Monday, December 15, 2008

The weight of unemployment

Today I got up and walked around. One foot in front of the other. Had a meeting at a hiring agency, someplace I worked for when I was freelancing. The reality has more than set in, and I think one of the reasons is way back in the '90s we--the working stiffs of the world--were told to get it into our heads that we were working for ourselves. So, from there on in I just basically looked at my employer as one big client, and I was in business for myself. It's not a bad viewpoint.

And the thing is, when you have to sit down and explain to someone what you do, what you've been doing the past two years, and what you know, it gives you a good insight that you are--and I am--not going to be destitute. I know my business, and I'm good at it. All I need and want is the chance. The scary part is wondering if there is any work out there at all. The first business to dry up is always writing. Everyone knows they can't do Flash, but everyone since the age of six thinks they can write.

There are words that they put on the page, so that must be okay. They even feel kind of proud of themselves. But together are the words persuasive? Interesting? Think about it, you're still reading this, aren't you? Why? Uh, because I can write and I can write in an interesting way that keeps people reading.

Still, the weight of it all hangs over my head. Once again I woke up in the middle of the night last night, and not wanting to wake Sue tossing and turning, got up and slouched on the couch and read a bit.

"Sometimes Po Campo sang in Spanish. He had a low, throaty voice that always seemed like it was about to die for lack of breath. The songs bothered some of the men, they were so sad.

'Po, you're a jolly fellow, how come you only sing about death?' Soupy asked. Po had a little rattle, plus his low throaty voice, made it a curious effect.

The sound could make the hairs stand up on Pea Eye's neck. 'That's right, Po. You do sing sad, for a happy man,' Pea Eye observed once, as the old man shook his gourd.

'I don't sing about myself,' Campo said. 'I sing about life. I am happy, but life is sad. The songs don't belong to me.'"

Well, still, when I was putting on music today, I shied away from country. I went through a point in my life where I just wallowed in country music. It was like picking a sore day after day after day. Oh, my wretched life.

Today I put on some Shakira unplugged. With that wild woman singing in Spanish, there's no way you can be depressed.

And I keep a running to-do list. Keep busy. There's plenty to do. Step by step. Brick by brick. That's about the only way to do it.

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