All my adult life when I told people I was a writer I learned to come up with cute, self-deprecating little statements about my chosen path such as, "Yeah, I majored in Liberal Studies and Creative Writing...because I want to make a lot of money," or "Yeah, I edit and write journalism for a living because there isn't a novel factory out there I can just step into and get paid to write..."
However, National Novel Writing Month, which I have participated in this month, is the closest thing to a novel-writing factory I can think of. And like all factory work, pretty soon it becomes grueling; it gets you down; you start wishing you could organize a labor union that would bring in massage therapists for your neck and exotic herbs that would give you the power to write for 24 hours straight and would give you a pay hike up from the zip you're making.
I did it--I've already broken 50,000 words and I technically still have two days to go--and I'm glad. I know that what I wrote has the potential to become something more, much the same way that those weird little colored capsules I used to get as a kid, have the potential to become a big foam dinosaur after you soak them in water overnight. But I'm tired. REALLY tired. Because whereas last month I had time in the spaces between, this month I've spent a great deal of that time at one of them there "real" jobs. Now, I like my job at the bookstore a lot. It's fun, I get access to great books, and I get social contact--something I haven't had in nearly 8 months on a regular basis. I also like being able to find out where to buy things, which mechanic to use, etc...
But working is hard. It's tiring, and if it were any other job at all I would be a ranting, miserable bitch.
Actually today I was a bit of a bitch. I drove to an area north of where we live in California's finest suburbs, cut right out of a mold. You know the kind: the beige houses, the streets and shrubbery and homes all looking so similiar, with multiples of the same stores on every corner, that if you blink or rub your eye, you'll be lost. And I was. I had just come from one big shopping mall, a BIG mistake--never should have gone in--where a saleslady treated me so badly, as if I were a small child with a diaper full of shit and egg salad on my face, that I dropped my product as she was berating me for not understanding my question, said "Forget it" and walked away. I never do that. Normally I would at least say something like, "I think I'll keep looking," but she was blatantly hostile and condescending and something inside me just snapped. That was the state I was in as I headed to try to find the Hospital where E. works and wound up in beige hell.
But despite that, and the skull-pounding drilling outside my window, and how terribly I've slept the last couple nights, and PMS and a headache...I'm in a strangely good mood. I think it's because I've got the day off. Technically, that is.