Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The book, the interview, the BLAHs…

I’m writing this rather late. If you knew what was going on inside my head right now, you’d understand that “rather late” is becoming the norm.

Any idea I had about keeping my life normal through all of this, of sticking with my same patterns when my main pattern of earning a living has gone so askew, was probably a bit naïve, but there you are.

Before I get into how things are going, let me address something about this book I want to write. I think it’s a misunderstanding I’ve fostered, unnecessarily. The book is intended to be a story about people who are trying to understand what success means to them, while their lives are taking decidedly unsuccessful turns. The story is “I want to achieve that but this is happening to me”, a road picture without an onramp.

I guess I’ve made it sound like some highfalutin book of answers but what is of primary interest to me, what has always been of interest, is the questions. Stories, after all, are questions. Anyone who sees a movie runs into this when they ask, “Why don’t they just…” and then realize that if they did – whatever – there’d be no story.

One thing that I’m sure of right now (which is to say I might not be quite so sure of it later) is that success is inadequately defined, and that’s why we have so many problems with it. I don’t believe that success can be measured in any materialistic way of thinking but, at the same time, I applaud anyone who can be satisfied by that.

So, that’s the book.

I went to a job interview today. It was… well, it wasn’t great. This company was hiring its first copywriter and didn’t quite know how to interview me. They weren’t quite sure what a writer does, except for write. They even gave me a math test to take! So, I gave them my best sales pitch and then they thought it would be fun to have me write something. They found someone who wasn’t doing anything and had me interview her.

So, I did.

She didn’t find it very comfortable. I kept seeing this “Why is this stranger asking me so many questions” look on her face.

But I pressed on.

“The nice thing about this company,” she told me, “is that it’s so big. And you don’t realize that.”

“What do you mean?” I asked her.

So, she told me about how she ran into someone she knew outside of work, someone employed there, when she went to a different department.

“How do you know her outside of work?”

“I know her daughter from school,” she answered.

That was odd. Did she go to school with the daughter? Did she have children who went to the school? I was missing the connection. So, I began asking her about the connection and she was very hesitant to tell me. After all, it was personal information. And we’d never met.

“The thing is, Jaclynn,” I said, “I mean, I know we’ve never met, but I’m wondering how you know her daughter and how you know her. You know?”

No, she didn’t.

“Well, do you have kids who go to school with her daughter? Or is the daughter a friend of yours?”

“No,” she exclaimed, as if I was dense. “I go to church there!”

… okay.

It turned out that the school was a private school at the church Jaclynn attended, but fishing out that material was somewhat akin to asking her how large her vibrator was.

Yeah, it was an interesting afternoon.

Maybe I was too abrupt. But then, things haven’t been easy and I feel like I’m wasting a lot of time, trying to find a job. This awful depression has settled over me like a storm and I’m getting tired of these low clouds. I feel like I’ve let Vicky down – I hate that. On top of that, I keep getting rejection letters from agents.

Is it any wonder I’m pondering the concept of success just now?

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