Category Archives: Journal Writing
Another urgent email containing a list of companies desperate for me to apply, as per the Subject line. You want me? You want me that bad? Fine. Let’s see what you got…
Oh. Director of Blah Blah Blah for a sports agency. Need to be a “winner” and able to engage athletes, their managers and entourage. Next!
Creative Content Manager for a medical group. Should be able to conduct research (yes) write technical papers (ooh) critique drafts for academic journal submission (ooh yes) analyze policies regarding the pharmaceutical industry (ohh baby) manage blog and email content (ooh right there) and work alone or with minimal supervision. Yeah Daddy! Don’t stop!!
Requirements: PhD. Waa waa waaaaa
Now here’s a winner: Contract Writer for a market research group. Satellite position; that means, I can work naked during the summer months! Research trends, behaviors, motivators for a given sub-population. Shit. I’m a fiction writer; I do that all the time! Work with editorial staff, manage other writers? Pffssshhhttpppptttthhhttttttt I got this.
“Upload resume.” Really??
When I double clicked on the closest thing to a current resume in my Old Life Directory, my system prompted me with, “What application do you want to open this file with?” It’s THAT old!
Check this snapshot out…
Slow down, Superstar! Did I *actually* use this resume content? Did the last gig *actually* hire me using this douchebaggery?? Oh my living gawd, am I an egotistical asshole. Well, was. Well, maybe. I dunno.
Not an egotistical asshole. Just an asshole.
I love my reinvention as a creative writer. I love that, if I’m forced to assign a title, it is “Published Author.” I also love that I have three years’ documented experience as a creative artist so I can pursue “Editor” and “Writer” and “Content Manager” contracts without hyperventilating.
But yes, I need a little left brain love every once in a while. I do this, troll for research/analysis gigs, pretty often, and if you need someone who’s into that, baby, holla at me, because I love turning raw data into salient strategies. Statistics, market trends, matrix builds, primary data collection…? Ooh…I just felt a chill run up my spine! It’s a special kind of Strange I am totally into.
The rest of the dusty resume was an enjoyable laugh. Some highlights:
I wore construction boots. I remember the division manager had to special order my steel toe boots because of all the field personnel, I was the only specialist of the female persuasion, so they didn’t have my size in stock. I wore them whenever I was called off site to wherever the computer-mounted trucks were stationed, proudly rocking pink camouflage boot laces to compliment my fluorescent vest.
I froze my ass off in the name of science. On the way to the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania to conduct qualitative data collection, I got caught on the summit of one of the many mountains of the Appalachian Range. A commercial truck had jackknifed at the foot of the mountain, and, of course, the road I was on was the only passage from one side of the mountain to the next. It was the longest, most prayerful two hours of my life.
I was a shorter, fatter Remy Danton. As the DOC representative at the State Building, I essentially spent all day lobbying House members to support our mandatory campaign in their respective districts. Power walking in heels was a norm, as well as delivering the solid, two pump, “Wanna wrassle?” handshake. To this day, people are taken aback when my wee hand comes out and delivers them a lightening bolt!
“So you got a girlfriend?”
“Why have a girlfriend?”
“So you don’t live alone.”
“I live alone.”
Ambitious. But then again, they all are.
“Ech,” I shrug, ” People will talk. This town? They all up in everyone’s business.”
The corner of his mouth lifts, “I don’t live here.”
We high five.
Moments later, he returns to my cafe table holding a piece of paper, which is ceremoniously placed beside my wine glass before he struts off. I lift it and observe a phone number, written in his own hand, circled, with his actual name under it. I’ve been calling him something else for over a year! I laugh into my glass while thinking, I was 17 when he was born.
Ardent. Overconfident. Of the Generation of the Oversharers.
My first book signing. We ran out of books. I actually had to run out to my car for the two books I had in the backseat; luckily, leftovers from an earlier attempt at guerrilla marketing. The last fourteen months of my life living dollar to dollar so I can get published, and now I’m holding 10s of dollars, 20s of dollars, in one hand. I didn’t think I was gonna sell any books tonight, so I didn’t think about maybe having a bank bag or lock box or something to put this money in. I’m so fuckin’ irresponsible. I sold out my first event. Jesus Mahoney Christ, this shit’s really happening! Wow. Just. WOW. 4/9/14 @ 11:38pm
A casual traipse through my LinkedIn feed brought me to this article: How To Leave Your Ego At the Door Although this is framed for the corporate/private sector types, the points are applicable to the artists/wannabes as well! Here, my reactions to the points…
1. Keep introductions short
You know who are the WORST at this? Poets! They spend thirteen minutes to introduce a three-second poem! Their meanderings about their mother’s nicknames for vaginas and the need to always wear a hat because of medications (as recently-experienced examples) take away from the poetry listening experience. Standardize an intro; read it if you have to, commit it to memory, OR, since you’re a featured poet, just read the damn poem!
2. Don’t let recognition or achievement get to your head
Wow. Completely inapplicable to artists. The whole point of artistry IS recognition and achievement! The fun part is listening to these lists of awards they provide, feeling they’re completely fabricated or worse, distributed amongst a handful of club members. I notice in the blogosphere a bevy of circle-jerking awards (not gonna point any violators out; I’m limiting myself to general snark today). Recently I sat in on a book reading and was impressed by the award this woman had achieved for her memoir, but the excerpt she shared was so…what’s the best way to put it…? Entitled White American Woman Problem I couldn’t conceive how she earned it!
3. Surround yourself with humility
The artist who’s the WORST at humility? One Man Show Performers. Oy vey! I like the author’s statement here: “If you hang out with egomaniacs, you’ll likely become one.” Damn straight.
4. Present yourself through logic
The moment this happens in the arty world, time will stop, space will implode, and all we know to be true will be GONE.
Coming from a technical background, thinking scientifically by nature, and having dealt with people of all mental disorders, it is very painful for me to try to plan even the SIMPLEST events using who, what, when, where, and why with my fellows. Let me correct myself; it’s always ONLY “why”! The decision makers are the main violators of #3.
5. Don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk
I’ve sat in writing groups where they take it much further: don’t call yourself a writer if you’re not published, don’t call yourself published if you’re not under a major press, don’t even fuckin’ THINK about sitting at this table unless you have an MFA from a liberal arts college! So of course, I attend because I love watching people go ballistic once finding out I fulfill only one of all their demands. Hehe.
Nothing like spring cleaning while streaming Netflix in the background. I had the P!nk Truth About Love Tour going first and then Madonna’s MDNA Tour. Two great shows, two performers I’d love to see in concert. Then I thought, QUICK! Top five concerts…GO!
#5 – Janet Jackson Velvet Rope Tour
“Can you pull together eighty bucks?” My girl is breathing hard into the phone as she asks me this. Of course, hood tendencies make me think she’s in a pinch. So before I ask who’s holding the gun to her head, she explains, “I just got two tickets to Janet Jackson!!”
So she’s not dying and I’m about to see one of my idols. I respond with “Whew!” and “Yes!”
Now. Lemme SPLAIN something here. Janet Jackson and I are best friends. Ever since Control, I’ve been on her dance crew. As soon as I graduated from high school, I was going to join Janet’s European tour, be Tina Landon’s choreography assistant, and never look back.
Flash forward to 2001, and, well…I’m a software engineer instead of a dancer. :(
Not only are we seeing Janet, but our tickets are for THE FLOOR. Yes! Room to demonstrate the years of training to my master. Oh Janet, look this way! Please do “Rhythm Nation”, please do “Rhythm Nation”, that’s my tightest routine. And the demigod delivers. I break that shit down LIKE A NINJA.
#4 Limp Bizkit at the San Antonio Rodeo Grounds
My siblings and I have an interesting habit of not being into the same kind of music, ever, so it was history in the making when the three of us made this concert our first together. We’re already adults, mind you, my siblings each parents and me a full-time tia. The best part of the whole venture was watching my sister tease her hair out to stratosphere level. You know we’re going to a ’90s rock concert, not a ’80s rock concert, right? Didn’t stop her.
The concert was meh as is figured for rap-rock-white trash fusion. You know who opened for them? Godsmack. Yeah! That Godsmack. They were ridiculously good and much more memorable than Monkey Mask, Britney’s Ex, and the Bizkettes. But the three of us, hanging out, as kin, now that was fantastic.
#3 Marc Anthony at Dallas Bowl
That skinny dude can SANG. And what luck to experience that voice in such an intimate venue. I was with two of the most annoying Puerto Ricans on Earth, but blessed be, the moment their brethren hit the stage, they both shut the fuck up for the duration of the show. Now that’s power! This was pre-J. Lo Marc Anthony, top of his game. That night, we drove home in what seemed to be a Category 18 hurricane. At some point on 635 I was certain we were gonna crash and die, and I still remember thinking, ‘but at least I caught a helluva concert’.
#2 – New Kids on The Block in Mannheim
My first boy band concert. With adult supervision. It was polite, enjoyable from the distance we were at.
#1 – New Kids on The Block at Frankfurt Festhalle
NO ADULT SUPERVISION. This was the year Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch were opening for NKOTB and my crew was not gonna miss out on that! We’re standing about 14 rows back from the stage, and the decent member of the crew laments we’re too far away. So I look at my girl, she looks at me, we both heard our friend complain about the distance, so we commence to crowd control. While I snatch girls by the collar and hair and toss them to one side, my girl is throwin’ ‘bows to clear the other side, and we get from row 14 to row 4. The final distance not so much physical work than bellowing, “MOVE DA FUCK OUTTA DA WAY!!” to visibly terrified German girls. Yeah, hooligans at a New Kids on The Block concert, I know, I know.
But timing was perfect. Marky Mark just hit the stage, just stood mere feet from us, and just dropped his pants. HOOAH! Mission: Accomplished!
QUICK! What are YOUR Top Five Memorable Concerts? GO!
Sometimes a Brit can remind you how safe and sane we are as Americans. Or at least, delude ourselves to be.
A standing routine of mine is Documentary Day. Usually a Sunday, if not dedicated to doing something away from the screen or requiring the brain (one in the same, right?) With March Madness ABSOLUTELY earning its name this year, I needed something to help me restore faith in my fellow countrymen, to see Americans as my compatriots again, and to do it in the most non-polarizing way possible.
My friends, Stephen Fry in America. Watch it. It’s on Netflix or elsewhere on the Interwebs and it’s magic. Yes, I did try to embed it and failed so I’d rather you just type-y type-y in the search engine…saves us both effort.
While it’s all from the perspective of a sensible, self-described neurotic, it’s a valid take on what people of other nationalities think of us; we, the insular, proud, and megalomaniac U S of A.
I had me a good round of laughs in a reclined state, and by the end of Season 1 I actually felt better about my national assignment and my chosen station in life. Spirits not quite restored, but yeah, feeling a bit more Mericuh! after it.
I found Season 1, Episode 4 hit some familiar notes in that a few of my novels are based on or about the places he happened to visit. So there’s synchronicity folded in too. Huh.
[Writing Prompt: ekphrastic and timed; time limit = 15 minutes]
“How’s the baklava?”
He shoots me a surprised look. “You know to ask.”
“I know my baklava.”
The proprietor closes in to block off the other barflies. “Order it next time. This batch…?” He shakes his head.
I order a burger, a good burger, as I rarely keep red meat in my house. The order comes, and I ask for tzatziki sauce on the side.
Tzatziki. Boston lettuce. Tomato slice. Scrape the O rings off. 1/4 pound of beef, large slice of feta, more tzatziki, close with the bun. Flip over for good luck. I invented that, I don’t know when, but it’s just something I do. Bury my knife into the middle to part my feast and…
Solid. Grey. LUMP.
My eyes slit.
“I know I ordered medium rare.” It was supposed to be delivered with concern, but instead, dripped with acid.
The keeper, the trainer, the new cook, everyone’s in disarray then in a hurry. I backpedal my statement, realizing it’s become an issue. Before I could finish explaining myself, the new burger is in front of me, the house cook, doing me the favor of meticulously dressing my burger the way I just had that pile of dog food.
Sorry. It’s just that ‘well done’ makes no fuckin’ sense to me. You gonna eat meat? Get some blood in ya.
I carve in, the juices flow, all is well in the land of The Burg.
Other than the petite woman breathing down my neck as she read the beer menu board, I enjoyed my company. On moments when I teetered back to breathe and let my gullet expand, I joined in on the surrounding conversation, the latest concern from the proprietor being his current roommate situation. I dive back in. The guys around me and in the kitchen comment, “She’s really putting it away!” “She’s not playing around!” “I thought she was kidding!”
“Fellas, fellas,” I lean back as one sliver of 1/2 pound burger awaits its demise, “don’t let the small frame fool ya. I’m here for a slayin’.” I hoark the final piece down to emphasize I mean business.
“Ready for dessert? Other than the baklava?”
“I absolutely would. But I have a technical error.”
“Too full from the burger and fries?”
“Not at all. I’m wearing tight pants. There’s no more give!”
Everyone laughs. He goes back down the bar.
“Is this The Dynamics?” the guy sipping on pinot noir asks. The proprietor checks Pandora. Yes, it is.
“That’s an amazing cover.”
I agree as I finish my Lehnenkugel. “That is an amazing cover.” The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army.
They go back to the roommate issue. “If I don’t get someone to move in, I’m gonna have to get another job,” he laments.
Pinot Noir suggests, “There’s always stripping.”
“Yeah,” he laughs “there’s always stripping.”
“Just do me a favor,” I insist as I slide my bar stool back, descend from my seat, and hoist my purse onto my shoulder. “Don’t strip with sneakers on. It is just so unsexy.”
At first I get several pairs of weird looks, and then, once the thought has soaked in, laughter.
“Til next time, fellas.”
What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?