Thursday, June 07, 2007

time management woes

One of the biggest hurdles for me is where to draw the line on unpaid efforts. I’m a pleaser, and as such, my tendency is to fulfill. That’s how I’m wired. The challenge comes in when I have to prioritize fulfillment, especially now, when most of my opportunities are writing/editing related.
My boyfriend Kirk suggested that I look at what I’m giving away. How do I value that, if I were to apply something as gauche as money to it? What’s my intellectual property worth, in other words? Kirk says, “Well, if you were punching a time clock, you wouldn’t be able to do what you do.”

My time clock is virtual. And therein lies the rub.

I was born to be a support girl. A Gal Friday who shows up with half-combed hair and a soft pencil. Preparation has never been a strong suit. For me, the excitement is in the unexpected, so my preparation is more about deciding which of my senses I’m going to foreground for maximum capture. My strategy is that I have no strategy. Ergo, I go into overdraft every damn month.

I have the feeling that if I really convinced myself that making money was important, I’d have more. Only problem is, money only figures in when I’m completely out. How passive is that?

I’ve decided to stop writing community news. To stop doing any journalism that doesn’t translate to $25 or more an hour. Better to spend that time on business development for BridgePointNW (which, if you’ve linked on, you realize is the web equivalent of the shoemaker’s child ). So, those 20 or so hours a month I was basically giving away for the byline are going to be rerouted to show-me-the-$ land.

For now, I feel I need to continue to say yes to requests for brain-storming and helping various friends with writing/editing needs. These tend to pay off quite well, in the long run, as everyone I’m helping is part of a network of writers who now and again throw bones my way, and as an Independent Contractor, nearly all of my income-producing opportunities have been word-of-mouth type serendipities.

Okay, so when do I work on my creative stuff? Where’s that 20 hours a week going to come from? Stay tuned for phase two of my Time Management journey…

Monday, June 04, 2007

husbands: a correlative

I just read my friend, David Millstone's blog entry where he aligned his allegiance to two personally significant mediums of expression (writing and acting) with his two marriages. Because David was my first writing mentor, I’ll always side with his metaphoric first wife (though I never met his real first wife).

David will always be a writer in my mind. This designation bears out in that in his blog entry he started with his second love and wife, as opposed to his first. Emotional chronology does not necessarily correspond to its temporal equivalent—and because David has an ear for emotional composition that I find mind-blowing.

Funnily enough, David’s current acting role is that of a writer/writing teacher. His two loves fused into what must be, for him, the sort of challenge that leaves you edge-walking a precipice filled with glorious doom. God, I envy that!

Not to be outdone by my mentor and friend, I’m going to slap up a short marital correlative of my own.

My first husband was barely a grown up when we met, but at the time, my sense of who we were together was a couple who’d been married for 25 years. The portent with which I entered that union, the big Catholic bolus of righteousness, was similar to my first swipes at fiction. Too many words, fueled by concept and wholesale epiphany. Something I picked off of a nose-high shelf, wrapped in shiny paper and called my own. Oh, to feel normal, for once. My stories were chock full of sophomoric, ironic jabs. My marriage had jerky transitions I tried to sand over with compulsive attention to minutiae. I pursued a false God who lingered in the obvious details. Fear. Fear. Control. Fear. That husband died, all of the sudden. My early stories are yellowed dot-matrix testament to that unripeness.

Enter husband two: a volatile boy-child who I followed down a dark gravel rut.

Fourteen years of stream of consciousness vomit punctuated here and there with clarity. The muse of instability yanking me around: happy hour followed by hangover followed by hell. I loved this second husband who gave me an electron microscope with which to examine the cells of my navel. I courted intimacy in my writing, though avoided it in my marriage to this stunted man. The dark side can keep you from that just as effectively as the myth of wedded bliss. A little danger. Less control. My writing matured, deepened. Still, I couldn’t quite commit. Didn’t commit. To either the marriage or the writing projects—which lie in various hard drives and between the plastic covers of chunky binders. I emerged from that work-in-progress battered and jaded, ripe with failure of spirit, and tentative about whatever comes next.

And what of that, the next big thing? I feel the need for interface. A sage-sticking, perhaps? My current love has suggested a fire. Burn the evidence. Concretize the psychic space for tabula rasa. My intuition tells me that he’s correct. I need some sort of bold leap. Enjambment to the unexpectedly next right thing.