Posts tagged musings

1 Notes

Occasional eavesdropping is the best part of working at a coffee joint. Right now, there’s a woman relating a peculiarly sad family history behind me. She’s told her companion about how her father dropped dead and her mother got cancer. It’s also a story about religion, about Judaism. Being Jewish has been a key thread through her life. It helped form her identity as a young woman when hers was the only Jewish family in her suburban town. And now she works for an organization related to Jewish culture. 

I love how willing most people are to tell everything about themselves. I have no idea how close a friend her companion is; I’d guess not very since she doesn’t know the family history. Maybe it’s a work friend, maybe an old schoolmate, maybe a lady from the same synagogue. But whatever the relationship is, this woman is totally at ease sharing her life story, her personal ties, her tragedies, her successes. I can’t see her and I don’t know her name, but I’m fascinated by what she’s saying. Clearly her companion is too, she keeps asking the pertinent questions to keep her talking. 

There are stories everywhere. You can learn about spiritual identity and god in the cafe around the corner if you’re there at the right time and place. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my work and my theology lesson.  

1 Notes

The strangest thing about freelancing so far is how meaningless time is. Not in an existential, empty way, though. It’s just so much more fluid than when I worked a standard job. I’ve let myself drift in and out of very peculiar patterns: turning in at 4 AM and sleeping til noon; working after midnight; spending time reading, cooking, or dancing whenever the spirit moves me. It doesn’t matter if it’s a “normal” time to do any of those activities. I don’t have to think about “normal.” 

It’s disconcerting, and it has taken me some time to come to terms with the level of randomness and spontaneity in my days. Deep down, I’m a creature of habit. But as I’ve gotten used to the new lifestyle, I’ve found I have time for my hobbies again. I’ve found time to play the flute after years of ignoring it. I’ve started gaming in earnest. I’m reading more than ever. And I still spend a good amount of time working and pitching stories. I think this is a sign of job satisfaction.


Why I wish I’d seen Daria as a teenager

I grew up in a house where watching television was a pretty rare occurrence. Almost everything I watched was courtesy of PBS, from Sesame Street to Reading Rainbow to the News Hour (good old Jim Lehrer!). In fact, I never watched TV just for fun until college. 

For the most part, that never bothered me. Sure, I missed out on a few entertainment touchstones, but that didn’t seem to stop me from becoming a culturally savvy person. And then, about a year ago, I was enjoying a mellow Saturday on the couch and poking around on Hulu for something new to watch. 

"Oh," I thought to myself, "I’ve heard good things about that show Daria.” 

The good things could not have been more right. Sure, I hugely appreciate and adore the show now as an adult, but I wish that little teenaged me could have watched it first. Teenaged me wasn’t nearly as curmudgeonly or cynical as the show’s heroine, but boy, could I have used a modern role model like her. 

Instead of TV, I was a reader. My role models were all wonderful and inspiring, but not exactly contemporary. They were princesses, (seriously, lots of princesses), and orphaned girls living on Prince Edward Island

I would never suggest that reading wasn’t worthwhile for me. Not only did it did give me all those heroines to look up to, but it made me into a wildly imaginative kid. It made me want to be a writer when I grew up. 

But I would suggest that for all my parents’ worries about me rotting my brain, Daria would have been a great friend to have too. I was slow to be critical of authority, which really should be a phase for every teenager. I spent too much time working for grades just to get the letter, because that’s what smart girls do. I could have used more of Jane’s artistic temperament and Trent’s lackadaisical attitude toward the small stuff. And I even could have used a teensy bit of Quinn’s interest in fashion, beauty, and dating (man, was I late to the party on those).

So my suggestion to any parents or parents-to-be, is to remember that a little television and a little rebellion are not necessarily bad things for a teenager. It’s hard to live in this world without at least a little bit of both, so you might as well let your kids learn about them early on.