Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wine, notes in a parking lot, and job thoughts

When I came home from work (late, again) my manuscript was sitting in its beat-up shipping box on the kitchen table, returned from the agent in New York who has had it since July. She wrote something on it about "fascinating premise, but I can't take it on with enthusiasm at this time, best of luck."


(J. Star sighs.)

That's pretty much all I want to write about that, right now.

M and I went out into the wilds of capitalism on steroids that is our local suburban commercial grocery experience tonight to look for e2 lithium camera batteries and some wine for our trip. We didn't find batteries, but we did find wine. From the back of this bottle: "G'day. In Australia Woop Woop means not nearby, remote even. In sourcing fruit for this well-balanced South Eastern Australian Shiraz we went outside our normal territory to blend the best regional attributes into a soft, elegant wine of rich flavours and good palate length. We went to Woop Woop to bring Woop Woop to you. Enjoy Enjoy."

While I'm dubious about the potential quality of this wine (it was cheap and that's some pretty badly written copy), and not the biggest Shiraz drinker (I prefer Cabernet or Merlot, sometimes Chianti), it seemed a fitting wine to bring on a camping trip in a place so desolate it's been called "The Badlands" by every ethnic group who has been near it.

We also bought a load of other stuff. We were stoked to find Mackeson for ten bucks. They charge $17 at Party Source. (And that dope who wrote about Mackeson on Epinions doesn't know what he's blathering about. This beer is the greatest.) They had a good variety in the single-beers cart, for a nice change, and we got some good deals.

On a more depressing note, when we pulled into a parking spot at the grocery, I saw a yellow, crumpled piece of paper lying on the pavement. Being naturally curious about discarded bits of paper, especially ones with handwriting on them, I of course picked it up to have a look. Click the image for bigger view of it. It's not cheery. The fact that the person in whose car it was left crumpled it up and threw it in the parking lot just makes it even worse.

Work is giving me fits lately. When my job is good, it's really really good, and when it's bad, it's awful. It's been the latter for chunks of last week and for all of this week so far. I don't want to write too much about my job for obvious blogger fear reasons, but I've been giving it a lot of thought lately and it's hard not to write about it. I feel torn about the possibility that I have an opportunity to switch to a different position, which would eventually pay better and have many more opportunities for promotions, etc., but I don't know if I want to take the risk that it might suck a whole lot. I also don't know if I want to keep doing what I'm currently doing, proofreading in the trenches, because recently it has not been satisfying. In fact, it's been extremely frustrating. Today it was so frustrating that I threw a stack of papers over my shoulder into the air behind me. They scattered all over the floor and then I had to pick them up and sort them back out and keep working on them.

When I worked with handicapped kids for a living, at least I felt like I had a reason to get up and go to work every day. There was somebody who needed me, if for nothing more menial than to feed him and change his diapers and teach him the difference between the letters "b" and "d." When I had a bad day at that job, it was really, really fucking bad, and bad days at my current job don't even start to hold a candle to bad days at that job. At least with bad days at this job, I don't have to deal with diapers full of diarrhea, or fistfights, or snot and tears and epi-pens and insulin shock and screaming breakdowns.

The important difference, though, is in the good days. A good day at my current job means that things are slow and I get to sit around and read blogs all day. A good day at my former job meant that one of the kids read an entire story aloud with no help, or walked across the whole length of the gym in a walker without stopping to cry about how hard it was, or emptied her piggy bank into the charity small-change jugs set up in the cafeteria. A good day at that job meant I was satisfied that I had made a positive difference in someone else's life. A *really* good day at that job meant that I had finally gotten a kid to understand the concept of money, or time, or that black marks made on a white page weren't just a boring obstacle to be dealt with every day but could be translated into something like "it is time to eat lunch now."

There's surely no satisfaction like that in proofreading copy for the F*ebreze website.

But. I can do nothing about this just at this moment, except think about it, over and over, late into the night.

At least my house was not destroyed in a hurricane. I have a bed to sleep in. I'm glad for it.

I suppose that's all.


At September 08, 2005 12:51 AM, Blogger suleyman said...

Don't get too crunked in the badlands. Them lands is bad.

Never had Mackeson.

Pretty sad little notice there on the Zyrtec stationery. Is that an ukiyoe drawing underneath it??

In the words of William Devaughn, be thankful for what you've got.


At September 08, 2005 1:42 AM, Blogger Sangroncito said...

Here in San Francisco we can buy two-buck chuck at Trader Joe's. Not bad and it gets you drunk.

I hope tomorrow is a good day at your job. And that you have a great camping trip.

And that yellow note is depressing, and more depressing still that some jerk threw it on the ground and littered.

And I hope you enjoy that wine...have a sip for me.

At September 08, 2005 2:23 AM, Blogger Elemmaciltur said...

About your job...I'm sure whatever you do, you'll do the right thing. And things will turn out good. It's a hard decision. Heck, I don't even know if I'd take the plunge when an opportunity comes.

At September 08, 2005 8:09 AM, Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty said...

Sorry to hear that your manuscript was returned, that surely must have been disappointing.
I think Woop Woop sounds interesting, and as an avid Aussie Shiraz consumer, it's hard to find a really bad bottle.
Didn't know that you had worked with disabled certainly are full of surprises!
Enjoy your holidays in the Badlands, would love to see that place!

At September 08, 2005 8:16 AM, Anonymous M said...

I think I read somewhere that you have to send your manuscript to like 60 freakin' publishers or something. So don't take it personally. You're *sniff* destined for greatness. And silken tents with doggie doors. (oof, don't comment before coffee.)
As to the job... it's hard to justify doing something else after doing something like working with handicapped kids (for me it was working in Bolivia), but sometimes we're just not cut out for the emotional carwash. You've gotta keep your head right.

At September 08, 2005 8:58 AM, Blogger cmhl said...

so sorry to hear about your manuscript... maybe it is a "just not the right time YET" kind of a thing.

and that is really a sad note about the dog, and especially that the person who needed to read it obviously didn't think a lot of it..

At September 08, 2005 9:40 AM, Blogger Jenelle said...

Almost every great writer was turned down by publishers the first few times. It's not their fault that they can't see your genious...they're just stupid. Just do not give up. Believe me you've got talent and you will find someone who sees it. *HUG*

At September 08, 2005 12:48 PM, Blogger Raehan said...

Put that manuscript right back in the mail before you have time to second guess it.

That's all I have to say.

At September 08, 2005 12:49 PM, Blogger Spencer said...

Never give up! It will happen.

At September 08, 2005 4:36 PM, Anonymous Heather said...

Aww, sooo sorry to hear about the manuscript news... can I say, like raehan said, stick that right back in the mail before you let yourself have a second though! Someone WILL be thrilled to have it, and that will be the right person.

I get the job dilemma... although I'm not at a professional level of anything, I'd wager it's along the lines of going from doing what I love 11 hours a day 6 and a half days a week (boy can those bad days be bad), to being a waitress. I guess you just make the most of where you are at the moment and figure things out a day at a time; the right answers will come along.

Been telling myself the same thing about the bed to sleep in and house I live in... perspective is key.

Enjoy that trip!! Interested to hear how that Woop Woop is.

At September 08, 2005 7:08 PM, Blogger d.K. said...

I was going to write something like M wrote (above,) but she said it perfectly. And you already know that too - but it doesn't make it any easier to navigate through that process.
I read a lot of blogs for news and information; I read yours for that reason, too, but much more so because I love your writing. There are a few blogs (Sangroncito being another) that I look forward to reading each day because I know I'm going to enjoy the experience. I read the post on your other blog a few days ago - I don't think I left a comment, but it was wonderful. Really good. Keep at it!
And, finally, you sound like you need a good vacation. Nothing works to rejuvenate the spirit like getting the hell out of Dodge. Maybe work won't be quite so frustrating after you've been away from it for a bit. ;-)

At September 08, 2005 10:12 PM, Blogger Indigo said...

I do enjoy shiraz, but merlot is my absolute fav. I'm hosting the wine club tomorrow night at my house, and the wine is merlot. I can't wait to sit around and drink 6 bottles of merlot with girlfriends. (okay, so there are 12 of us, don't go thinking *I'm* personally drinking 6 bottles of wine)

Anyhoo, sorry about the manuscript being returned. That stinks. I think you're a talented writer. :-)

(People who leave their dogs in cars suck.)

At September 09, 2005 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm impressed that you even knew how to get a manuscript to a publisher! It's something I hope to do also, and I figure rejection letters are completely part of the journey. I think of it as starting a unique collection (hey, has anyone published a coffee table book of rejection letters? Now there's an idea!)

P.S. I work in a law office and still have to deal with screaming breakdowns! (not my own)


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