Adventures In Funemployment

Since the start of the year, maybe it was sometime in January when walking across the two-mile span of the Golden Gate Bridge, dodging flocks of tourists wielding camera-attached narcissticks, and noting the signs telling me that jumping off would be not only fatal but tragic, I have not been “working” at a “job.” The purpose of the quote-marks is to show that I am no longer bound to an office or to a boss, and although I need income because this city is like a money hoover connected to your pocket, for the most part I am now a free agent. Since sometime in January, many applications have been sent out to various employers, so far amounting to nil — apparently it never gets easier to write a cover letter, especially for a job you really want. There have been a few interviews, and as far as projects go I have been working on more book reviews, the latest two (not yet out) have to do with revolution. One deals on the American Revolution, and the other calls for a sexual revolution in the Middle East and North Africa, an entire swath of the globe acronymized as MENA.

One of the things I do is follow the news. Here is an item that just came in: the Senate has confirmed the first Native American woman to be a federal judge. Change happens very slowly on a national scale. Trying to get into journalism school, at CUNY; the other week at the interview one question was, Where do you get your news? Difficult to answer that, since sources are now so various, like pluripotent cells that keep on subdividing. At this moment, near 20 tabs are vying for my attention. A backlog of reading continually piles up. A friend of mine tells me to enjoy the freedom of not being tied to a desk every weekday, staring at a screen. True, but then the issue of money comes back. Not exactly living large these days, but living is not cheap. Anyway, enough of that. The late David Carr — rest in peace, good sir — once said that the cure for writer’s block to start typing, and that’s true as far as it goes. Start clacking and no slacking. Rhyming is not going to be my talent but damn it, why not?

Looking forward — how I despise that phrase, particularly because it is also so useful — to the new version of the New York Times magazine, which has been completely overhauled. How long will it be until nothing gets printed? (Were our eyes meant to absorb pixels? Were human beings meant to sit in cubicles, to borrow a question from a certain cult film classic?) Tangents do not bother me, folks. But it is time to check for the track from which this departed, and loop back to where it was going… yes, adventures in funemployment, which was the first headline that came to mind. Even though the ever-present temptation is to sink into a posture of cynicism and snark, often remind myself to count the blessings, especially everything you take for granted. Otherwise there goes the path to obliviousness, the defensive crouch of a wandering soul who is not aware of how good things are even if there is no “career prospect” waiting around the corner. Not yet.

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