Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The lightened load at work has turned out to last longer than I thought it would. In some ways, this is nice -- "more time to be creative," as my friend Jake says. And he's right, but on the other hand, with about 10 hours less per week than I'm used to, I'm taking a 30% cut on my paychecks. I still have bills to pay, and I'm trying to save what money I can for moving.

The problem is that they've restructured the managerial hierarchy at my store and my position is no longer full-time with benefits. I was grandfathered in because they didn't want to demote me, but in essence they're slowly doing just that. As of January first I was no longer guaranteed full time hours (though the last GM [who transferred to another store] was pretty good about giving them anyway) and as of June I'll no longer earn PTO. So it's pretty much a sinking ship. Good thing I'll be jumping ship soon.

I've started going through my stuff here at the house, attempting the daunting task of sorting it into three categories: what I want to take with me, what I want to store at my parents' house for the next three years, and what I want to just get rid of. And a lot of things fall into the grey area. For example, a tote of scrap fabric: do I bring it with me and anticipate that I'll have the time/desire to do sewing projects? I'm bringing my sewing machine, of course, for practical reasons. And my books: do I only bring the ones I haven't read? Only enough to fit on my bookshelf? Or should I leave the bookshelf and buy another once I get to Baltimore (since I'm going to need another anyway, whenever I settle down)? Three years is a long time. I know I'll be coming back to Michigan periodically, and that if there's anything I can't live without I can get it then... I think I just hate packing and unpacking. I am getting rid of a few things altogether (like some of the endless supply I call my wardrobe). It might help me make a few extra bucks for moving. EBay, here I come...

One thing that's had me in a pretty cheerful mood the last few days though is a story I started writing on Saturday. I finished a draft on Monday and started typing it up; I'd say it's probably the longest completed story draft I've ever done. I'm afraid, though, that it might turn into a novel. I don't want it to be a novel. It's a lot harder to get people to read a novel than it is a short story; they don't publish novels in literary magazines.

Don't get me wrong, one of my life goals is to write a novel. But maybe after I've made some kind of name for myself.

I'm probably worrying needlessly; the whole thing will probably only be 15-20 single-spaced pages completed. I just hope the people reading it are as absorbed as I was when writing it. It's nice to take a break from poetry; I'm going to be writing a lot of that once school starts.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Things have looked up significantly since my last post. Snapped mostly out of whatever "funk" I was in, so to speak. My work schedule is less hectic, and I finally got paid for all those hours. I also got some good news which cheered me. The first being that they chose me for one of the three scholarships, which I learned yesterday morning when I checked my email (a good start to my day) and then today I was informed that a friend of mine who also applied to the UB MFA program and got accepted, has decided after all to attend. So now I will know someone out there in Baltimore; he and his wife will be moving too. I kind of wonder if the people in the program realized how similar our applications were. He and I both went to SVSU and were involved with Cardinal Sins (though he was editor for a semester; I only ever worked on staff) and he works at the press I intern for.

Nonetheless, I have to let that sink in: I'm one of three scholarship recipients for an MFA program in creative writing and publishing, based in part on a portfolio of poetry that I wrote. I guess this counts as validation as a writer (slash publisher).

And the weather yesterday and today was basically as perfect as could be and I got to spend time in it. Went clothes shopping yesterday; had a mudslide and finished a good book today, then took a walk around the neighborhood and had a late lunch with a new friend. Hopefully inventory tonight at work (7pm-3am) doesn't put a damper on my otherwise-good day (anymore than would be expected, anyway, since it is work). Tomorrow's a day off and I've got a couple easy shifts for the weekend before another day off Monday. Good stuff.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I've gotta get out of this place

I woke up this morning feeling strange. My window was open, the sun was shining, the fresh air was blowing in and I didn't have anywhere I had to be (until work this afternoon at 330). These things would usually cheer me, but this morning they didn't. I don't know why, but it all made me feel sort of weary. I think sometime during the night my mind inadvertently moved these things into the category of "tiresome things that happen over and over." The same coffee shop I come to write at with the same people. The same increasingly-awful job that I've had for nearly six years (but with no sort of seniority that I can see; I work six days in a row, starting today, including all day Easter. And the pay isn't particularly great: my raise last year - for the whole year - was a staggering 16 cents). I know I should be grateful for the hours and whatever, but last week was hellish. I despise being given a day's worth of tasks and not being given the time to do them, and that happened four days in a row last week (it seems whoever is forecasting our business trends is terrible at it).

It seems like I'm running out of things to look forward to. I've stumbled into writer's block; the last book I read, while good, was uninspiring, and the book of poetry I started this morning reminds me of all the things I hate about poetry. I guess I've thought of various things to talk about, but nothing I know how to make a good story out of. Maybe I should move early and get to the shell-shock now. Maybe it will eliminate this weary boredom. UB has offered me enough financial aid (mostly in the form of student loans) to live off of without having to work for the year, but I don't want to do that. I have a dream of someday being debt-free. I'm waiting to find out whether I get the scholarship I applied for (should know by next week) so I can plan accordingly. In the meantime I've got to figure out how to get myself out of this funk.