at it. I think they must be very organized and very together, while I’m calling myself a freelancer and I wear the same pajama pants for three days in a row and get sidetracked by Googling how to make pesto without nuts.
Oh, I get assignments sometimes, and since I live on Martha’s Vineyard they range from writing about artisan pretzels to tracking the number of homeless here. It’s really not a humdrum work life really. I just don’t like the sporadic nature of it all. And how it lends itself to embracing my innate laziness.
I bet if I really ‘put my mind to it’ I could get more assignments. I feel though that it may require changing out of my pajama pants and meeting actual people. New people. Or finally attempting that whole ‘build a website all about me’ stuff, which I am loathe to do and which is pretty much integral to me landing any kind of real writing gig.
Then there’s the fact that my husband is self-employed too. You’d think I’d pull myself together and go downstairs and learn how to sew so that I could help him upholster furniture. Gee, that’d be sort of difficult. Instead I make him nice lunches and dinners and carry them downstairs. I try to be encouraging.
“Wow, that looks great. Did you hand stitch the welt on? No? It sure looks like you did,” I say. “Well, I’ve gotta go. I’m waiting for that lady to call me back about that story…”
Then I go back upstairs and watch election coverage for two hours and the lady never calls. She calls me after my deadline and adds probably the best part of the whole story but it’s too late by then.
Sometimes I do make it down to my husband’s shop and I help him by stripping furniture. We have a whole routine just around the fact that I “strip” for him. I sort of like stripping furniture because you uncover all kinds of weird stuff. People before us have sometimes re-done this furniture with duct tape and wads of cardboard. This is not good. This means my husband has to rebuild the piece because he doesn’t want the person after him to think he’s done such a horrible job. Sometimes I find change in the depths of the folds of fabric. Once my husband found a credit card. I won’t go into the popcorn kernels and lint.
Anyway, I know how lucky I am that we have this life, even if it lends itself to angst. We’re not going to get rich but we can run out for milk at three in the afternoon knowing that no one is going to notice.
It’s a blessing and a curse. Like having red hair or a stage mother who pushes you.There are other jobs out there but when you’re heading toward 55, all you’re thinking is…drive 55 stay alive.