Saturday, November 21, 2009

Up the Nile without a Paddle

So the seasonal work ended up being six days in duration. And that was more than enough.

First of all, I had expected since I was scheduled to work 4 10-hour shifts a week and have 3 days off, that the nonfiction and fiction would happen on the 3 days.

It didn't. The 'fulfillment center' where I was temporarily ensconced (I went there voluntarily, but I still want to say temporarily incarcerated) was as dreadful as I anticipated. I spent the 3 days off dreading going back on and having physical reactions both to walking about 10 miles a day on concrete and to the stress of it (go faster, go faster, go faster... sure, there's a training curve, but go faster...)

On the days I worked, I had about 2 1/2 hours outside sleeping in which I was awake and Rick wasnt home and I wasn't leaving yet.

But the second of all, to go with the first of all, is that the nonfiction didn't necessarily pick back up, though it is, somehow, but that I realized how much I did have to do, and started doing it.

I've freelanced since September 1998. I've worked for myself since July '99. I've had two businesses now, the second ongoing. I have never, no matter how burned out or harried or stressed or desperate for work, not appreciated the ability to do what I love.

I've procrastinated. I've feared the blank page. I've put off projects that are well underway on any given day because starting might mean that day I fail. Starting for the day might mean that I got 5 pages an hour the day before and today I get 2 for 2 hours. I've found myself doing ficiton that doesn't have to be done right then because the deadlined nonfiction is too scary (and vice versa.)

But I've never not appreciated the ability to do it. And now, having worked six days in, I am amazingly grateful for my normal life and my writing. I worked Sunday the 8th, and Monday and Tuesday, all 8 hour nights, from 6 pm to 2:30 a.m., and that Wednesday there wasn't enough work and they sent us home after 2 1/2 hours and I hurt. I'm not in bad shape. I'm a runner. But I hurt from that. I then worked Sunday and Monday of this week, and quit before my third 10-hour shift, Tuesday (that week, for whatever reason, was scheduled to be only 3 days.) I still hurt.

My husband is driving 90 miles to get to a job now, and working nights. I have become nocturnal too, so that I can see him. He leaves at 3 in the afternoon, and I procrastinate and feel guilty and worry that the night's work will suck and everyone will know it.

And I'm grateful for all of it. And night before last I worked 7 hours straight on nonfiction, on something I'm not behind on, and every now and then surfaced from The Zone because I was so happy.

There's no lesson here. Maybe I'm wimpy that I couldn't do seasonal work for an entire season. Maybe I'm lucky to have found enough work to see me through. Maybe it will all dry up and I'll be left with no seasonal work and no paying writing. I doubt that, and the plus will be my feet won't have exploded and my knees won't have swelled up so that they don't bend and I won't still be lost in the warehouse as a computer tells me to go from where I am all the way across two sections to pull one object for shipping and then back again.

I can't even say at least I'm not taking something from someone who needs it - because (so to speak) is still hiring. For everyone starting there, I hope for the best.

But I need to write.

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