Tag Archives: new jobs

The Thought My Soul Appalls

buddhas celebrate My childhood playmates were Gilbert & Sullivan*.

My family saw shows together. That’s what we did. We saw and       produced shows. We subscribed to ART (American Repertory  Theatre) in Cambridge and The Huntington Theater in Boston. We traveled hours to see the College Light Opera Company and drove back the same night. On vacations, we’d squeeze the Baseball Hall of Fame in between Glimmerglass Operas in Cooperstown.

If Gilbert & Sullivan played within three hours of us, we saw it. We bundled in the car, return trip full of patter songs and arguments on the character interpretation or a set piece. I auditioned for NYU with Pinter and was accepted, mostly because I astonished the Dean with my resume, listing only male roles and whores.

Not finding my voice in New York City, I got my license – didn’t really learn how to drive – and ended up in Los Angeles. List of jobs in roughly chronological order: QA for a lotion and scrub factory, personal assistant, Equity Stage Manager, customer service for adult products while stage managing, staffing assistant, director, staffing supervisor, clutter-clearer, recruiter at a not for profit school for kids with special needs, teaching artist, playwright, artistic associate, producer, bum, outreach chair, representative-at-large, career coach, resume re-vamper, consultant, writer.

I know we all mostly are slashers (actor/writer/producer, for example), but this list just feels ridiculous.

As much as some of those day jobs were hated, they fuel my creative bank. Who doesn’t like a good story about temping in an adult products factory? Seriously. Everyone in LA has the crazy day job story. It’s a rite of passage here, like visiting the Getty for the first time or realizing you can’t get to the 101 south from the 134 west.

In May it all added up, when I started calling myself a Storyteller. The title encompasses all the ways I tell stories: outreach, novel, poem, play, PR, resume, blog, branding – and now, I tell stories all day. It’s pretty cool. Honestly, it’s the only thing I actually know how to do. (Did I mention both my parents are also librarians?)

Now that I love every hour of my work, I hope I won’t lose that connection to completely random people in Los Angeles brought only by the day job. That would be a shame. Most of my stories originated within the hours when worth is measured by a time-clock. At least that’s the story I tell myself when I need a temporary gig.

*in case you want more Gilbert & Sullivan – and who doesn’t? Click here.

Work, Work, and Surprise!

Well, what a crazy week this has been!  My first 40-hour workweek in… oh… I don’t even know.  I mean, sure, when I was in grad school juggling two part time jobs, class, and teaching, I pulled in some gnarly hours – but they were varied, they were all over the place – they were almost unquantifiable.

Heading into an office 5 days in a row is new; staying there for 8 hours at a time even stranger.

So imagine my glee at the weekends arrival!  “Ahhh, time to sleep in, time to read, time to (gasp) WRITE!”  because although I spent a fair bit of time this week responding to the insane comments my blog stirred up, I hadn’t really gotten any work done on the script I’m currently revising (and we all know submission season is banging on the door!)

But then I got asked to come in today as well; Orientation is Monday and there are still things to do, and I didn’t even hesitate to jump on board.

This is how I know that I really like my new job.

I guard my writing time like a tiger guards its cubs; I don’t want anyone messing with or infringing upon it.  I get grumpy when I don’t have enough of it, and I get angry at those who try to take it from me… I know, real pretty picture, huh?

Which is why my willingness to head in on my day off surprised the hell out of me…

Although I really aspire to (double gasp) make a living writing and teaching,  and although I hope, Hope, HOPE that this next year brings that dream to fruition in a big way… I am seriously enjoying working at this burgeoning college, running their learning center, and planning student activities.  It’s fun!  It makes me happy.

It’s kind of amazing.

That initial panic that I was wrestling with has kind of faded into an exhilarating kind of high… I won’t be rolling in money, but I will be doing something useful, helpful to students, and enjoyable to me and my little sparkling muse.

So while I don’t think I could pull 40 hour + work weeks every week (woof!) I don’t mind doing it for now… Very soon I’ll be down to the promised part-time schedule, with plenty of days off to devote to my computer; only now, perhaps, with a bit more bounce in my step, and a bit more fuel in my emotional tanks, for although I’m tired at the end of the day, I’ve noticed I’m attacking my tasks with a lot more enthusiasm than weary old, worn out, dejected and unemployed Tiffany was doing.

It seems that feeling useful goes a very long way in feeding the muse.

What a thing to figure out this far into the game 🙂


Nurture vs. A Good Slap in the Face

Sometimes I sit on my sofa watching X-Files reruns with a fist-full of chocolate just because I feel like it…  Lately, I’ve felt like it a lot more.

So much so in fact that I’m thinking I might just  need a good a slap in the face to get my day-dreaming butt back to the keys, because although that Fox Mulder makes me go “mmm,” indulging the inner kicker and screamer can only lead to wider hips and a few cavities.


I don’t know if it’s all the “working” that’s got me so lazy lately, or what, but I get home from my 9-5er and all I want to do is vegitate.  I don’t want to look at my computer, I don’t want to think, I just want to be whisked away by alien-chasing men in well tailored pants… or sit in the back yard with a glass of red wine and look for my own alien adventures in the sky above.

I think that this is why I treasured my unemployment, even as it was landing me on my parents couch; I knew the time was precious.  I knew it wouldn’t always be so easy to spend days, Weeks, MONTHS, writing…

I’ve spoken to several friends lately who find themselves at the mercy of jobless woes, but it’s the artists who seem the least fazed; as though having long ago made peace with the fact lthat they were dedicating themselves to a dance with uncertainty by pursuing their passions.  Eating bologna and corn flakes for a week stinks, but if you’ve done it before the economic crisis/disaster/total and complete meltdown, it’s not like you’re slamming your head against your law degree in abject and stunned anxiety, wondering “How in the world did this happen to me?!”

Oh no, the artist knows unemployment and financial uncertainty are always just outside her door.

I knew it was a risk the moment I signed on to work with a burgeoning Theater Company… and I knew I wasn’t doing myself the most favors by pursuing a string of part-time, temporary positions after that…

But I will always choose art over practicality.  (sigh) It’s just how this cricket jumps.

And it’s why she’s so damned tired now that she has a “real” job to tend to.

In any case, it’s interesting to see how this will inform my writing.  I just wrapped up a play about an unemeployed, heartsick woman ravaged by too much news and the oil spill, and I threw in a census worker (temporary time job # 129), so who knows what will come of this present experience…

If I can just manage to turn off that handsome David Duchovny…