March 24, 2010

New Jobs and Paychecks and CARS, Oh My!

I've driven a lot of junk heaps in my time.

First, there was the 1983 baby-blue reliant. The same car that featured in the 'drive-by shooting' scene of some teen flick that was popular at the time (Save The Last Dance, maybe?). Oh, how I wish I had access to my old photo collection so that I could show you how absurd this vehicle was for a 16 year old girl... for a girl... for anyone, really. It was a massive box of an old man car (and was, in retrospect, a safe car to drive, even if it did take 10 minutes to warm up in winter and shuddered dubiously every time it was started up. When it obliged to start up at all).

While it may sound as if this car couldn't have gotten much more glorious, it could. I had to tape black garbage bags over the right side windows after they got shot out by some rich kid's bb gun. They would flap loudly in the breeze at any speed- I got pointed to and laughed at when I pulled up to lights (why it didn't occur to me to cling wrap them so I could actually see around right-hand curves is beyond me).

That car saw me drive myself into my first accident- well, me and half of my best friend's family, when I drove us all (slowly, mind you) over the small icy bridgeway and down into a dry, rocky creek (I'd estimate it was maybe a six-foot plunge). The car flipped in excruciatingly slow motion onto its back like a fallen turtle, leaving us all hanging awkwardly upside-down from our seat belts. The absurdity was exacerbated by the fact that all of my paraphernalia- bras, shin guards, old bags of chips- were hanging like ornaments from every open door and window. It because the Charlton's "favorite Christmas ornament" and sat there for weeks like a giant blue matchstick.

I could go on about the cars that I had after that- my favorite (oh yes, that was meant to be sarcastic) being the gold Volvo with the crank sun-roof- but you get the idea. They were all pretty awful, but they all (more or less) worked. And it is because of those cars that I am so excited about THIS one:

This 2008 Swift is my first new car. My first self-funded car. My first flashy conveyor to freedom. And I think that's worthy of a blog post.

March 16, 2010

Finding Time

I've been kind of bad about posting lately. Probably because, in the past two weeks, I've
A) Started a new, challenging and lovely job, B) Gotten my first 'big girl' car, C) Have had to learn how to drive said car on the left-hand side of the road (while sitting on the left-hand side of the car... is this blowing your mind? D) Umm... I've started a new job. I know I said that already. But really, for me, it's kind of huge.

I'm an Assistant Editor at a publishing company that produces maps and travel guides, which couldn't really be more up my alley. I could bore you with the number of interesting things I've learned in my first two weeks on the job, but I figure I'll stick to the most vital stats.

1. There is a tree in the Kimberley called the shitwood tree. This was mentioned in a guide because apparently, not only does this tree make your campsite stink if you throw a log of it on your fire, but it makes your food taste like... well, you know.

2. There is a website called 'toilet map of Australia' through which you can locate every public toilet that this great nation has to offer. "Add your favorite toilet!" and "Bookmark toilets for future use" were both used in the site's description. I shit you not (pun intended). ((Yes, these are the things that light up my existence.))

Over the past two weeks, my head has been filled with new names and new knowledge. When I'm not working, I'm eating or sleeping (sometimes dreaming about screwing up at work, just for fun). Which brings me to the ultimate writer's dilemma: when the hell am I going to write?!?

I know I'm maybe the zillionth writer who has had to face this problem. There are people who have lots of babies AND full time jobs and still manage to do write (freaks... just kidding?). Who am I to complain, right? I've tried writing before work, but I'm not much of a morning person. My brain (and my creativity) refuse to function before 8AM. Plus that's when I call friends and family and do pre-work things like straighten my hair and make sure I smell fresh. Then there's nighttime, when I'm tired from the day and don't always feel like going to the zone. Writing at night makes my brain come to life, so it becomes kind of difficult to shut it up again. Trying to sleep with my brain running full speed has proven to be a treacherous undertaking. You know when you go into a sort of half-sleep, only to come to and find yourself yelling out nonsense at your confused partner about theses and deadlines and his having FORGOTTEN TO FOLD my laundry?!? (Even when he didn't?) Yeah. Not cute.

So, that leaves me with lunchtime (not ideal), the afternoon (also not ideal), and the beginnings of insomnia.

So how about it, intrepid worker bees? How do you find time for your passions? What have you had to give up or change to make space in your routine for the things you really care about?

Enquiring minds need to know.

March 9, 2010

How Cool Is This?

I found this awesome video clip about the making of a book cover. It seriously makes me want to hurry up and get published AND learn how to do web design. Mostly the getting published thing. As a side note, the book being promoted here falls under a sub-genre (that I just had to Google because I had no idea) called "steampunk". How did I not KNOW about this before?


March 5, 2010

Rambling on Fumes

It's been a while since I last posted because I've been experiencing my first week of professional, full-time work. My head has been too full of new stuff (and my body has been too exhausted) to support almost anything extra curricular. Even so, I was gratified to find that all the writing I've done over the past year has actually helped prepare me for my job. I discovered myself thinking about editing a lot this week (which could be because, well, you know... I'm an editor).

I was asked to go through the final proof of an Atlas of the World. This involved looking through large, information-packed page for teeny tiny errors that someone else may have missed. We're talking errors so small that you think you might be imagining them. I was excited by this task (because I'm just a nerd that way), but was a little overwhelmed by it. And then I remembered what my fabulous tutor (for whom I have already professed my love) told us just a few weeks ago.

"There are two things you need to be when you edit: Detached and Methodical."

As I talked about in one of my latest posts, she taught us that it was a good idea to go through a manuscript with one particular editing task in mind. You're not supposed to let yourself edit for anything else, just that one thing that you've decided to focus on. That's what keeps you from being overwhelmed and from missing the things that you need to fix. I thought about that advice a lot as I went through this task: I did six sweeps of the proof, each time looking for something different. And it worked. I wasn't overwhelmed by the bigness of it. And I found a lot of minute errors that I was thrilled to say I'd picked up on.

So here are two things I learned this week: 1) Editing can be a fun and satisfying experience; you just have to take it one step at a time. 2) I need to get a lot more sleep if I'm ever going to do, you know, the writing that proceeds the editing (and so my blog posts start to make sense again).