One of my junior-year-of-college roommates was a counselor at a summer camp for diabetic kids. She came home at the end of it with little things she'd made for all of us in their arts and crafts sessions. She said that she had taken a lot of time thinking of things that would be totally appropriate for each of us.
I have no idea all these years later what anybody else's was. But mine was a nicely sanded wood block. On it, in bright yellow paint and lovely calligraphy, was painted the word: WHY?
23 years later, it's still as accurate a one-word description of my essence as any.
This isn't the place to divulge the sordid details -- you don't want to hear it; I don't want to tell it; that's what shrinks are for and I utilize them as needed. But Thursday was 1 year unemployed, the rejections keep rolling in, and it absolutely does eff with your head eventually whether you want it to or not.
Cleaning stuff up and out today, I ran across a folder full of emails from readers. These were my two favorites:
I have laughed at so many of your articles and always thought I should write and tell you how much I enjoy reading them. There is nothing funnier than real life and I laughed so hard reading about your experience in a snowshoe race! I've never tried it for all the reasons you gave in your story so I just want to congratulate you for trying and sharing your funny experiences! Keep up the good writing!
I just wanted to write and let you know that I always check the paper and read your articles first! You have a wonderful talent for writing that seems to be down to earth and enjoyable to read! Thank you!I went to a networking dinner the other night, and when the woman who invited me -- who I'd done a story about -- mentioned that I was the one who had written the story, I got a completely spontaneous round of applause from the rest of the room.
WHY, with a stack full of stuff like that, and recommendations from DAs and circuit court judges and former students and department chairs and bosses and stuff, WHY the hell am I stuck in neutral? One can only blame the economy for so much. One can only blame the death of the newspaper business for so much. I have GOT to have some transferable skills. Why isn't anyone seeing them?
Oh, and just in case you enjoy irony as much as I do: I got a form rejection via email the other day. It was for a copyediting job.
They spelled my name wrong.
The ability to write and properly punctuate standard English is rolling steadily downhill. SOMEBODY has got to need someone who does it well.
And if I sound self-pitying -- well, maybe some. But it's getting harder and harder to try to be positive and resilient and all that good stuff when all there ever is is more of the same bad stuff instead.
I'm trying, I'm trying .... but there really is only so much rejection a girl can take.
Ray Lamontagne -- Be Here Now