A Travelin’ Girl Needs Space

Image

There’s something horribly unsettling (maybe I’m spoiled) about curling up on a public bus wondering if the person sitting next to you made that awful smell or if they are going to sleep on your shoulder or if they are the next zodiac killer…these are all things that run through my head.

My frequent trips to D.C. (yes ladies and gents, 4.5 hours on a stuffy, stinky bus) have been worth it, there’s no doubt. Yet, there’s something so idyllic about the comfort of a seat in your own car…your couch…your recliner…YOU DON’T NEED TO SHARE WITH STRANGERS. Well, unless you want to.

timthumb.php

Here are some tips and tricks to give yourself the most possible space and ward off the seat hogs, droolers and the like.

  1. Cough. Cough so horribly that people can’t help but think you’re going to give them swine flu. For effect, announce to your neighbor that you’ve just gotten over the WORST cold. It was SO awful.
  2. Phone a Friend. “No. You’re skinnier. Stop. STOP! You’re, like, the skinniest. NO. You are SO much prettier.”
  3. Starfish. Flail your arms and legs out like the little sea creature we know and love, noodling your limbs into the seat next to you. If anyone debates sitting down, flail further.
  4. Bus Buddies! Make BEST friends and talk about your entire day!
  5. Take the armrest. The middle one. Lean on it. You know you want to.
Advertisements

Dusting Blog Cobwebs

Image

I suppose I haven’t blogged in a while. I suppose I haven’t done a lot of other things, either….like sleep, do my laundry, eat froyo (lies…definitely got some yesterday). I accepted a job in publishing in February, and life has been pretty busy every since. I guess I should have announced that on here at some point, but writing tons of blogs and press releases every day for others sort of sucks the fun out of doing it when you get home. Is it glamorous? Nope. Pays well? No, not really. Worth it? Definitely.

The past few months have contained a lot of firsts. First apartment, first time living in New York, first time holding a full-timer in publishing, first time living with Miss T.R. Wallace, first time having an intern, first time getting yelled at in all caps via e-mail…repeatedly, first time assembling an Ikea couch….that might be the best one. Stick figure instructions? NOT HELPFUL.

However, the bottle of wine consumed during assembly did wonders…they should really include that in the box.

The fact that this blog isn’t (and was never really) anonymous encourages me to hold my tongue about a lot of things (including some great inside scoop), but there’s plenty to be shared nonetheless.

For starters, there’s a time to state your case at work, and there’s a time to roll over. Sometimes a little nugget or misread email becomes WWIII, and it’s just not worth engaging. Don’t worry…privately, you never have to relinquish the fact that you’re still right.

Enjoy the free coffee. Drinking it will save you the $15 per-week (at LEAST) you spend at Starbuck’s or that little hipster café every morning. Stop it.

Be pleasant. It always serves you well. Until you have to be a bitch…then own it.

creative balance.

tumblr_lybb94SsUM1qga1lio1_1280

Like stories and narrative voices, writers embody different extremes. For some, the focus is the current project and the motivator is the next deadline (or, depending on your boss, the chiding voice that accompanies error). Thankfully, I never make mistakes. Kidding…no one is perfect (coming from someone who has been referred to as “impractically imperfect,” not a misquote). Anyway, there are also many writers who do not write to make a living and write purely from the soul, and then there are writers who do not write to make a living and can’t write from the soul…writers that have no soul…you get it.

Writing and editing for a living can cause you to slide into some really intellectually lazy behavior. Personally, I find myself making excuses to avoid my own creative work in favor of the goals that my employers deem immediate and relevant…and they are so convincing!

During work hours, yes! Go above and beyond! Work late and work hard, but don’t let the stress of completing an assignment for someone else translate to the neglect of your personal goals. Balance is everything. Yesterday, this is how it went down:

“I finished that article today. That was creative. That counts.” dgo asleep in food bowl

COMMENCE NAP ———>

In a later moment of clarity, I promptly “punished” myself for self-neglect with three pages of creative work. Also interesting. Shouldn’t I be rewarding myself with creative work instead of punishing myself with it? Yes, I was creative in my work for others, but whose goals were actually fulfilled?

The creative beast is a sneaky, fat, lazy animal of the subconscious when coupled with stress and sleep depravation.

I guess what I’m getting at is that while writers earn the right to make a living at what they do, it’s important to identify those moments when you might be making excuses for yourself and deviating from the challenges and goals you’ve set for yourself in your own writing and creativity. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t (or can’t) be creative in work for others, but don’t forget yourself in what you do.

Also, do yoga. I have to say that starting up again is making my body scream, but it’s worth it for the calm, the clarity, and literal/metaphorical balance.

The Hunt

I forgot to mention…one of the biggest components of job hunting is submitting yourself to perpetual trial and error, building a resistance against feeling like a failure when your resume falls into the endless black-pit vortex of Mediabistro, and re-assuring yourself that no, it’s not a tiny error you missed in your resume that has disqualified you from the hundreds of jobs you’ve applied to in publishing. Patience, patience. Instead of running around like a crazy person then dramatically scrabbling around in a corner whining and eating macaroni and cheese, try telling yourself that it’s OK.

Kraken, my boyfriend’s tailless cat with a limp that has clawed, bitten, and maimed his way into my heart, reminds me daily that patience, commitment and lack of sleep can all be great fuel for writing heartfelt cover letters, and that this tolerance can also translate into the long days we will all be working when we get our entry-level jobs in editorial. As this vengeful kitty reminds me via hunting my face at 3am, 5am, 6am, and then finally at 7am when I can no longer resist the urge to drop-kick his furry butt, there is always tomorrow, be patient, and enduring a certain level of abuse is normal in getting where you need to go. Also, don’t get a cat 🙂