As most of you know (I’m still trying to figure out just who “you” are), I’ve been looking for full-time work for just over a year now. In May 2010 I graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction, and this year has told me that the American job market isn’t looking for artists (call it a self-validating fantasy, but we need them more than ever).
It’s not surprising that I’ve wanted to write about this process, but talking about being unemployed is often construed as whining and an admission of unworthiness, not just by possible employers, but friends and family as well. However, we’re at a point in our culture where we need to be having these conversations openly. I’ll spare the elongated rant, but I think America is still stuck in a meritocracy where money is equated with moral worth. The rich want their fiscal wisdom to be rewarded with tax breaks, and homeless is often synonymous with helpless.
Now, what you’ve all been waiting for: an article on waiting! (not the first time I’ve courted this territory). This is my newest for The Good Men Project, and I’m so glad they’re open to having these conversations.
Here is: “Waiting for the Email That Will Change My Life“:**
I make tea at 10 a.m. It’s what I do to force the day into happening. Meaning that, by the end of the day, when I say, “things happened,” I’m hoping to be able to say, “things happened because of me,” and not just—as it’s been during this stretch of unemployment—“things happened without me.”
An outline of failed attempts to start the day, prior to 10 a.m.:
1. Waking up
4. Checking all three email accounts
5. Then opening Twitter
6. Then going back to the email accounts, waiting for that friggin’ word “Inbox” to look like this: Inbox (1)
What I always hope it’ll look like: Inbox (1 Million Messages that Validate Your Existence)
Now, I put the electric kettle on. While I wait, I line up my brown teapot, and one of four vintage Pyrex mugs. Since it’s a Tuesday, I use the one with the weird black stains on the lip. I save the spotless ones for Thursday and Friday. Friday also means I’m entitled to use my “Friday Spoon”—a square-tipped jam spoon with a filigreed handle, and the only one of its kind in our drawer. Because of its singularity, I perceive it as “the best,” and hope that it’s uniqueness will be the thing that wrenches me out of this broken carousel of waiting.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. For now: the water runs, gets hotter. Read More
**I originally wanted to title this piece “Bitter Tea Sympathy.” I’m glad I didn’t, but I’m still proud of it.