11:51 pm. MONDAY, MAY 19th.
I’ve been in writing mode all day. I haven’t written much, but my mind has been super focused and soaking up everything. My thoughts are toward the future, as in next week, when I come back from my college commencement and return to my bedroom in Queens, my food service job in Chelsea, and absolutely nothing solid in the writing realm. I’m applying to writing jobs, but there’s no guarantee of one working out in the near future, so the question is, what am I going to do?
School’s over. It’s been over since January. If I’m serious about this writing thing (which I have been, without a shadow of a doubt, since middle school, probably earlier), I need to get a move on. I need to write, whether someone tells/asks me to or not, and I need to write well, whether I’m in love with the assignment or not.
And I need to put myself out there.
It’s encouraging, the confidence people have in me when I don’t have it, myself. These past several months, I’ve been something of a turtle, tucked into my shell, too afraid to try because of the possibility of failure, but those I’ve worked under have continually encouraged me: My boss in University Marketing — when I was preparing to leave Taylor, come to New York for this internship, and then do who-knows-what-else — my boss told me there would probably be an opening for a writer, come spring, summer, or fall. “I don’t know exactly what the job description would be, but . . .” Practically a job offer. And the editor I worked under at City Limits, today when I met him over lunch for a recap with feedback, put out the possibility of collaborating on future investigative projects.
Today is the beginning of a revolution. At least, it feels like it. Toward the end of last week, I started writing right before bed, a habit I kept all through high school that played a major role in my development as a writer. I decided that’s a habit I’m bringing back, to make sure I write daily, whether it’s worthless garbage that isn’t worth reading and might as well go straight in the trash, or whether it’s super poetic prose that brings tears to your eyes.
Yesterday, I bought a friend’s self-published e-book and started reading it — to support him and familiarize myself with his work. Three chapters in, I decided I’m going to review it here. I also offered to help him with editing in upcoming projects. Fiction was my first love, the entry drug to writing, and I miss working on it, so I’m going to get back into it — on the editorial side, as well as writing my own again. (Man, I feel like a writer again.)
Today, after talking with my editor from City Limits, finding out I was the first intern he ever had work, for the most part, independently on an investigative project, and discussing various ways of getting into the narrative nonfiction niche professionally, I went to Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue with the purpose of buying a copy of Writer’s Market 2014. Price disparities between the web site and the store brought me to the decision to get it online instead. (I feel like a traitor, but then I remember I saved fifteen bucks — more than an hour’s worth of wages.) Then, looking through the other writing books, I picked up a copy of Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writer’s Guide from the Neiman Foundation at Harvard University. It’s a compilation of professional writers’ contributions on the topic of narrative nonfiction (can you hear the “Hallelujah Chorus?”), covering everything from the ideology (extraordinary ordinary) to methodology (reporting, writing, etc.). Needless to say, I bought it. And immediately began reading. And in no ways regret spending that money.
Then I came home, and though I didn’t write anything substantial until now (unless you count the summaries for my Good Reads post), I was in writing mode the rest of the day. I had a lot to do: cleaning two bathrooms and the kitchen, laundry, two blog posts (this and Good Reads), buying my second Amtrak ticket for my trip, purchasing necessities at CVS, working out (new record: 1.4 in 10:22!). I got it all done, stayed on task, was hardly distracted. And here I am at 12:27, still wired and wanting something else to work on, even though I need to be up in six and a half hours.
Life. I’m getting excited about it again. I don’t have anything specific to look forward to after graduation. It’s kind of wide open while simultaneously closed, because of money matters, but I’m encouraged. Because it doesn’t matter where I am or what I have. I can do good work if I decide to. Today, I decide to.
Monday: Lunch with City Limits editor + all of the above.
Wednesday: Took the Amtrak to Albany and went home.
Thursday: Drove almost twelve hours from upstate New York to Upland, Indiana, with my 17-year-old sister in the passenger seat. Reunited with friends and wingmates.
Friday: Visited my former boss in University Marketing (who reiterated what she’d said in January about the job opening). Graduation rehearsal, more reunions. Senior banquet and chapel service.