Today has not been the best day. Actually, it started over the weekend when I made my first pass at my taxes and the news was not good. I frankly don’t know how I’m going to meet my various obligations, and I’ve never in my life been in that situation. But I’m sure I’ll work it out; it’s just going to be ugly for me for a while.
There are other financial stresses that I’m not going to get into now, but none of it’s good. I also inadvertently wrote to my ex from my gspot address and I frankly would rather he not know about the blog, even though I generally don’t write about him. I think I’d have to ditch it if he was reading it. So doing that was the icing on the cake. (I passworded my last post, but if you want to read it, let me know. Just a dorky precaution.)
But at the same time, I am pleased about a few things. One is that I finished an article that was very difficult for me to write. That’s an odd thing, because for me writing is like breathing. I pretty much can write any type of text in whatever voice I’m being asked to. I’m an experienced writer—25 years experience—and I produce like one.
But one milieu that has never resonated with me is feature writing. It probably goes back to my botched attempt to study journalism in college. I took not even one course; I stopped going midway through Journalism 101 (if that) and obtained the first F (and unfortunately, not the last) of my college career. (Actually, I pleaded my way into an Incomplete, but later failed to fulfill the requirements on the Incomplete, and that became the F.)
I had a couple of issues with Journalism. One was that the teacher in that particular class was very negative; the highest praise you could get from her was “not bad.” Personally, I am motivated a lot more by praise than criticism, and at the time I would completely fold when criticized. So that didn’t help my enthusiasm for the subject.
But worse than that, I am not a reporter. I don’t have a nose for news, I don’t like to interview people—I don’t even like to call them. I am a person who takes no for an answer and then apologizes for even asking. Furthermore, there’s something about magazine-style writing that I just don’t see myself doing. For the most part, I don’t read magazines, mostly because I don’t enjoy that kind of writing unless it has a very human face on it (for example, Jonathan Franzen’s My Father’s Brain). Given that I don’t read that stuff, writing it doesn’t come naturally to me. It intimidates me, having to collect just the right data and determine what to report and how. And those pithy opening paragraphs…daunting.
But as a favor to a friend (and because it pays well with potential for more work), I took on writing a monthly article for a prestigious organization’s web page. For the first article, that meant research, but no interviews, but it was still painful to get it together. The second article—the one I just finished—meant interviewing three subjects and assembling the results into a tight but fascinating article.
Well it was torture for me, and I love writing. It wasn’t until the last ten times through, when I was nipping and tightening (a process I’m quite comfortable with) that I started to see the thing form into something readable. I sent it off to the friend who’d referred me, and she had minimal markups. Phew. Already one of the interview subjects has read it, and I got an “it looks great” from her. I knew I could do it, or I wouldn’t have taken the job, but never have I been so miserable writing. I’ll get better at it, though. I have to.
So that was one thing I felt pretty good about, despite my otherwise miserable day. The other thing is in the reconnection realm. It’s not any one big thing, but I like finding there are people who I sort of knew who it turns out I quite like. It’s just real pleasant being able to say hi in the hall to some of these folks, have a little chat, and continue on to the next class. I doubt that’s what they were thinking of when they opened Facebook to the world, but that’s how it’s working for me.
Oh, another good thing is that my friend Ron finally read my screenplay and, while I don’t think it’s marketable, he enjoyed it. That’s all I really can hope for, to entertain at least one person.
Because I had this tough day, I’m afraid we’re back to a blog post this Wednesday, so no wheel. But next Wednesday, I have a guest columnist, and I think that’ll be a fun piece.
I had to take a little something to calm down a little while ago, and to quell the headache, and keeping my eyes open is not my list of skills tonight. So good night, thanks for reading, and let’s hope for better days but try to be grateful for what we have.