And not the kind you send in an e-mail.
Major personal upheavals such as job changes, moves, deaths etc. always involve a period of adjustment. A sense of identity displacement is common — Who am I? What exactly is it I’m supposed to be doing?
Lately, I’ve wrestled with an existential schism that has me questioning pretty much everything I’ve come to take for granted as a self-defining truth.
Heavy, I know.
I’m certainly guilty of a "poverty mindset" — meaning I often compare my accomplishments with those of others, which in turn makes me feel less-than. Yet a realistic appraisal of what I have achieved only seems to suggest further opportunity. It’s just that it’s hard to see where and how.
Somehow, over the last six or so years, I made the transition from musician to writer, and have had the good fortune to see my latter labors rewarded. I never expected to make a living with words, and I probably didn’t have any right to. But now my ego has been conditioned by experience. Damn.
Since giving up my slot on an editorial masthead, I’ve been dipping my toes into the ice-cold waters of freelance writing. I’d always scribed on the side, mostly to keep from getting burned out on a single voice. All I really want to do is expand my base a bit; maybe contribute to a few more magazines and the local alt-newsweekly. Seems pretty reasonable, no?
Perhaps not. I’ve found that the majority of people I’ve attempted to connect with are either way too busy to have anything to do with me, or are just plain callous. Of course, there have been a couple of exceptions.
The struggle is not to take it personally. I mean, I’m a published entertainment writer, not some fresh-faced college kid looking to break into the business. But in reality, I have nothing to prove. I’ve already done this kind of work, and there isn’t a reason beyond an egotistical one to continue. Does the world really need another self-referential, snarky blowhard armed with adjectives and hyphens?
I aspire to bring my skills in alignment with more altruistic endeavors, but I’m unsure what that might look like. Right now, I’m thinking soup kitchen.
Back when I was an editor by title, I did my best to reply to all of the queries sent my way. And let me tell you, a lot of ’em were utterly absurd. Yet I’m sure a few things slipped through the cracks, so it’s easy to imagine my current situation as somehow karmic in nature.
Still, is it that hard to answer a fucking e-mail? I’m a big boy, I can handle rejection. It’s the silence that kills me.
Here’s another example:
A few weeks ago, I had coffee with a big-shot editor at a certain big-shot daily, whose underlings had previously promised me a staff position, only to have it yanked from my grasp at the 11th hour due a previously unmentioned "internal candidate." Although this was a major fucking letdown/inconvenience for me, I took it in stride, and accepted an offer from said editor to meet at a later date.
Did I mention I was originally contacted by them completely unsolicited?
At our little get-together, the dude actually offered me another job, which he told me they were in the process of creating. I’ve sent him two friendly e-mails since then (the first of which was that same day, and simply said "thanks for meeting with me"), but have gotten no replies.
Would that not drive you crazy?
Anyway, I know that rejection is nothing new, especially in this game. So I’m trying to just move forward. Still, I wish I could figure out what the hell it is I’m supposed to be doing right now.
Maybe you’re looking at it.
I’m actually cool with that.