Arts or crafts

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I think there is one core part of my being that potentially makes me a truly shitty “writer.” I like to do too many things, most of which are not writing.

My fatal flaw is a wide streak of dilettante.

Dilettante has a shitty ring to it, of course, what with it’s negative connotations of shallowness and lack of ability. On a high self esteem day, I might argue that I can write the shit out of a sentence. Even on a weak day though I can claim knowledge of basic sentence structure and grammar.

Evidence? I just consciously re-wrote the sentence above to be TWO sentences. I know that kind of shit.

I consider writing an art. I aspire to be an artist.

My soul, however, values craft. I went to journalism school rather than a creative writing program for that one word. Craft. I may not have the soul of an artist.

I could blame my mother, Pat. Not in a Freudian way, although like all modern day people I can cite a whole lot of ways the woman from whom I emerged left her indelible marks. Turnabout is fair play, I left my mark when she had her fourth Cesarian.

My mother believed, truly believed, like a religion, like a creed, Pat believed in hobbies. She believed in crafts. My mother raised my sister and me to bake, to sew, to knit, to decoratively paint, to buy kits from stores like Michael’s and Joann’s Fabric, to try to make something. We were makers way before making was a thing, a phenomenon.

I made this website.

The first bathroom I ever saw with a sponged walls was not in a plush restaurant with warm terra cotta tones. It was our home bathroom the day Pat stripped the wall paper and tried something new.

Way, way, way back in the wayback machine of time, I didn’t know that people bought mittens at stores. I thought they had pointy tops and thumbs and came from four pointy knitting needles whose double-sides became stealth weapons of surprise when discovered between couch cushions. I thought that mittens were always made from variegated yarn. In hindsight, variegated yarn is the best defense (short of double-pointed needles) against children and a winter of multiple lost mittens.

Making things is so damn satisfying. After reading instructions and following a pattern or free-styling a new recipe, you have something. You have in your hand a tangible product of your toil.

The photo at the top is a knitted pig made in pieces from a hemp and cotton blend yarn and then stuffed and sewn together. I made it.

Satisfyingly, over a few episodes of binge watching the BBC’s Cumberbatch-tastic version of Sherlock, I had a cuddly toy.

(I kind of like Martin Freeman, as John Watson, a bit more than the admittedly heart- and other-throbbing Benedict Cumberbatch. Maybe it’s the frequent assumptions of his own gay attraction to the Cumberbatch. Or maybe it’s that his name is easier to pronounce.)

Writing is not as satisfying. I re-read stuff I have sweated, and I don’t see adorable stuffed pig. I see words that fail to say what I mean. I see editing and mistakes and just nothing.

I will re-read this post and thing “meh.”

I will pour blood from my fingertips in confession or joy, or maybe I will create some thought that hasn’t yet been created in the universe. It will sit never better than just OK in my heart.

In crafts, I can critique and think of small changes to make the next attempt better. In writing, in art, I am I own worst critic. I will allow a vague smile at the occasional turn of phrase.

At this point in my life, I have at least learned to take praise with a simple “thank you” rather than a full on assault suggesting that the utterer of said praise is an utter moron for liking what I produced. I’ve had times on stages or in front of crowds where I have thought to myself, fleetingly, “Yeah, I got this…”

Writing is lonely. I prefer to be physically alone in the house or at least in another room from people, including the one who agreed to marry me. I cannot watch TV and write. I cannot listen to the news, podcasts and some types of music. I cannot do it as easily as I can do so many other things, and I can’t do it with distractions and pop ups of computer notifications calling.

I distrust myself to ever do what I want in my heart to do well. With crafts, I can find forgiveness in small defects and see the larger whole.

In short, I need to get working on the teddy bear I’ve started with fuzzy baby blanket yarn. It’s variegated in various shades of brown. Let’s consider it an homage to Pat and the dozens of mittens made a long, long time ago.

Pat was a maker.

This post is intended to insult your intelligence

Here I am, quietly home alone.  OK, not so quiet, considering the Rolling Stones are playing.  And, I haven’t quite nailed Virginia Wolff’s:

A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.

For a few hours it is a room of my own.  And, with my lemon trees in constant bloom and fruit, fluttering with birds, it is a room with a view.IMG_3768

The last few weeks of my employment have brought me closer to the employment of others, or their aspirations thereof.  Yeah, less pretentiously, I’ve been interviewing eager hopefuls for a job.  Not all that eager in truth.  Here are some minimum requirements to keep the conversation not the potentially fruitful side:

  • Know the name of the company that is on the phone or inside of which you sit
  • Know the name of the department, as above
  • Have some kind of vague notion of what it is we do and, therefore, what might be asked of you
  • Don’t make me cry with boredom.

The last one is actually much simpler than you might think, even if I am a bitch.  I love stories.  I love imagining myself in other shoes.  I love picking up tidbits of humanity as I chug along.

I only pretend to hate people.  But I just might be the one who smiles at you and shares conspiratorial chatter in a long grocery line or unruly crowd.

In a job interview, I really, really, really want to like you.  I’m incentivized out the ass — there’re piles of work of both the shit and not shit variety that I’m meant to be covering, because we haven’t met you yet.  I already have a full-time job, so doing yours alongside my own is just the reason I want to hug you and squeeze you and bask in the salvation and glory that your hire will be.

I need you for my very sanity.

It’s a pretty minimal bargain this boredom thing.  A low bar, in fact.

But, I’m not going to write about my experiences.  The universe knows that the gods of Google have not always smiled warmly upon my face and shoulders, so I will leave the above as guidelines only.  As they say in movie land, any resemblance to real people and real anything really is coincidental.  My thoughts from my head.

However, I will mention an experience told to me.  In comparing notes with another person doing an entirely different job search, she mentioned a phrase that has stuck with me for weeks.

In response to the worn, tattered, clichéd intro question “why are you looking to leave your current position?” the person’s response was just the kind of philosophical conundrum that rolls inside my echoing skull for hours of navel-contemplation fun.  The reply about her current gig, and despite the quotes, I wasn’t there, so I’m either paraphrasing or making it up:

It’s OK, but some days it’s like it’s just an insult to my intelligence.

Let’s leave aside that this statement was uttered in a job interview.  While I tend to do well enough I suppose in a conference room full of interrogators (well enough to get jobs, it would seem), I’ve said enough monumentally stupid things in the workplace to not feel like casting the obvious stone.

Instead, what’s killing me, the riddle I can’t fucking solve or information I ain’t parsing — What the fuck really is an insult to one’s intelligence?

OK, OK, reader thus far, there is my prose.  I’ll give you that.  Although, it’s less of an insult to your intelligence and more a cry that you could have done so much better with your synapses and your time than to have read this far.

Earlier today, I put spoons and knives and toast plates and coffee mugs into the dishwasher.  It did not challenge me.  The thoughts inside my head were dull and plodding not glimmering and profound.  Was filling the dishwasher an “insult to my intelligence.”

At work some days I tick little boxes.  I collate.  I answer phones.  I do things for other people that I don’t feel like doing for myself.  I remember things like telling my boss that we should have cookies for a festive little reason.  I buy plane tickets.  I cancel plane tickets.  I spent ungodly amounts of time in Outlook calendar moving squares around in infinite patterns.

Some days I ab-so-fucking-lute-ly hate it.  I have to remind myself that the first world joy of office work is M&Ms and sodas, mini-cupcakes and the internet.  Dear, sweet, timewastingly infinite internet.

And, there are assholes.  Insulted I have been.  But my intelligence, she is still there even when the assholes try to shake my convictions.

So, if you got this far, do me a favor.  Give me an example of what might in the glare of fluorescent lighting and computer screens be an actual insult to your intelligence.

I cannot rest until I know.

It’s like a giant, evil bad thing tapping on my eyeballs

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Lately, I had a little free time and read some stuff by some other people of a comic nature. When I read comedy-like stuff in clump, much like when I go to open mike comedy nights, I start hating “funny” people.

I wish I could remember the bit. Chris Walsh had a goofy thing he acted out about similes and metaphors. I think there may have been a wolf involved, but a cartoon wolf, not a killer. Something hungry, maybe, like a wolf.

Anywho, it was like a Sesame Street episode explaining what a metaphor is versus a simile.

When I read “comedy” I start hating similes. I hate them like poison. No, in the spirit of what I hate, I hate them like sumo wrestlers and serial killer clowns eating too much Taco Bell and shitting in my vagina. Yeah, that’s about the kind of sentence I hate.

It’s like somewhere in a comedy writing course in a dark, windowless club with the shittiest beer on tap at the most usurious prices, a teacher is saying “You know what’s funny?” “Funny is unrelated, fantastical descriptions of things that don’t exist and slapping the word ‘like’ in front.” “That’s funny.”

I’m making these examples up, because I’m not like a douchebag filled with pus, but here’s what I mean:
It felt like a sumo wrestler was sitting on my forearm.
Hang overs feel a like tiny, mean leprechaun was taking a peen ball hammer to my temples.
The refrigerator growled like a mouse with a case of diarrhea.
My wife screamed at me like a Sherman tank filled with Fourth of July fireworks, careening through a marketplace in Kandahar.

Back when I learned the fancy talk of formal English and expository writing, similes were meant to tell you something. So, “eating like a bird” was because birds are small and eat seeds. You get some info inside your skull, if you can imagine a bird.

However, “My date ate like a prehistoric rabbit, related to a distant relative of a gerbil, in a desert being pummeled by hail,” imparts no similar information. It merely tells me “Hey, I can write words.”

A lot of comedians go for wacky descriptions to color up an otherwise boring, fucking story. I hate wacky.

In truth, I’ve obsessed about this literary device for the last couple of days. Of course, my obsession grew from my own reality. I’m as guilty as the next clown and equally boring.

The other day, I was expressing the anxiety that is wrought in me by a visit to an equatorial area with 85% humidity and very tiny, attractive family. In simpler terms, we are about to head back to Malaysia to visit M.’s mom, who has been sick.

It’s a good thing we are going, and I like hanging out and eating great food and having a lot of laughs.

However, even at 5 foot 3, I tower over M.’s mother. She is petit and small boned, and I could crush her in a bear hug or unthinkingly kill her with a sleeper hold just by the sheer bulk advantage. In Asia, as my acting out to my co-worker demonstrated, I am Godzilla or Gamera crushing Tokyo’s buildings with my awkward footfalls.

I am a sumo wrestler.

I am Lenny in Of Mice and Men.

I am a red-faced missionary in 1843 bringing my sweaty, sunburnt pastiness to foreign lands, although in my case sans the whole Christianity thing.

The less wacky truth is that, yes, I will wilt in the heat. But, a honking hunk of time, I’ll be lovingly caressed by A/C, or as the locals say “aircon.” I may even need a sweater for some mall walks.

I will be beet red for large chunks of time, and i will drink any and all beverage proffered to me, as I am from a people where snow blows and our thirst is unslakable.

Often his family will ask if I am OK, and they will offer hats, parasols, ice water, hot tea, lying down and showering. I feel helpless when this happens, but I do believe it is kindness not mockery.

I will probably not leave his mother bruised, broken or bloody when I bend down and give her a hug. And, she will likely squeeze me harder than I squeeze her.

Still and all, I am Gamera. And, it is also with some certainty, there is a family member who will allude to my size. But, she will be jovial and polite and not mention my ability to physically crush skyscrapers with the careless wagging of my backend.

Maybe it’s because another birthday is a-coming

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I thought I had a thought about something to write about here. The jump was a Facebook status I saw with a quote that boiled down to whether you could call yourself an artist.

I usually don’t. Sometimes I do. It’s usually when I am melodramatically claiming insights and wisdom and sensitivities I don’t actually possess. Recently, I did gesticulate and gesture broadly while declaring “Fuck them all, I’m an artist,” to a work friend (he is beleaguered as I am by those people who cannot discern wit and sarcasm from assholic behavior).

Generally, I’m more unsure. Although, as M. will shout at me, ridiculously so. If I don’t trust my words or my way with words, why the fuck should anyone else?

It’s a baby step that I now tell people that I’m a “writer” (yup, note the quotes and do the little airy double-fingered gesture) or admit to blogging or working on a book, now with M.’s sage advice an admitted collection of essays. Essays I can manage; a book creates a dry heave kind of thing in my brain. Hmm, not a great visual that – a retching head.

It’s important, I think, that you have to at some point say “fuck it, I’m in the club.” I’m tired of waiting for permission to decide what I am.

I never or rarely call myself a stand up comedian. I say (admit) I’ve done stand up comedy (and suppose I might again).

At night in dim clubs and bars, there was a mostly unspoken hierarchy, and there was a definitely bitched about gripe of who got to call themselves a comic. I think I took the atmosphere too much to heart, too personally, and I couldn’t bring myself to compare my meager offerings to people who made money and gigged madly and got auditions.

In retrospect, I wish I had brassier balls to front myself as belonging, even if I didn’t feel it inside. After all, I drank beers (and retro-shamefacedly even slept) with clowns who cashed checks built literally on fart jokes. Fart, fucking, jokes.

(Cue the smoke and vaselined lens with swirling colors, I feel a nostalgic memory coming on….

Back in old Boston, there’s a dingy room in a basement of what was once a bank. The tiny tables behind the stage, where comedians impatiently wait there turn, is adjacent to the black, iron wall of the bank’s vault.

I chatted and fiddled with my list of jokes in front of me and nursed a beer. A guy who at the time got paying gigs and took a shine to me, leaned over me to whisper sweet nothings of advice, and no doubt peer from above my head at the fun bags in my blouse.

He explained that I was too smart, and audiences don’t like that. My success, it would seem, would best be served by following his lead. He suggested I stand up from where I was sitting and watch his carefully calibrated performance unfurl.

Woman that I am, because I do sadly believe woman are a bazillion times more likely to politely follow these kind of orders, I got up to watch.

No lie, it was painful. Scampering and dancing on stage and a solid gold bit that if my dim mind remembers culminated in the comic gold of not being able to tell if the farts were coming from his dog or his grandmother sleeping on the couch. GOLD!

People do laugh at that shit, I’ll give him that. Although, sometimes it’s the uneasy laugh of watching someone fall spectacularly or the cruel laugh at the handicapped or maybe the giggle from watch monkeys flinging poo at the zoo. So, indeed the room had laughter in it.

A couple of people later, it was my turn. He returned the favor to study my set and give me notes.

It was one of those nights I only sort of remember. My best moments on stage are the ones where like a trained athlete it’s all muscle memory, mechanics and flow. Everything rolls out instinctively, not held up by my conscious (and self-concious) thought of what’s next.

I ripped it. The audience was listening and laughing exactly where I planned. They were silent on my words that would lead to revelation and release. But, in my game, in that ultimate zone, I don’t remember the details.

Admittedly, those nights were rare for me. I could measure my success by the astonished smiles and back pats from my friends and acquaintances back stage.

In a comedy club, a cold handshake with no eye contact tells you your fellow comics are embarrassed for you. In contrast, there’s a warm spread of people reaching out to touch you, pat you, congratulate you, smile when you’ve just nailed it in the end zone.

My would be suitor, smiled and offered the perfunctory hand shake and “good set.” He didn’t try to sleep with me again after that night.)

Those moments are the ones that make me want to sell myself harder. I only wish it didn’t take negative stimuli for me to feel the need to conquer.

There’s a bit more in my head. Stuff about what happens into the next decade, now that I’m about 10 years deep in M.’s and my relationship, just shy of that many years into my California dream, and looking down the barrel to 49, knowing it was 38/39 when it all last shifted seismically. And, as they say on Madison Ave. and Cupertino, wait there’s more.

But, for now, I’ll have to consider a part 2.

Hanging in the gym

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The more things change, the more time passes, the more decrepit I get, nothing really changes. In today’s episode of stasis, I’m in a gym.
The air is redolent with sweat and dust. Sneakers squeak and whistle rubbing against the hardwood floor. Grunts echo from above and below in that cave of acoustics where people go to ooze electrolytes and heat from their pores.

Instructors are speaking sounds that enter my earhole and worm their way into my gray matter, translate into meaningful words that describe actions my body cannot mirror. My whole life it has amazed me that some people can listen to a description of physical action and then carry out said action. I am not one of those people.

It’s continually confounding. I hear the words, I understand the thoughts, but my muscles do not obey. In my head, I am a swan. In my body, I am a penguin on dry land.

I’m actually in the main room of the Muy Thai Academy of San Jose. Pretty much any being on the planet, even those that wiggle and squirm with nary a brain cell in their body, anyone that has ever met me knows that I couldn’t be possibly be here by my own design. Nope, gyms and I, fighting and I, athletics and I are strangers.

But I sleep with someone who seems to love all three. And, so here I am.

It’s probably some kind of cosmic twist of fate, karmic payback that I ended up with a guy who loves the gym and is able to move his muscles in line with his desired goals. I imagine the gods are laughing at me. Probably, it’s from that day that I spotted my bespectacled, rail thin English teacher wandering the single hallway of my high school’s gym building. “Ms. Ford,” I yelled after her, “Are you slumming it?”

My sweat-clothed nemesis, Ms. Ciesla, overheard me. Later during the mandatory instruction I loathed the most, perhaps during a detestable field hockey game as I slowly followed a white ball with a wooden stick, she pounced.

“D-Rob,” or any number of various nicknames and butchery of my hard to pronounce last name, “DId I hear you right, D-Rob? Slumming it? Is that what I heard you say? Slumming it? Do you think I work here in a slum? It’s a slum to you? Really, is that what you said?”

It was a rhetorical onslaught not meant to be answered. However, I think I did grunt out a “Yeah.” I think I may have implicated my English teacher and said she would understand.

It was a longer year than usual that year in gym class. It was the year Ms. Ciesla made me play forward in field hockey, scoring zero points to my name and making new enemies on the battlefield. It was the year she made me repeatedly try again and again and again to fling my lower body over a waist-high leather horse. A vaulter I am not, and my stomach purpled by hitting the leather and padded wood full-force in desperate flings vainly trying to will myself to flight attested to the truth. I think it was the year that a tiny little girl spotted me into a handstand that dropped straight to the floor knocking the air from my lungs and ending the class early.

It was the year I embraced myself and my bitter reality of limitations. Mortality and limits crept into my childhood soul.

I suppose it could be an allegory

20121119-235805.jpgHours by the sea. The surf pounding in giant cascades of pure energy. Seals frolicking. A woman, a pole, a snare, some squid and the certainty that crabs just want a free lunch.

Smarter than a lowly crustacean I may be, but they knew to avoid my trap. Well, except for one poor lady crab, bursting with eggs. She, my only victim, caught and released to ensure those eggs get their own fighting chance.

Goddamnit. I just wanted a crab dinner.

If I were Hemingway, the adventure would be ripe with meaning. The failure would speak of the human condition. The agony of hours wasted would chronicle the holes in one life.

Me, I got nothing. And, I didn’t get a crab dinner.

Clearing a blockage

In the distant haze of a distant past, there is a very fuzzy memory. It is of a little girl named Tamara or Teresa or Tammy or Tatyana (well maybe not Tatyana, as I didn't grow up in Moscow). Let's call her Terry.

Terry somewhere in the years of elementary school and junior high branded herself a poet and marketed hard. In what could be my largely inaccurate memory, she read a poem at every assembly the schools ever had. Her crowning achievement was an award and inclusion in a scholastic something or other meant to reward young Byrons and Yeatses in utero.

What I also remember of Terry was that the poems were bad. Or given that my literary criticism skills at the age of 10 match my literary criticism skills today, that is, non-existent, maybe she was OK for a kid. However, seat upon auditorium seat of us children squirmed and groaned in unison. Even those friends of Terry's in the crowd found the poetry excruciating.

To this day, I fear being Terry.

When I perform stand up comedy, write, even ask a question at a meeting, my inner critic sweats giant pulsing rivers of flopsweat. Thankfully, it's invisible flop sweat of the mind, an internal anxiety, else I'd carry a towel and have to have suits fashioned of terry cloth.

I thought of Terry when talking to a professional person who is charged with helping to make me a better professional person. She checks in with me on my professional goals, and I try earnestly, vigorously to absorb and enact the rather practical, but perhaps a tad touchy feely, advice and actions she provides. Coach she is and kindly is paid to listen.

I told her about Terry. I also told her about an another voice I allowed into my writing head, who didn't belong there in the crowd of other voices. I may have made mention before of the dark noise I heard and credit for locking up my efforts to write for what's now years.

In a moment of a kind of intellectual enamor, I shared some writing with a member of the ivory-towered, ivy-covered halls. He, older, ostensibly wiser, definitely better educated had encouraged me, even as I was doing light editing, tech support and formatting for a tome he was writing on a Macintosh computer.

He kindly asked about my aspirations, somehow sensing my typing and word-processing skills maybe had other uses beyond office monkey. Naturally and happily, I shared what I had been up to creatively, eager to have someone ask. Nope, more than that, eager to have someone with a collegiate pedigree ask, like somehow, the words of the elites mean more or differently than the words of us plebeians.

In retrospect, where my brain should have gone was to the wise voices of my kind of people. Tony V., great Boston-based comedian, has (had?) a bit about Harvard. Not wrecking it too bad, the point of the bit is that they have the same books with the same words as everyone else, and everyone can access books; Harvard doesn't have a secret trove of information that is theirs alone.

In the end, the professor (actually he was a dean emeritus from a major powerhouse school) deemed my writing technically good and lively and funny. OK. On that we can possibly agree (on the days I'm not full of self-doubt and loathing).

However, he ultimately belittled me by asking the question possibly every person who ever feels like writing or creating or reaching beyond some kind of smaller purpose asks themselves – Why write? Why is it important? In his mind, and in the words that seeped from his mouth over Arnold Palmers at the Faculty Club for lunch, he decided I had enough working where I work, doing what I do to earn a paycheck, and shouldn't I think about that?

The question was posed as a value judgement on the status quo, which he deemed fine. Really, he held my gig as administrative support very high in both importance and my fortune in having it. In contrast, he asked me to consider the value of my writing and if it had any, and why I was not more satisfied with the status quo.

Sigh.

I thought about that conversation, as I had an entirely different sort of conversation about my writing with the woman who helps professionalize me. Again, I was asked what I wanted and why. This time, though, the point was to get me to chose and press for what I value. No judgment.

In the end, if I'm not Terry and just godawful, and if I just might have something to say that amuses another human, maybe that's enough.

;

Nothing much to say really

So the point is to reawaken my enjoyment of writing.

How I miss those wild west days of explaining what a ‘blog is. At this glorious time in history, we have reached saturation. Now, almost, the only polite reply is a resigned, “Oh, you have a ‘blog,” said with the vim and élan of “Oh, I think there’s something hanging from your nose.”

Sigh.

In the current age where everyone is a writer, commenter, curator, I am a member of the great internet unwashed.

Actually, i tend to still have hope. I tend to still fine this stuff interesting. How the fuck other than the internet could there be worldwide awareness of a beleaguered grandmother and bus monitor. Karen Klein, a newly minted half-a-millionaire, cried on the bus and the world cried with her, and tossed in a few bucks while they were at it.

Imagine what the intertubes could have done for Rosa Parks.

Through the wonders of modern binary code, I could virtually meet up and submit a story to a veritable stranger about smoking and death, at least one of my favorite topics. Only to find out that the editor not only is into death herself, but she writes about life, end of life and a smidge of afterlife, all of which factored into my little submission.

Whatever causes the human brain to pick up on coincidence and synchronicity, advances exponentially on the web, and how fun can that be.

So, I write to amuse myself. I write, because it’s maybe the only thing at which I feel full on competent (‘cuz I can whip up the correct usage of shit like “at which.”) And, I write, because maybe some fucking day, some other stranger out there will read and understand.

The more things change

First things first — I opened this here writing program, and the first thing I saw were these words:

After a tiring week of having to deal with members for the human race, I’m a tad disappointed that today’s solar eclipse isn’t a harbinger of the earth’s destruction. Sigh.

I have decide to thoroughly dislike a fellow human.

Clearly, I was having a bad day.

Now, days, if not weeks later, I am a goddamn font of contented calm. I’m so fucking zen, I could snatch the pebbles from the sensi’s hand at the same time as I leapt from my good leg to the bad one that was swept by the Cobra Kai and kicked some ass. I’m centered and my chi is on FI-Ah.

Here’s the crazy shit of it all. My historic working shelf life ain’t been grand to tell the truth. My best, most serious jobs have gotten to the five to seven year mark, and I have managed to fail in epic, truly epic, proportions. OK, maybe not epic like Odysseus tying himself to a mast while sailing over rough seas, but as epic as a cube (or in the case of one job, supply closet turned into an office) dweller can live it. I’m not Greek after all.

I had my whole manifest destiny vision quest just over seven years ago, when I moved here to the Golden West. Shortly thereafter, I got my paying gig that contributes to the mortgage and keeps my addiction to munching on groceries alive.

In fact, it’s seven years this week that I started this job. I’ve crossed the Rubicon.

Only this time, it’s a whole other ball of wax, a new ball game, a freshly minted cliche. Unlike the job where the director was banging not just one but two women in our office, blessedly not me; unlike the job where a back-stabbing asshole, who incidentally had stolen some computer equipment, used his work email for sex classifieds, and was an all around weasel, convinced HR I was a violence risk, unlike the job where everyone was convinced the top two execs were likely embezzling at worst or reporting fraudulent data on federal grants at the best, unlike all of them, I seem to be coasting just fine.

No, not just coasting. I’m doing just fine. Like in a crazy, are you sure, no way this must be a trick, doing just fine. Fine like is Allen Funt going to come walking through the door and telling me it’s a joke? Fine. Or maybe in these modern times, Chris Hansen, will explain it all.

Here’s the skinny, which I hesitate to write about, in case there is a weasel waiting behind a cyber door ready to do me in, but I’ll take the risk. Although, I won’t get into enough detail that said cyber door weasel can bite me.

I now have a professional coach. Someone who actually is meant to prod me into achieving shit. And, one of the goals I’m meant to be achieving is doing more writing and pushing myself to actually do what I keep promising myself and then managing to self-sabotage. I’m bound and determined to not let this opportunity pass me by, and I aims to have something that looks like a book in the end.

It may be a shitty book that no one ever buys or reads. But I if it’s three dimensional, or even virtually so with animated pages on a tablet screen, I’ll be feeling alright.

And the bloody miracle of my checkered work life is unlike my last gig, the folks in charge of my employment are A-OK with that side project. I’m practically being begged to forego my workaholic ways, put in no extra hours or thought, watch the clock and slide down my dinosaur the minute the whistle blows at the end of the day at the plant. Like you’re done for the day, go forth and write.

At my last position of stressful employ, not only did those folks in charge tell me I couldn’t be a “real writer,” whatever the fuck that is, they told me I was throwing away opportunity by not giving up my dreams for my corporate welfare. Yup, no dreams of my own just their image of me as a good worker bee content in the hive.

Don’t fucking pinch me, because I don’t want to wake up yet. I’m planning a summer of cutting out of work in time to see the sunset drop over our oceanside town, forcing myself to write and listening to the boss, when she tells me to take it easy.