Week Five: bio-rhythms and budgets.

It’s been a busy week, so please excuse my late posting.

This week I’ve been venturing forth in search of fun and friends–from Broadway to the Bowery. Some of you may know that one reason I felt comfortable coming to NYC is that I have friends from various parts of my life who live here. My childhood-summer-camp friend Adam is a Broadway connoisseur who knows the ins and outs of ticketing. He turned me on to a resident discount program. I used it the first time to see an off-off Broadway show called “Stop Kiss” which was up a steep and very narrow stairway to a tiny black-box theater or the Upper West Side.

The play, about an attack on a lesbian couple was very moving and the structure was intriguing. The play moves from the beginning to the climactic scene and then works its way forward and backwards at the same time. So in one scene the two women are meeting and developing their relationship and the next they are in the hospital after the attack. This goes on back and forth which must have been emotionally dizzying for the actresses but they pulled it off very well.

My long-time Maine Bookclub friend, Kim boarded a train and came for a visit. We found two-for-one tickets to “Waitress” (which I’ve been dying to see.) We started the evening at a little bar nearby with the best Cosmopolitan I’ve ever had. Not cheap but very fun.

The next day I used my new Brooklyn geographic knowledge to navigate from my apartment through the Prospect Park trails all the way to the central Brooklyn Library branch. They have a culture pass that offers limited numbers of free museum tickets to card holders. Unfortunately, they are often snagged at the beginning of the month. I’ll have to figure this out.

In the evening, we went to the book launch for Rebecca Traister’s Good and Mad about women’s anger and political change. VOTE!

Yes that is Samantha Bee interviewing Traister! VOTE!

All of these evening events have been changing my biorhythms. In Maine, I woke regularly at 6 a.m., got up to care for children and Lucy dog, and got my day started. Bedtime was rarely later than 10 p.m.

NYC is just timed differently. Events don’t start until 8, 9, or 10. Now, I can easily stay up till one in the morning which means waking between 8-8:30. That throws off eating times (which leads to eating out, $$$) and messes up my productivity. I’m trying to figure it out and find my calm away from the noise and stimuli with walks in the park.

Luckily, book launches tend to be free because I have a lot of author friends. I was so happy to go to the launch of The Splintered Light by New Hampshire author and fellow VCFA alumnus Ginger Johnson! Parents and librarians take notice, this beautifully written book has the tone of DiCamillo and the adventure of Lowry. I’m lugging my hard cover copy with me on the subway all over NY.

Also from VCFA my dear friend Kathy who also came out to support Ginger.

Another Saturday night and I ain’t got nobody…so I took to Twitter where one can search for free events. There I found pop up comedy at a bar in the Bowery. The set list was short which left me wandering. I got seduced by a discount ticket to the New York Comedy club and then blindsided by a two drink minimum. Yikes. I took the non-alcoholic package but still ended up paying handily. The belly-laughs were just what the doctor ordered.

This week I’m trying to establish a budget for time and money, and, you know, still get a job. Cross your fingers for me.

Week three: Just keep swimming.

A huge thank you to the outpouring of love and support I got after last week’s post. Especially to everyone who reminded me of my strength and tenacity.

I now own this:

And this:

Which can only mean one thing…

I have leased an apartment!Pictures to come, hopefully. If you need a change of address for me, please email and I’ll send it along!

Now I’ll be focusing on my freelance work and finding a full time job. I’m applying to restaurants as well. Know someone who should know me? Tell me in the comments.

If you are looking for a NY apartment, here are some lesser-known links I’m paying forward that might be helpful:

  • Leasebreak.com for short-term rentals.
  • TheListingsProject for sublets, rooms, and studio spaces. Geared towards artists.
  • Gypsy Housing NYC is a closed group on Facebook. Great for people in their 20s and 30s. Geared towards artists and theater folks. Especially good if you need a room on an existing lease. Facebook’s “Marketplace” is also helpful.
  • The Roomi app pairs you up with people according to the filtering parameters you set up. You can’t speak directly to that person unless they respond to your initial outreach.
  • Street Easy is the standard and is a great place to start to figure out prices and geography. The map click feature allows you to say where you want to be when you are learning neighborhood names. (Walk a block over and you are in a new real estate neighborhood—very confusing.) Also, scroll all the way down on a listing to see public transportation near by and past rental fees for the space if you’d like to negotiate.

Edited to add:

Miles walked: 22.5

Jobs applied to: 6

Leaving Maine: the good the bad and the ugly.

Good: After three weeks of intensive culling and packing, the UHaul was loaded and we left Brunswick, Maine.

Bad: I realized that I’d been so focused in my own moving bubble that I didn’t really take time to honor, celebrate, and leave the community and place that held me for 24 years.

Ugly: The stress, weird eating patterns over the last week, and exhaustion finally took its toll and did a number on my GI tract. After numerous stops, traffic, and a dose of Pepto, we arrived in NJ too late for the intended storage near New York City. (Plus we were too exhausted to unload anything at that point.) Now my stuff will end up in a Princeton storage unit. Not what I’d hoped but I’m rolling with it.

Rejected: moving forward

Included in the Anna archives that I’ve uncovered while packing–my rejection file. The bulk of these are between 2000 and 2007. After that I got an agent who buffered my rejections through emails. Then I got another agent. More emails. More rejections. I’m working with a third agent now.

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In between agents, I studied and wrote for my MFA. I just read through my packet letters from the pull-no-punches Margaret Bechard. She does not mince words and had some tough love for me about how I needed to stop holding onto old drafts in my revisions, slow down, inhabit characters more deeply, take risks, and not write so sparse when it came to setting and emotion. In reaction, I wrote WOW and 😞 in the margins a lot. That was 2010.

Now it’s 2018. Life has gotten in the way a lot. Or from a different lens, I’ve gotten a lot of new material along the way. Some of the diversions I relished; raising two beautiful young men tops that list. Some of the diversions I needed for economic and intellectual reasons. Others, I think I created because of my fear of my own art. It’s hard to be vulnerable to the deepest parts of ourselves that appear between the lines of the stories we write.

Now I face a new diversion that probably checks all of those boxes (family, growth, money, fear). A move to NYC, a job in publishing (I hope), and new stories. Moving forward.

De-crap-ifying

Step 1: identify that something no longer brings me joy

Step 2: think that I can get money from selling it

Step 3: post it online, bring it to a reseller, put it on my lawn with a price

Step 4: frustrated, realize that it isn’t worth anything

Step 5: bring it Goodwill

Step 6: relief and freedom that I have less

Repeat.

Sexism, language and the difficult job of being an Olympic commentator…

The Olympics are on our home TV most of the time these days and with it has come some interesting and important conversations. My feminist ideology informs my viewing and my commentary of various media and one of my two sons often retorts that I am a conspiracy theorists. Sadly, this Olympics has provided me with prime examples of sexism in reporting.

Sexism undercutting female athletes’ Rio achievements? 

This article from CBS This Morning details the most publicized snafu’s and coded sexism from commentators, explaining women’s achievements in relationship to other men: their husbands, their coaches, and other male athletes. The basic lesson here is that language is inextricably a marker of the systematic inequalities in our society.

Olympics 2016: Battle of the sexes in the unequal language of sport

Those who aren’t convinced can look at this CNN article from Henry Young who describes “new research from the UK’s Cambridge University Press, which has looked at the way we talk about men and women in sport.” How do we talk about men and women? Men are strong, and skilled, women are married, or moms, or have a new uniform designed by X.

Top 10 Most Sexist Things To Occur At The 2016 Rio Olympics So Far

Huffington Post writer Sarah Beauchamp enumerates sexist things ending with the statement from NBC’s Marketing Exec John Miller that (to paraphrase) women like the journey, the narrative of the athlete and not the outcome.

Olympics: NBC exec says women aren’t watching for the actual sports

What does this really mean when the male executives who make our viewing decisions don’t think that women watch sports…for sports?

My son theorizes, in defense of Mr. Miller: He’s probably just going on the demographics data that they have. You don’t like sports?

My response: Why am I here watching the Olympics?

My son: You don’t like watching sports with us other than the Olympics. Like football.

Me: No. I’m not a fan of watching grown men crash into each other violently for three hours with an hour of commercials. I like rowing, and equestrian, and gymnastics, and fencing, and weightlifting. Sports that our US media chooses not to air on a regular basis. Therefore, their demographic numbers are skewed.

My son: But people like football, baseball and basketball.

Me: That’s all they give us.

Son: Because that’s all that’s worth watching.

Me: The decisions to cover and sponsor those sports exclusively came to be when women didn’t have access to sport. Corporate and collegiate money in this country created a pipeline that led to high paying and elite competition for men that was televised.

I didn’t go into the importance of Title IX in trying to alleviate these inequalities. He’s heard it before. The argument continued until I pointed to a prescient comment under one of the articles that observed those who aren’t affected by the inequality often don’t feel the pain of the injury. I recently appreciated a quote,“When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” (I can’t find the attribution although I’ve found it used in a variety of posts and articles.) Basically, my son, and the other folks who rail against evidence of sexism in sports don’t see a problem because it’s not a problem for them.

Being a commentator is difficult. People can take words out of context or lack empathy for the fact that a commentator has one minute to fill with only 10 seconds of real info. Still, that’s what a talking-head signs up for, AND…each commentator has an army of producers and researchers literally in his or her ear to give stats and facts.

Tell me how many hours a day the athlete practices.

Tell me more about the rules of the specific sports.

Tell me (and possible future athletes) about the pipeline for these athletes to get where they are today.

Tell me how this athlete was able to raise the private funds to get where they are today and how other countries do it differently.

Tell me how they get a horse to prance in place.

These are the questions we run to Google for but if NBC was doing its job, we wouldn’t have to.

I’ll leave you with this link to amazing photos of female athletes at the games. Enjoy!

50 Photos That Show The Raw Power Of This Year’s Olympic Women

Only 24 hours in a day. Or 1+1+1+1=100.

Yesterday I got a notification that my blog was having a banner day–surprising since I haven’t posted in two months–and it reminded me how busy the last two months have been. As readers of Creative Chaos might know, I’m almost two years out from a divorce and the economic insecurities that often accompany divorce can be stressful. More on that in a few…

Over the past year I’ve been pleased to find challenging and satisfying work event planning at Maine Share, doing customer service work at LLBean, and event planning at Bowdoin College. All along, I’ve been volunteering as the Program Director with my local rowing club. This spring, they hired me as their part time Head Coach as well and I’ve spent a great deal of time in the last two months on the water teaching adults and teens to scull and sweep row.

JrCoaching

In addition to the coaching and program directing I’m also SUPER happy to have found a part time temporary home at Islandport Press as their Author Relations and Events Coordinator. In this position I’m able to help Islandport authors with social media, blogs, book them in bookstores and festivals, and help create publicity campaigns and events to sell great books. (Shameless plug: please follow Islandport Press on social media.)

Screenshot 2016-07-08 10.59.41

We now rejoin our program of economic insecurity already in progress…

I love what I’m doing. Still, anyone who has juggled a family, writing, and more than one job knows that the sum of the parts feels WAY greater than it should (ie: 1+1+1+1=100) Part of that 100 number is the chasm of unemployment that looms with temporary jobs. Once the rowing season ends, and the temporary position with the publishing house ends I’m on the search again. It’s a feast and famine sensibility so in the last two months I’ve also written and delivered an article to the new Coxing Magazine (so exciting!), given a presentation to the Romance Writers of Maine, and taught a rowing workshop to counselors at a local sleep away camp. I’m the busy ant storing for the winter.

If there is a positive about the looming chasm of unemployment it is that I might actually get back to my works in progress (a middle grade novel 1st draft and 2 PB rewrites) which wait patiently on my computer. I also might be posting more here at Creative Chaos. I will keep you updated. Cheers!

 

April To Be Read Pile

  

 I’m almost done with HOT PTERODACTYL… and can’t wait to tell you about it. Also, I’m currently reading a Sporty Girl Book from gymnast Shawn Johnson that I’ll be reviewing over at Sporty Girl Books blog.  For my adult bookclub I’m supposed to be reading LEMONCHOLY LIFE OF ANNIE ASTER, by Scott Wilbanks, but I got scheduled to work that day so it slipped to the bottom of the pile. 

In addition to these amazing books, I’m also looking forward to new books from Julie Berry, THE PASSION OF DOLSSA, and Kate DiCamillo’s, RAYMIE NIGHTENGALE.  

What’s on your pile!