Friday, May 7, 2010

What are you doing, where have you been?


I have been working a lot lately- ten, eleven hours a day. Learning how to create graphics and edit photos, editing other people's mistakes and trying to smooth out words that I didn't write.

I really like it. I go to bed each night excited to wake up the next morning and do it all over again. But I hate watching my own writing slide to the side and become an afterthought, and I wonder how many ironic, prolific sentences and stories float through my head and just keep floating through, since I can't pause long enough to catch them.

I wonder about the balance of work and life, or if my eyes will eventually dry up after all this computer screen staring, or how quickly I can develop carpal tunnel syndrome. When I'm really focusing, I hit the mouse and the keyboard so hard and fast that someone asked the other day what video I was playing.

I think of my dog tied up outside, who deserves a life of endless fields and balls thrown at thirty second intervals into deep rivers. If I go too long without taking her on a real adventure, or...um...a walk....I'll compensate by buying her a new toy. Which she ignores in favor of the ball which I won't throw. And then I think, JE-ZUS what the hell kind of mother will I be??

I think of the mountains surrounding this town that I still haven't explored, the houses on the hills in the evening that I still haven't photographed, my friends, freshly out of college exams, skittering off to the lake house and the swimming holes and the Nolichucky playspots.

I know I'm not the only one who works long hours, it's a universal complaint, and anyone who can voice that complaint is lucky, especially in these ridiculous economic times. It's bittersweet to work as a freelancer, with no guarantees about future work so you'd better get while the gettin's good. And no boss hovering over your shoulder, telling you how fast you're coming along, patting you on the back and hitting the stop watch at five o'clock, shouting "drinks on me!" (That's what it's like to work in an office, right?) Where are my witty, prank playing coworkers like the ones in the TV show? Where is my desk mate who plants my cell phone and computer chord in a bowl of jello?

But when you think about it, now is a good time to put in as many hours as possible. Later on, I'll have a beautiful wooden house to keep up, a huge garden to grow and a couple of toddlers bouncing around the house.

I will have those things, right? Those things that I want so ferociously....I mean, it's guaranteed- isn't it?

Can I have that in writing?

2 comments:

Katherine said...

gee, a lot of parallels between motherhood and freelance work! better get used to it, cousin!

Cassandra said...

Helping the kids out of their coats
But wait the babies haven't been born oh
Unpacking the bags and setting up
And planting lilacs and buttercups oh

But in the meantime we've got it hard
Second floor living without a yard
It may be years until the day
My dreams will match up with my pay

I got a man to stick it out
And make a home from a rented house oh
And we'll collect the moments one by one
I guess that's how the future's done oh

(Feist)