Saturday, January 25, 2014


It can be an incredibly hard time even when there isn't any one big thing going terribly wrong. Sometimes a handful of smaller challenges, annoyances, and frustrations pile up enough to make it feel incredibly hard. You can even have moderately good things happening right along side the hard, and it will still feel like a difficult time. And sometimes you can't let yourself cry about it because the excess of phlegm in your nose and throat leftover from being sick a month ago makes you gag and puke when you cry, so it's really best to put the kibosh on the crying after only 1 or 2 tissues, max.

So I will try to remember:
  • Spring will come, if I survive the winter.
  • It's always darkest before the dawn.
  • That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Diana Ross may be singing about a breakup, but there's a lot of universally useful advice in her chorus: "I will survive, as long as I know how to love I know I'll stay alive. I've got all my life to live, and I've got all my love to give, I'll survive, I will survive."

Hey hey.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Why be realistic? Don't wake me from my dream.”

Last night I dreamt that I was in a class and we all took turns talking about something with which we were obsessed. I talked about my favorite band, They Might Be Giants, detailing how I own most of their collection*, wear many TMBG t-shirts, and have attended quite a few of their concerts. I woke up thinking this would be a great blog post to write right now while it's still fresh in my mind, if only I hadn't gotten up late for work. I remembered almost my exact words from the dream, but now that I think back on the enthusiasm I had for it in the morning, I'm not sure I really have the interesting angle that seemed so brilliant then. Would anyone really care that I have 25+ of their CDs, 4 records, 7 shirts**, a personalized ring tone, and have seen them at least 6 times on tour? Maybe, but only if I could package it in an interesting story.

After I delivered my TMBG fan-girl resume in my dream, my friend CGAT stood up and said, “You know what I'm really obsessed with? Cankles.” Someone in the dream unfortunately stopped him before he got any farther.

*I'd love to say I “celebrate their entire catalogue”, but it's quite extensive with many many non-studio album releases, and it would be a lot of work to track all that down, though I do what I can. See the extent of it here.

**For some time I have been considering writing a rant about the difficulty and ridiculously poor usability of buying a tshirt on the internet, but haven't been able to calm down long enough while thinking about it to write anything sensible.

(Title from “We Live in a Dump” off of the Dial-A-Song album)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Year's New Careers

My dear blog readers, I have not meant to abuse your readership by my long absence. Life things needed tending to, not the least of which have been holidays, snow, and illness. But then there has been some excitement, too—a long-in-coming story which I shall presently tell you.

Some time ago, I attended a training session for work. After two unexpectedly difficult days of challenging exercises and discussions, we were asked to state one thing we had gotten out of the experience. My honest response was that I had learned that nobody was going to define my role and my job for me and that I have to do it myself. This isn't the case at all jobs—sometimes you are put in a very narrow box and told exactly what to do. While I wasn't oblivious to the openness for possibility at my job, I confess I had been wishing, hoping, and waiting for someone to tell me what they wanted me to do so I could be a team player and do it. I wanted a box defined, and I wanted to be awesome at doing everything in that box. Since I could no longer pretend that a preconceived notion of my box was forthcoming from someone else, I would have to define it myself. I may have cried in the bathroom of the conference center that day.

That night after training, I talked with Matthew. Emotionally spent, but newly motivated and determined, we discussed my career future. Over sushi and sake, several possible plans emerged and none of them involved working full time on something other than writing. I'd always dreamed of a day when I might get paid to write and so could justify not making money using that graduate degree I bothered to get when I couldn't figure out how to make money using a creative writing/literature degree right out of college. But how could I ever get there from here? Time has become my most valuable commodity, and time is what my job asked most of me last year. Maybe I should take time back, ask to work part time, or just quit altogether (it'd been a long week—by the next week I was less keen to quit outright).

I socialized the idea to a few close friends. I took my required “career development planning” at work seriously and described my ideal job on the worksheet as one where I get to write and revise and think all day (I enjoy what I do at my work presently, but not everything you enjoy is your favorite). I got up the courage to ask my dear friend/boss if I could switch to part time after the new year so I could spend the rest of my time working on writing. After a bit the answer came back yes! Though the details have yet to be hashed out, it looks like a thing that might actually happen in the near future. I might actually get enough momentum to finish revising a novel, and I might not have to become a hermit to do it!

As if all that weren't enough, my friend Jessica called me one day soon after that ball had started rolling and said “I'm going to look at an office this week for my wedding planning business and for writing. Most of the spaces are too big for me by myself, and I remember that you had a dream of having a writing office someday. Do you want to check it out with me?” Shocked, delighted, amazed, and more than anything grateful that Jessica is a woman of action, I couldn't say no.

Cut to today. I am in a fantastic old building, writing at a desk in a room all my own made cozy by a vintage La-Z-Boy, a colorful rug, and a granny square blanket made by my grandmother. I have a mug of tea at hand, and there is no cat or mound of dishes here vying for my attention. It is a thing of beauty and an enormous blessing which will only grow when I can spend more than just Sunday afternoon enjoying my new space's comforts.