Thursday, August 29, 2013

Day 466 . . .

So. I’m here, scouring the infinite pages of Craigslist, trying to find a job. It’s hollow, Craigslist. Devoid of anything human, as I’m sure you know. Almost like robots generating pretend listings for the sake of confusing people who are, like me, trying to finding something. A job. A new couch. A tutor for their Autistic son or daughter. A nanny. Whatever it may be.

I have a job. Sort of. I wouldn’t call adjuncting one class a job, but I get paid. And my fellow adjunctees are decent people. The students . . . well, they are what they are. But still, it’s work, and it’s money, and that’s great. Except, as a Master of English (or not, it doesn’t really matter), one class a semester at around $11/hr just doesn’t cut. Not for anyone. You can’t live on $11/hr extreme part-time, it just doesn’t work. Even if you live alone, only eat Top Ramen, have no electricity or TV or water, no cell phone, no car or car insurance or gas, no medical insurance, even then, $11/hr for 15 hours a week, just isn’t enough. And I have a wife. And a kid. How am I supposed to make this work?

The wife, in all her of awesomeness, works too. Because she knows we need her to work. Because I need her to work. Because I am not enough. No matter how hard I try, no matter what work I try to do, it isn’t enough to take care of my family, even with all the schooling I have done.  No schools are hiring. No one wants to publish art, only books that make money, because “literature” is a commodity, something to be bought and sold, to transfer hands only at the expense of materialization and capitalism. But I digress. This is about work, and money, and life, and the fact that it has now been 466 days since graduating, and I’m still living with my parents, still looking for a job, still hoping that I can find something so my wife can quit her inane semi part-time job at Beverly’s to allow her to stay at home with our daughter, being the stay-at-home mother she has always wanted to be, the stay-at-home mother that I want her to be. But, instead, we have to balance our work schedules to watch Katherine, to schedule days with our parents when we need them to watch her, because we can’t do it ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, I think family and community is beautiful. It’s not that. It’s the simple fact that I am unable to provide the necessities of life to take care of myself, let alone my family.

What am I doing wrong? Since graduating, I’ve stayed up on my reading and writing as best I can. I’m a nerd, a super nerd in fact, so I decided that I would keep a master list of all the books I have ever read since graduating with my Master’s. I don’t know why, I just thought it would be cool in 20 years to look back and see what I’ve read. So far, this is what I’ve read (in order oldest to most recent):

-Paradise Lost, 7/1/12
-The Senualist, 7/7/12
-Mere Christianity, 7/15/12
-Everything is Illuminated, 8/9/12
-Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 8/15/12
-Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, 8/25/12
-Mad Cursive, 8/30/12
-What It Is, 8/30/12
-The Witches, 9/8/12
-Enchanted Night, 9/19/12
-The Phantom Tollbooth, 9/28/12
-A Brief History of Time, 10/8/12
-Matilda, 10/17/12
-Hildafolk, 10/31/12
-Everything We Miss, 11/23/12
-The Familiar Beast, 12/5/12
-LotR: The Fellowship of the Ring, 12/23/12
-Piskies, Spriggans, and other Magical Creatures, 1/1/13
-The Art and Craft of Handmade Paper, 1/7/13
-Boy: Tales of Childhood, 1/11/13
-Going Solo, 1/26/13
-The Storylady’s: Italian Tales, 2/2/13
-James and the Giant Peach, 2/13/13
-Griffin & Sabine, 2/26/13
-Sabine’s Notebook, 2/27/13
-The BFG, 2/28/13
-Frog and Toad are Together, 4/21/13
-The Epic of Gilgamesh, 4/23/13
-Sudden Fiction Latino, 5/8/13 (started two year ago)
-The Sandman: The Doll’s House, 5/11/13
-The Sandman: Dream Country, 5/14/13
-The Sandman: Season of Mists, 5/17/13
-Inch, issue 20 (Spring 2013), 5/26/13
-Pour, 5/26/13
-It Is Especially Dangerous to be Conscious of Oneself, 5/26/13
-A Lover’s History of Nevada, 5/28/13
-The Mystery of the Aleph, 6/20/13
-Vigils, 7/22/13
-The Road, 7/25/13
-Danny, Champion of the World, 8/13/13
-House of Leaves, 8/16/13 (started in April)
-How to Shake the Other Man, 8/17/13
-Animal Farm, 8/23/13
-The Hollow Earth, 8/25/13

And, of course, I am currently reading Don Quixote, because, yes, I am that English nerd. It’s a decent list, I think. I feel pretty good about it. I should be reading way more than this, but it’s not bad, I guess.

Then, there’s my writing. I have a few big projects in the works right now, projects that I won’t talk about just yet, because they are too young in the process. But soon. And then there is my personal writing, which to date is almost non-existent because of work, balancing my editor duties, and have a family, all while trying to find another, better, job. But I write, occasionally. Plus, I have a ton of older writings that I submit to literary journals. And I’ve gotten some published. Here is the list of all the pieces and places I have published/been published in (those in bold are forthcoming):

- “Mortuary,” published by Convergence Journal (online), Fall 2011
- “The Book Collector,” published by First Stop Fiction (online), July 2011
- “Dream Burial,” published by In Parentheses, October 2012
- “Forgotten,” published by Midnight Screaming, December 2012
- “Written,” published by Conium Review, February 2013
- “The All-Inclusive Guide on How to Brainwash,” published by Skive Magazine, April 1, 2013
- “Continuums of Appearance: How Social Media Disassociates Possibilities of Seeing,” published by The Black Rabbit, May 2013
- “The Artist,” published by Crack the Spine, (online) June 2013
- “Black Hole,” published by The David Daedalus Internet Experience (online), June 2013
- “The Chase,” published by Calliope Review, Summer 2013
- “Listen,” published by Stinkwaves Magazine, June 2013
- “(De)Constructed,” published by Hidden Animals, July 2013 (online)
- “Steam,” publish by Back to Print, in The seXXX File, August 2013
- “Mortuary,” published by Forgotten Tomb Press in 100 Doors Anthology, 2013
- “Sound of Drums,” published by Indigo Rising, 2013
- “The Power Out,” published by Dreamscape Press (Nuclear Town USA), in Of Beast and Warriors, 2013
- “Hallowe’en,” “Baskets of the Dead,” “Stopping Time,” published by Twisted Dreams, October 2013
- “I Asked a Color Once What Made it a Color,” published in Compose, 2013
- “Chickens,” published by The Binnacle, December 2013
- “Love” and “Social” published in The Encyclopedia Project, 2014
- “Hegemonic Reform,” published in The Stray Branch, 2014

I should feel good about that list. It’s not bad, for an emerging writer. Right? I don’t know. Maybe. If I could, I would show you the list of rejection letters that has led to these few publications. I’m neurotic, so I keep all the rejections. Every. Single. One. The stack (which I keep in a binder, in nice static cling protectors) is over an inch thick, and ever growing. But I should feel good about these publications, so I’m told. My wife is proud of me. My friends congratulate me whenever I mention a new publication. Not sure what my parents think. Well, I know my mother wishes I had become an engineer of some kind, because that was/is what I’m naturally good at. Anyway. I should be proud.

But I’m not.

I’m stressed.
I’m terrified.
I’m sick.
I’m tired.
I’m alone (yet not).
I’m lost.

I’m trying to do my English duty: reading and writing, and furthering the cause of the English language in all of its beauty and splendor and wonder and excitement. As a possessor of a Master’s in English (which I am finding means nothing), I feel like I have a responsibility to language, to texts, to the world on a whole to help in the evolution of this vocalized and textualized communication that we call English. So I read. And I write. And now I even teach a little. I make fun of my friends when they use words incorrectly. I make fun of myself when I use words incorrectly. I melt when I read a beautiful sentence, or hear beautiful lyrics, and I just want to share those lines with everyone. It’s like being in the Matrix, but instead of seeing binary, I see words. And each word has its own unique color, a color that can’t be described or quantified, but can only be experienced. And the world is painted in these word-colors so minutely, that even the most infinitesimal scarps of matter cannot escape the idiomatic vibrancy. We are words, and they are us. One cannot exist without the other. There can be no color without an object to illuminate, and no object can be illuminated without color.

Words are just amazing.

My point in saying this, is that I don’t feel well. I don’t feel good. I feel terrible. I know I can work harder, that I waste my time (on occasion), but I’m not lazy. And I’m not stupid. Yet, here I am, waiting, hoping, praying, that someone, some company, will see my resume that I have sent them, or ask for a CV, and they will say, “Hey, this guy is brilliant, we need this guy;” and then, finally, someone will tell me I am worth something.

I know life isn’t about money. I hate money. Money is the root of all evil (girls are evil too, and I can prove it). But our world, our society, functions on a basic distribution of money. I almost have none. Almost. I know that there are billions of people in the world far worse off than myself. But all I know is what I know, and I know that I don’t feel good about my life, or my position.

466 days, and I’m still here. At the beginning. Or the end. I can’t tell the difference anymore. I should be proud of my accomplishments. Of my gifts and talents. Of my degree, my publications, the work I have been able to produce so far. Of my family, of Katherine and her ridiculous awesomeness and simple happiness. Of my beautiful wife and how much she loves me and our little family, of how much she devotes of herself and her time, always putting the needs of the whole above the wants of the one. Of the simple beauty of the world around me that God has created. But, I can’t. I can’t see past my own hands at the spinning planet that cares nothing for man, for life, for me, but only knows that gravity and orbits carry it through space. I don’t want to care anymore. I don’t want to worry about money, or people, or providing, or whether or not I can make it in this world. I just can’t do it anymore. I’m sick of the worry and the stress. It’s too heavy. I just want to orbit, without care, without complication, to spin around the brightest light in the solar system, and give beauty to those around me.

1 comment:

Justis said...

Oh, I suspect you can.