"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Day Off

Today is the first actual day off I've had in a long time. When I'm not working full time at the make up counter I'm usually at the home furnishing store or doing a restaurant review. But not today. Today there was no where I have to be. No appointments, nothing. And so far it's been wonderful.
I slept in (relatively) this morning, took the dog for a long walk, went to the grocery store to big up some goodies for supper and then went for another walk with the dog and hubbie to get some soft serve ice cream at a nearby cafe. My flavour of choice? Pina colada. And yes, it was delicious. Now I'm just going to put my feet up for a little while, do a little leisurely work on writing and then prepare my (hopefully) amazing supper. What a fantastic day off. Not to mention Maddie (the dog) is happily passed out on the floor from all of the walking fun. Now if I only had a pool to go for a refreshing swim in (it's crazy hot and we have no air conditioning) then everything would be perfect.

Friday, July 29, 2011

I Like Being Funny

Sometimes, when I hear especially intelligent writers pontificate on their craft I feel a little bad about myself. I'm not that smart and I'm not that serious. I prefer comedy. I don't like reading Oprah's Book Club style novels. They stress me out and I often find them depressing. I prefer to use my leisure time for light-hearted and clever writing, something that entertains and makes me laugh. That's also what I prefer to write. I can't help it, I just can't take it all so seriously. I like being ridiculous and sarcastic. Comedy gives a freedom that serious writing just doesn't. When I give myself the freedom to be ridiculous and off the wall, my writing comes easier, flows better and is a lot less predictable. I'm more creative when I'm funny.
And so, I may never win a noble prize for literature, or a pulitzer prize, but I don't mind. If I can make people smile, and a few of them even laugh out loud, then I can hold my head high. I'm happy in the role of the playful jester. After all, some of the smartest and most universal things I've ever heard have been in jokes. And that ain't bad.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why Do I Write? Because It Isn't There

Sometimes when having three jobs starts to get to me, when I'm feeling tired and frustrated and I can't seem to find the time to write, I forget why it is I do write. And the answer to that is because it isn't there. I write because I have experiences, opinions or small witticisms I want to share. I write because I love expressing myself and I love entertaining others. I write because it's fun, because it allows me to unleash my creative juices and go hog wild with boundless imagination. I write because I have to, because nothing else makes sense.
It's funny how simple it is when I actually sit down and write it down. There it is in black and white. This is why I write. And suddenly, it's a lot easier to shuffle my schedule, to pull out my laptop even though I'm tired and grouchy and all I want to do is turn my brain off with some good TV. Suddenly, the sacrifices of today are worthwhile, because who knows? Down the road writing might be my only job. But only if I make it a priority today.
"Why do writers write? Because it isn't there." Thomas Berger. Why do I write? Because there's a voice that's missing, and it's mine.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Time to Quit?

Today I went to my job at the home furnishings store. I've cut my hours back to only one day a week now that I work full time at a make up counter, and honestly the only reason I haven't quit is because I enjoy the safety net. I like knowing that if I quit one job I still have another job waiting in the wings, but today really made me think about quitting.
When I arrived at work, my boss was there (which she usually isn't) and I went out of my way to say hi and exchange pleasantries. Did she return the favour? No. She immediately demanded to know why I wasn't at the staff meeting last night. Why wasn't I at the staff meeting? Because it wasn't on a Monday. DUH. I only work here on Mondays. You know this. I've explicitly told you and put through paperwork to make it abundantly clear that I'm only available on Mondays. When I told her I was at one of my other two jobs, she didn't let it go. She wanted to know when I was finished. When I told her six, she told me the staff meeting had started at 7:00. Uh huh, but here's the thing: I only work on Mondays! I don't care what time I was done yesterday, I wasn't coming to work after.
Thoroughly disgusted with her lack of tact and common sense, I started my shift in a nasty mood. Which got me to thinking, why am I still here? Aside from the coworkers that I adore, why do I bother to hang onto this job? Yeah, the extra money is good, but it only amounts to an extra forty dollars a week. That's not really worth how irritated and bored I am with it, or the fact that I'm working six days a week (aside from my restaurant reviews) to keep it. Maybe its time to let if fall by the wayside and move on. Maybe its time to quit.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tonight I'm Down

Sometimes life just gets you down. I was phoning restaurants today, trying to set up a review for this coming week, and one particular restaurant manager was especially rude. He snarled at me that I shouldn't phone on a weekend because people are busy having fun and don't want to be bothered. After I hung up I couldn't help it. I cried. He was a complete dick and obviously his restaurant will get no kind words from me, but it still shouldn't have caused me to break into tears upon hanging up the phone. I just couldn't help but feel completely frustrated. Here I was, doing his restaurant a favour, and he couldn't even do me the courtesy of being polite. And I still don't have anything booked for this week. Sigh.
I'll keep trying tomorrow, and hopefully get something booked. But tonight I'm down and I hope that karma takes a bite out of that jerk manager. (I'm not a big enough person yet to be above it all)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mountain Climbing

Building a writing career is a lot like climbing a mountain. You start out at the bottom, trying to get your first foothold. Bit by bit you make your way up, reaching for the next hand or foothold, more often than not missing and staying exactly where you are. It's a trial of hard work and determination, never letting the feeling of despair or the almost impossible odds get you down. Inch by inch you begin carving your way up the stone face of your mountain, working your way up until you reach the summit. Very cheesy, I'll admit, but accurate. Although at least with writing it's very rare to lose a few fingers.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Own Backyard

Lately I've been researching my own backyard. For those of you that don't know me, I'm a travel junkie. My parents own a travel agency, so I was lucky enough to grow up jet setting around the world since a very young age. The first plane ride I remember being on was at age six when we went to Germany to visit family, but I was on a plane even when I was still in my mother's womb, on a trip to Japan. This has resulted in a deep-seated travel bug. Every year I get antsy to go somewhere, to hop on a plane and see something new. Mostly, I prefer hot, luxurious locales, but I dig history and culture too.
In any case, despite my best attempts I'm not yet filthy rich, which means no vacation this year. It'll be the first time since my husband and I got married that we won't be going on vacation, which has been three years in a row. Sadly, 2011 has crept by without a single bought of jet lag or turbulence induced nausea. Am I a little depressed? Yes. But am I going to let it get me down? No! Instead, I've decided to research my own province and see what it has to offer in the form of luxurious, unique experiences. Perhaps a weekend getaway to a hidden local gem will lessen the sting of my airplane-free year.
At the very least, it serves as a perfect distraction from hauntingly tropical destinations and may just teach me to appreciate my own little piece of heaven here at home.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How Do I Do It?

I am SO busy. I honestly don't know how other writers do it. They all seem to have full time jobs and children on top of their writing and it positively staggers me. Even without children I feel completely overwhelmed. Not that my life is especially easy, I am currently working three jobs. I work five days a week at a make up counter (trying desperately to earn a very piddly commission), I work one day a week at a home furnishing and decor store, and in my free time (I know what you're thinking, 'what free time?') I write for VerbNews. My work doesn't end there, in what little time is left I try to write. I edit my novel, I work at getting a freelancing career off the ground, and even attempt to have a social life. And, honestly? I'm exhausted.
I took last week off from doing a restaurant review for VerbNews because I was busy working on my first feature for them, which was very exciting. That's all done and turned in, so I turned my attention back to my restaurant reviews and attempted to book a restaurant for this week. No go. I couldn't get a hold of anybody until it was too late in the week. Now I have to do three next week, because I've officially had two weeks off and completely lost the lead time I had from doing multiples before. Which means I had to book a restaurant review on the anniversary weekend I'd booked off to spend with my husband. Damn it.
I'm not a happy camper at the moment, and it's got me wondering what it's all for. How can I be working three jobs and still be poor? How am I supposed to get any extra writing done when I have so little free time? And how can I sequester some special time to spend with my husband when I can't even keep my anniversary weekend sacred? I mean, it's not all bad, I didn't book it on my actual anniversary. But I'm mad. I was hoping for two days off, back to back, just for the purpose of having a fun, relaxing stay-cation with my hubbie.
Which brings me back to my original question. You know that old question, 'how does she do it?' Well, I'm asking it. I've read articles about hardworking writers who work full time as freelancers, have three kids and still manage to churn out best selling novels. I would really like a sample of the drugs they're on that they're able to be that productive and work that hard. Because I'm tired, and I don't know how I'm going to do it.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Gourmet Prose

A few days ago I finished Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery. This was her first book, but I'd read her second book first. I'm glad I did, because honestly her second book was better. By reading her second book first, I was able to appreciate the subtleties of the first. If I hadn't, I might have been a little too bored and given up. But because I was already familiar with her style, I could just relax and enjoy her beautiful prose.
Gourmet Rhapsody is the story of a food critic on his death bed. He hasn't been a very good man, he's a terrible father, husband and in general, human being. But on his death bed, when you'd think he'd be pondering all his failures as a person, he's thinking about flavours. With only 48 hours until his demise, all he wants is to taste a particular flavour once more. The only problem is, he doesn't know what it is. So he thinks back over everything he's tasted in his life, looking for the flavour that he's missing.
It's an interesting book, not especially riveting, but I really enjoyed the descriptions of the food. Muriel Barbery is an especially talented writer when it comes to crafting beautiful prose, but the story line was indeed lacking. But, if you're willing to just have a book that you take your time with and just enjoy the poetry of the language, then it's a fine read.