Bright Beet

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On Monday, I started a full-time job with outstanding benefits; I sold two paintings at Delicious! the Valley Arts Council‘s exhibit on Thursday, the pumpkin below and the beet above; and I have an article to work on for a magazine I admire. My spouse has begun writing about TV again, and has some solid job leads in his field. I have red low tops to wear while walking outside, but left my heels to stay in the office.

In job searching, nothing works until it does. Advice is usually much more condescending than helpful, I’ve found, even as I offer advice to others searching. We are smug, the employed. We are so much closer to those who aren’t, or aren’t to their desired amount, than we realize. Please let me remember this when I forget it.

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Fake It Til You Become It

I found this TEDTalks: Life Hack episode powerful. Maybe striking a Wonder Woman pose for two minutes in private before my next interview isn’t a bad idea. Even thinking about the body-mind connection has me more relaxed, after a string of can’t-sleep-too-worried nights. I keep assuming that once my work situation betters, I’ll feel better. I should know better than that.

A friend gave me a copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain last week. I can’t wait to see how my drawings improve after I’m done with it.  I’m not usually one for accurate drawings, but I do need to learn how to do them before I can intentionally distort the way I perceive. Anatomy first, wacky later.

A sketch of my copy of the book’s cover art.

Growing Trouble

No life from those seeds. I will need to buy my plants this season.

Things have been trying the past few weeks: our full-time temporary work was cut off suddenly, so we’ve moved into job hunt mode. I had a great interview for a position–I never think so about interviews!–but didn’t even make it to the second round. Loki’s had a rough time since his neutering, and hot spots have landed him in a cone. He’s handling it like a champ, though, staying pretty mellow most of the day.

In good news, I did get two paintings in the Oxford Cultural Arts Commission‘s recent exhibit. These two:

In other good news, a friend introduced me and Ken to The Bugle, my new favorite audio newspaper for a visual world. Andy Zaltzman‘s relentless nihilism has proven a perfect comfort for me when I’m stewing too long in my narcissistic frustrations. At least there’s the meaningless void that undos us all, right?

Maybe better than good news, I’m tucking into the Nag Hammadi library again. After some haphazard writing for the Internet over the previous six months, I’ve realized how much I miss writing about what really matters to me. Apparently what matters to me isn’t geek pop culture or news about space, although who doesn’t like reading about either? No: I need a place to explore paradox, I need to delve into intricate, expansive, unanswerable questions. I need to talk about silly Jesus stories from the 3rd century, so The Apocryphal Devotional shall rise again.

Reaching Goals and Feeling Blue

I’ve been cranky the past few days–Startler and Waldorf cranky, without the smart zingers.

But I’ve got no excuse for it: I’ve written another piece for EcoGeek (so lucky!), and one for a new website, Dorkjuice, on my silly excitement for PAX East, and I have a few more articles about green tech and geek news on the horizon. Be still my heart: I’m writing. I’m writing about topics I’m interested in, and I’m learning to write in new ways for new audiences.

And I’m buzzing with pitch ideas, excited for these new projects. Most of me is blue, though. Inexplicably blue.

It’s strange how good fortune doesn’t necessarily correlate with an all-encompassing happiness boost. I’m moving along in my goals, but these successes haven’t shaken me from some lingering “why-do-I-exist” crisis that everyone must constantly undergo, right?

Right? At least near constantly? Once a week, maybe, do you, too, face down either 1) the strangeness of your upcoming death or 2) the bigger strangeness of your excessively unlikely presently alive status and what can be done with it?

What to do with one’s life doesn’t have to be couched in terms of work, I know. I know it’s possible for people to have vocations and livelihoods that don’t intersect. But do those who find their dream careers still feel these crises lumped in with thoughts of their livelihoods? Do the crises have a different flavor for you, the ones who made it, the people I admire, who do what they love even when it’s hard? Or maybe there are levels of “what am I doing with my life” that those who’ve found their calling still reach when they’re not wholly consumed by purpose.

I’m lucky to be making strides in writing and learning in action, but I still have this core crisis. I could write about that. Maybe it’s inevitable to write about that when it churns like it has been lately.

From Buzzfeed.

Half a Day in the Life

Inspired by reading the daily routines of famous writers and that one by Ben Franklin (which he just could not have kept consistently, right?), I thought I’d investigate my own routines. This is really the morning from a few days ago, but let’s pretend it was yesterday’s:

5:00am: Loki puts forth a persuasive argument in favor of waking up. Refusing to accept its validity, Ken and I defensively point out surface flaws and straw men.

6:45am: He tries to convince us again. (Shoot! I should have gotten up 15 minutes ago!) I get up to take care of his urological and gastrological needs. While he’s eating breakfast (he knocks it out of a toy), I brush my teeth and put some jojoba oil on my face. (Both Ken and I are cursed with dry skin–me from my acne medicine, Ken from his genetic propensity toward psoriasis–aggravated in the winter. Our future children may be smart but skin-problem prone.)

I start my coffee: boil water, grind beans, pour beans, pour water, wait four minutes, and press both together.

7:25am: We all pile into the living room to our respective posts: Ken to the couch to continue sleeping (he works at night); Loki to the window, to watch the world for us; and me, to my laptop. Loki quickly follows Ken back into slumberland.

7:30am: Since I have already started writing this, I bum around the internet a little more quickly, and begin editing an ebook, editing a website, and looking for more gigs. I find one possible job that involves handwriting telemarketing materials. I add that to a list of day-dreamable jobs (ones that give me pause but don’t compel me to apply), like Sports Writer or Maple Sugaring Assistant.

10am: We take Loki to the park and play hide and seek among the trees.

10:45am: We return home, and write to-do lists for the rest of the day. I start making a quick cobb salad for lunch.

12:00pm: Ken and I eat cobb salad, with a valuable lesson learned by noon: there are no quick cobb salads.

On New Year’s Resolutions

Neil Gaiman.

I love the above graphic-ized quote from Neil Gaiman (confirmed his from his Twitter account). The “live as only you can” especially strikes a chord–the part of me that agrees art can be a life. The wish (blessing?) acknowledges that joy, creativity, and surprise–something different–are really what most of us are looking for in the new year. While I might vow to replace all refined sugar at home with agave nectar in 2013, what I really want is transformation. To be and do something different and unexpected. Simultaneously, to change for the better and be more myself.

But I find the resolve isn’t often present when it needs to be. It’s in the daydreamy planning times, the kinds that I’m always indulging in, be it December 31st or May 31st. To change, really, I need to change my behavior in the moment when it counts, and do what I really want to be doing when I don’t feel like doing it. (I remember hearing once that that’s what it means to grow up: to do what’s important even if you don’t want to or feel like it.)

Then Randall Munroe of xckd fame produces this gem:

resolution

For me, ultimately, there’s no sense in New Year’s Resolutions. When I’m ready to change, I will.