Category Archives: freelancing

It’s True: I Read Playboy for the Articles

imagesHugh Hefner, the publisher of Playboy, died at age 91 on Sept. 27. Loved, reviled, admired, despised, seen as an icon of sexual liberation and a pornography promoter, few people stood in middle ground when discussing him, his empire and his life.

My dad was one of those millions who bought Playboy for something other than the words, and then hid the magazine, figuring the kids would never find it.

He was wrong. And not very good about his hiding places. I found his stash and actually did read them. The naked ladies didn’t mean much. I did not, and do not, look like them, and never associated with anyone who did. I don’t recall feeling personally slighted by the photos. I just never made any real connection to them.

What mattered were the words: the poetry, fiction, short stories and essays by the influential and still unknown. Renown writers I later studied in high school wrote for the magazine: Joseph Heller, John Updike, Norman Mailer, Kurt Vonnegut, Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson and Gabriel Garcia Marquez contributed to Playboy. Women’s writing appeared as well: Ursula Le Guin, Joyce Carol Oates and Germaine Greer. And there was The Interview, where the famous, the illustrious and the controversial agreed to a let-it-all-hang-out-sit-down: Jimmy Carter, Donald Trump, Miles Davis, Bette Davis, Stanley Kubrick, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Siskel and Ebert…the Interviews comprise a time capsule of  history as no other print publication ever captured.

If I write well today, it’s because I was influenced by those early readings, and I am grateful for them. I don’t know how the history of the sexual revolution will handle Hugh Hefner, whether he will be embraced or excluded, but this is one writer happy to acknowledge his daring, at least as far as the written word is concerned.

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Filed under Careers, Current news, death, freelancing

Day One of a Next Life

enjoylifeIt rained all day, courtesy of Tropical Storm Emily. A surprise storm that the TV weather wonks did not see coming, despite their constant bragging about using the latest in advanced radar technology.

But a surprise like this is fine. It’s been a good first day of a different kind of life. I ran, had breakfast and got down to the business of working on what I love – writing. I took a break to clean the bathrooms, went out on some errands, had lunch, worked some more and rode my bike on the indoor trainer before dinner.  My life is still as disciplined as it was when I punched a time clock, but now it is ruled by lists on a legal pad and a pair of white boards in my home office.

I have two interviews for part-time work scheduled this week, along with a volunteer gig that I have looked forward to and missed for a long time. I have given up contact with the standard nine-to-five world, but I’ve already gained a measure of calm and purpose. It’s not the same when you don’t leave the house and go to the same job every day. There is some sense of imbalance, a lack of the sure and steady grip on life. But this is part of the process of scaring myself into doing something bigger, different and more challenging. I was very good AT my last job, and I think I left the office in a better place than it was when I started. But I was not very good FOR that job. I was not forced to think or amaze anyone or use any of the skills I’ve learned in life. I thought about taking a holiday, a kind of “gap week,” to regroup first before moving on. But my energy is good and my mind is ready to head out and get to whatever is next.

 

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Filed under blogging, Careers, charity, employment, freelancing, unemployment

A bread and butter kind of day

You’ve had them, I know.

bread

Calling Dr. Bread and Nurse Butter!

The kind of day where only carbs with a liberal slathering of fats will do.

I’ve had my share of them in the past ten weeks. Some good days and some good job interviews. And some that were not merely forgettable, they were worth walking out on. I mean both the days and the interviews.

But plugging along, working out and planning for what’s next, even if I don’t know exactly what it is, is keeping the brain sane and steady. I’m volunteering this weekend, at the triathlon that started it all for me. It’s a local super sprint, and it’s the one I did last year. The one that scared me the most because it was my first, and lured me into thinking I could keep doing them, because I finished that one. In less than two weeks, triathlon number five takes place, at a venue I know well but never used for competition.

I let myself have some sourdough bread and butter today (OK, “some” is a four-letter word for overdoing it) because I now have to cut back and behave until my own event. I forced myself away from the computer to go outside and kill weeds. I’ve stayed far, far away from the TV pundits and political websites and the outshout-the-other candidate soundbites, though I did go and vote in the state primary.

No TV or newspaper tomorrow. Lots of job searching, prepping for a career fair later this week, freelance work and chores around the house. Oh, and no more bread and butter, at

I let myself have some sourdough bread and butter today (OK, “some” is a four-letter word for overdoing it) because I now have to cut back and behave until my own event. I forced myself away from the computer to go outside and kill weeds. I’ve stayed far, far away from the TV pundits and political websites and the outshout-the-other candidate soundbites, though I did go and vote in the state primary.

No TV or newspaper tomorrow. Lots of job searching, prepping for a career fair later this week, freelance work and chores around the house. Oh, and no more bread and butter, at least for now.

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Filed under athletic competition, employment, Exercise, food, freelancing, mental health, Triathlons, unemployment

Four weeks, still sane…so far

It does not seem that long, but it has been four weeks without a job.

I’m still OK, and busy. Sending out applications and resumes every day, working out more often, and spending less and when I do spend, it’s cash and it’s done with care.

I’m not cutting back much on competitions at this point. Three swim meets, a triathlon and a 10K are on the schedule in the next six weeks. I’d like to add a half-marathon to that, if a job offer comes through. Or a 5K, if it doesn’t. It’s all about price at this point.

I’m taking the opportunity to search outside my employment comfort level, and doing more freelance work. The house has never been cleaner (you can walk into our master bedroom closet now and not fear breaking a toe by tripping on wayward shoes, dropped hangars or misplaced backpacks).

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The time off has afforded the opportunity to photograph local art.

The Husband would probably like the home office to himself more often, but he has exhibited patience and good humor about it (I bribed him with homemade oatmeal raisin cookies).

In spite of advice to the contrary, I have not changed my habits. I still wake up and go to bed at basically the same time I did when working. I still maintain discipline by dressing as if I am working, and having a to-do list each day, with specific tasks to complete. The temptation to curl up on the couch and watch idiot TV programming is getting stronger, I admit, as is the sense of occasional depressive thoughts, such as the notion that not one single employer is ever going to find me or my talents worthy of money. But in the end, as I said at the beginning, I’m still doing OK and working on getting back to work.

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Filed under athletic competition, budget, employment, Exercise, freelancing, inspirations, mental health, unemployment

New Job? Yes! No Compensation…No Thanks

Networking Freelancers

Networking Freelancers (Photo credit: solobasssteve)

I’ve started a serious job search. And while I’m not a veteran at this kind of thing, I’ve done it enough to know that things have changed.

Put it into automotive terms: I’m holding onto the steering wheel, but the car it’s attached to looks a whole lot different.

Early in my working career, we had no social media. No Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other digital assistance for finding job listings, networking, posting a resume, etc. Networking in the old days involved a telephone, actual paper resumés and a lot of drinking in bars. And when a job was posted (in something called a printed newspaper), you faxed your resumé from your office, someone else’s office or a UPS Store. Now, anyone can find a job posting, email, click, attach resumé and hit Send, without ever leaving the comfort of the couch and bag of Cheetos.

And there’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed recently: the idea of working for no pay, just for the possibility of getting one’s work, usually freelance writing, noticed, on someone’s blog, magazine or other publication, for which they are likely earning money. No compensation…um, no thanks. Whatever it is I plan to do from now on, I’d like to get paid for it. I can work for no pay elsewhere; it’s called being a volunteer.

I’m getting the word out to my network, and won’t have an issue trying out part-time gigs, just to see if they are a good fit. I’m not sad or pained by the end of the old working life. I’ve seen it coming for a long time, and kept up the pretense of life support for far too long. I’m getting the money and insurance details in order, and making sure bills are paid off and there’s a good stock of supplies for us and the cats. The Husband was shocked by all this, but handled it well. He saw it coming, and I think he believes I’ll be around the house more. On the contrary, I plan to be busier than ever, I will install a lock on the home office door, and I will find something that makes me want to get up and get to work every day. Never again do I want to feel like a day of work is a four-letter word. And thanks in advance for your support. Oh, and job leads/ideas are also welcome.

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Filed under blogging, employment, freelancing, technology, thought

It’s My Free Time, And I’ll Do What I Want…Maybe

Time Management

Time Management (Photo credit: Intersection Consulting)

No attempted good deed ever goes unpunished in my world.

My schedule is so nuts, I have to plan my free time. Yes, it’s that bad. No, I don’t have kids. Yes, I know those of you who do have it worse. No, I don’t think I can handle hearing just how much worse. I’ve heard the stories; I get it, and I respect you.

I’ve done posts before about the calendars I use and I’ve bemoaned the lack of time to do things I should, like take personal grieving time after my mother died. But recently, a new twist found its way into the scene. I call it the overscheduled-wife-underscheduled-husband syndrome. Maybe you’ve heard of it.

To refresh your collective memory: The Husband (the title I use for my spouse/sometimes better half/the human the cats think is in charge) is retired, and has been for a few years. Monday through Friday, he keeps busy with automotive and house projects, club meetings and whatever household chores I require of him as a tradeoff for continuing to cook his meals. The problem is the weekends. I need to do my stuff. My stuff would be freelance writing, editing and the research that goes with that. I also volunteer when I can fit it in. I do laundry, grocery shop, longer workouts, athletic competitions, paperwork (anything from filing to gathering tax papers to monitoring investments) and household chores that require my personal attention, like cleaning toilets (yes, I’ve asked him to do this. The look he gave me was somewhere between shocked and toxic). The Husband wants to do fun stuff, like shop and go to the beach and car shows. Clearly, he does not have enough to do.

Shop? I hate to shop, unless it’s food-related. There’s something screwy with my girly genetics, and I know it.

The beach? I am at the age where skin preservation is paramount. My sunblock’s SPF is so high, the stuff looks like house paint.

Car shows? Hey, I like nice cars, but only if I can drive it and someone else is buying it for me.

Lately, it’s been about compromise. I give up a few hours on one weekend day, and in return, I usually get the rest to do what I need. I still miss the lazy times when I could sneak in a nap, though. But I’m hopeful. The Husband’s posterior will soon be firmly planted in front of the high-def, watching grown men race fast cars while they avoid immovable objects, like concrete walls. That’s right: NASCAR, Formula 1, IndyCar and all their brethren are heading to our living room. And I’ll get all my weekends back.

 

 

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Filed under employment, Exercise, food, freelancing, Relationships

The Well-Trained Husband Has Come Full Circle

I thought I was the only foodie in the house. Turns out I’ve inadvertently trained my husband to eat in my footsteps.

That’s not meant to make him sound like a submissive sort in any way. But when we met, his taste in cuisine was decidedly average. He was not what you would call an edible explorer, a gourmet gadabout or a food fanatic. He ate to live, and his choices ran to canned, frozen and fast. Then he met my family, and learned about all things Jewish – the lure of latkes, pastrami, knishes, brisket and lox.

Next came the food writing gigs, and the hunger hounds were released. I was the leader for a long while, deciding where to go and what to try, introducing him to new shops, stands and markets. But lately, I’ve been losing a little ground around here.

He’s been finding food-related ads and announcements without my knowledge, and going off exploring places without me. This weekend, he found a store my mother patronized for years in a different location (Doris Italian Market, close to where mom is now in rehab). And he managed to find this place without my help. Go figure.  

I should be annoyed about this. A true foodie hates to be left out of the culinary loop. But I have to admit I am proud of him. His taste in food has improved since the days when he thought cocktail weenies and Spam were at the top of the protein chain. He buys beer from countries not known to produce decent bottles, let alone decent brews. He’ll order something besides lasagna or ravioli in an Italian restaurant; something that used to swim or cluck. And when he thinks of Asian food, he doesn’t look for a Chinese menu; Thai and Vietnamese food are favorites now.

I’m still working on making him understand the glories of garlic, and that God meant for us to eat in any way we can get it.

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