In Ottawa

So: a number of people (okay, three) have asked me what happened to my blog, where did all the content go, etc. I’m flattered that anyone noticed that it not only hasn’t been updated in a long while, but that it sort of… disappeared. The answer I’ve given them is that I’ve removed/made private the majority of the posts as I figure out what I want to do with it. This is true, but it is also true that making a decision like that is rather daunting, so I’ve decided to go with the obvious. Maybe this one will stick! I present my current theme:

Being in Ottawa.

This is really easy as I am in Ottawa and foresee myself, barring any miracles, being here for at least a couple more years. It is also a convenient way of keeping friends and family updated (“haha!” you laugh) without having to resort to putting everything on, say, Facebook. The fun thing about a blog rather than a site like Facebook is that I have the illusion of greater privacy/control despite the fact that this is blasted all over the Internet and is searchable (“googleable,” even). Perhaps I will explore the odd irrationality of that feeling later as I fear I am already veering off course.

So! Ottawa. I live here. I am finally, in conversations when travelling, “from Ottawa.” It took a long time for me to feel comfortable saying that, and perhaps I only really did once I realized that I’ve lived in Ottawa longer than I lived in Toronto. Still, Toronto leaves a mark on people, I’ve noticed, an identity hard to remove even if I wanted it gone. Part of me feels like my absence from there is only temporary and that I will return one day, but of course there are no guarantees and I am here now. I might as well live where I am, no? Part of the trouble is that although I lived in Montreal for six years, I very quickly lost any sense of being a Montrealer, or even being from Quebec at all despite having lived in the province from age five or so. Toronto, for whatever reason, fit me better and it has been hard to shake the feeling of being from there despite not really having been from there at all.

Here I am in Ottawa, though. Oh, also, I’m pregnant (yay!), so my child’s passport will forever be marked by Ottawa. I’d better get cozy with the place. Part of this, however, means trying to actually figure out just what this place is and just what it is not. The longer I’m here, the more I realize that some of the initial assumptions I’d had about the place are wrong — in a good way — but infuriatingly, many of the people who live here cling to those same ideas about the city as gospel. Through casual conversation, I’ve come to learn that many of the people who live here think that Ottawa is, specifically compared with Toronto or Montreal,

1) Sleepy or slow

2) At one with nature/green

3) Particularly active/outdoorsy

4) A place where you need a car

5) Family-friendly

6) Small

7) (Primarily) a government town

8) Conservative, in the political sense

I suppose there are elements of truth to each of the above, but surprise, surprise, the truth is a bit more complicated. At least, what I’ve made of the city is a bit more complicated. I’ve had the privilege of doing a lot of travelling in the last few years (New York and cities in Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand just in the last year!), which has provoked a lot of thought on my part regarding what I like/dislike and need/really don’t need in a city. For example: as a non-driver, good public transit is pretty much always at the top of my list. Parking, not so much, though I’m sure for drivers that is at the top of their list. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but everything is subjective.

Because everything is subjective, a few things about me in no particular order to help provide a sense of my demographic:

1) I’m pregnant, as I mentioned. I did not mention, however, that this is my first child and that my husband and I have no family in Ottawa.

2) I am a woman in the latter half of my twenties.

3) As should be clear from 1), I’m married.

4) I have a BA and an MA (McGill: English lit and UofT: medieval studies, if you were at all wondering).

5) I don’t drive. I never have. I don’t foresee myself doing so in the immediate future but it is not outside the realm of possibilities. My husband also does not drive. He knows how to, but I’ve never actually seen him drive and we’ve known each other for about eight years.

6) I lean left, as they say. I am, however, right-handed.

7) I grew up in the suburbs of Quebec City and left as soon as I could. Before anyone asks, my French is terrible. I was born in Winnipeg and have also lived in Montreal, Vancouver (for a summer), Toronto, and (of course) Ottawa.

8) I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot in my twenties. I also travelled a lot as a child, but I don’t think that counts as much.

9) Gluten makes me ill. This probably seems like a random thing to include, but it does affect my experiences in different places.

10) I work from home. Mostly editing, but some writing as well.

11) I lost my not-even-two-months-old iPhone the other day somewhere between the taxi from the train station and my home. This makes me sad and also makes me realize how irrationally happy I was to have an iPhone, probably because I’m a loser and don’t have any friends in Ottawa. If you’re in Ottawa and found a white iPhone 4s in a black case, let me know.

And that is about it.

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Am I a secret NARCISSIST? Are YOU?

Short answer: I don’t think so…? I hope not…?

My sister linked to this Huffington Post article today.  I think that pretty much anything from the Huffington Post is hilarious, but this especially so.

“23 Signs You’re Secretly a Narcissist Masquerading as a Sensitive Introvert.”

Admittedly, I don’t know who Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., is, nor do I know whether it was his choice to include the “Ph.D.” But tacking on Ph.D. in this way makes him look, well, like an insecure narcissist. I do think that this whole argument about overt and covert narcissists is silly, though, especially the little quiz at the end (for the record: according to this test, I am not a narcissist). This question bugs me in particular: “Even when I am in a group of friends, I often feel very alone and uneasy.” I am no expert, and certainly not a PhD, but what on earth does that have to do with narcissism, or even introversion? It sounds more like depression and alienation to me. Feeling alone in a group of friends suggests a yearning for connection, something that can strike extroverts and introverts alike (or so I assume). I can imagine that a narcissist might feel “alone” in the sense of having “no true peers,” but uneasy? Bah.

Aside from the quiz, though, I take issue with further dividing people into these kinds of categories. What does it serve, other than navel-gazing? What do any of these divisions contribute? [An aside: I took one of those MBTI tests in school and a few times on the Internet, each time coming back as INTJ (supposedly the super special rarest type). I've met several others who have tested as INTJ. This seems suspicious to me. It suggests to me that either I happen to magically attract people of the same type or the whole super-special-rareness thing, and the test itself, is a load of crock.] So now we have extroverts, introverts, secret-narcissists-who-aren’t-really-introverts (because you can’t be an introverted narcissist, right?), sensitive types, anxious types, overt narcissists… and so forth. Why can’t we just say that some people are full of themselves and leave it at that? And at what point is someone crippled by anxiety and feelings of worthlessness and at what point is he or she simply obsessed with him or herself? And why is it worse to be a covert narcissist than an overt narcissist?

Now, I’m sure there are genuine narcissists out there. It is true that some narcissists like to wallow about being misunderstood (teenagers and anyone with a blog ahahahaha).  I don’t like the idea, however, of suggesting that those who think of themselves as sensitive introverts are secretly narcissists, and the worst kind of narcissist at that. It could be true for all I know, but I’m not dealing with facts, damn it. And why make that assumption about people?

No, I suspect that this load of nonsense is really a way for overbearing extroverts to make themselves feel better about making their more introverted conversation partners feel unattended and trampled upon. Has your quiet friend suddenly snapped and told you that he or she feels misunderstood, as if his or her feelings don’t matter? Must be a narcissist. Has he told you that he doesn’t feel comfortable in a crowd? Has she told you she feels insecure? Narcissists.

To be fair, this is from the article:

Let’s clarify something here: Narcissism is definitely not the same thing as introversion.

Have you ever met someone who constantly tells you how “sensitive” and “introverted” they are, but all you actually see is selfishness and egocentricity? I’m sure you have, because these people exist in spades.

While the “overt” narcissists tended to be aggressive, self-aggrandizing, exploitative, and have extreme delusions of grandeur and a need for attention, “covert” narcissists were more prone to feelings of neglect or belittlement, hypersensitivity, anxiety, and delusions of persecution.

Well… okay… except that this still all comes down to perception. A well-adjusted person sees someone who seems to be suffering (because who wants to feel neglected, belittled, hypersensitive, anxious, or persecuted?) and decides, oh wow, look how obsessed this guy is with his own feelings and state of mind. Must be a narcissist. Why can’t he just get over himself?

Aren’t we beyond this by now? Aren’t we beyond telling those suffering from depression to just get some exercise? There are serious issues here, ones that can have tragic consequences, and brushing it off as covert narcissism helps no one. Those symptoms of covert narcissism listed by the author are a pretty big deal: anyone identifying with that list should seek help.

But really, this is a Huffington Post article, so I wasn’t expecting much. More than anything I’m surprised they didn’t take it as an excuse for some hipster-mocking.

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Interview: My mom, on moving back to Winnipeg after 20 years away

I spoke with my mother about her recent move back to Winnipeg, Manitoba after having moved to Quebec City (and then Toronto) over 20 years ago. What’s it like to return to one’s hometown? Is Winnipeg a nice city? A crime-ridden cesspool? Find out!

How long has it been since you last lived in Winnipeg?

I moved away when I was 31. I’ve been away for 21 years.

What brought you back?

I found myself with an opportunity to be back with my family: my mom, and my sister and cousins. I was living alone in Toronto and figured I would move back to Winnipeg because I had family here and also because the cost of living was I would say maybe a third of that of Toronto.

Even though you grew up in Winnipeg, did you experience any culture shock when you came back?

I had culture shock from where I was used to living, but I knew what I was getting into. I knew there’d be no walk-friendly places. Mind you, I was only three years in Toronto and I was 18 years in Quebec City. In Quebec City, I needed a car where I lived as well. Quebec City is a much cleaner and more historic city; Toronto is more happening. The [driving] lifestyle in Quebec City and the cold winters were things I was used to. But as far as [comparing] Toronto goes, [in] Winnipeg there’s no walking at night, there’s no feeling of security. So in that sense, yes, there was culture shock.

Do you like Winnipeg?

I’m growing to like it. I don’t dislike it: I just think they could do so many things different[ly] to make it more people-friendly. But I haven’t had a bad time here. Of course, there’s certain things you miss about the different places you’ve lived, but there’s such a sense of familiarity here for me.

Has Winnipeg changed a lot?

It’s more city-like. They’re starting to build big condos and they’re starting to do things that other cities are doing – however, I would say that it’s remained the same more than it has changed.

Do you think that’s a bad thing?

I don’t think it’s a bad thing, I just think that I’ve seen the way a couple of other cities are and I see where there needs to be improvement. To me it seems like such a simple thing and yet it hasn’t happened.

What do you think could be done to improve Winnipeg?

I think they could improve people’s ability to go out at night by having things [stay] open. It’s a city that shuts down because people are afraid of crime. Everything is closed down. If everybody stayed open at the same time – bang! our hours are changed, we’re staying open, we’re not going to be afraid – you would have more people out on the street, more people shopping, witnesses. The criminals would go someplace else or go into hiding.

What else could be changed?

I think they could change the lighting. Again, it points back to crime. Everything is just open for criminals: “It’s dark here. Let’s hover. Let’s steal. Let’s rob. Let’s kill.”

Do you think that Winnipeg’s primary problem is crime?

Yes. Absolutely. Take away that crime, and I think this is a great city. People would be out and about and there would be more things to do. People wouldn’t be afraid.

You seem to think that crime deterrence is strongly connected to improving infrastructure.

For sure. Things are spaced out, things are dark. But even the crime downtown is because everybody just goes home. The stores close at five or six. Everything closes, and so out come the people who are just hanging around doing nothing but bad things. There are a lot of gang things going on here. However: I did hear on the news today that crime has dropped significantly this past year – by a lot. I don’t know why. Maybe there are more police officers out on the streets, maybe more officers patrolling.

Do you feel unsafe in Winnipeg?

I’m not afraid, [but] I’m also careful. When I was in Toronto, if I came home at 10 o’clock at night on the bus, I might look over my shoulder now and again if I heard something, but you know, I wasn’t afraid to walk. Here, at dusk, you don’t go walking the streets. It’s just not heard of. Now, I know there are better places [in Winnipeg] than where I’m living where I probably would feel okay doing that.

Which neighbourhood do you live in?

Point Douglas. I’ve always known it as “West,” though. Between the North End and the West End. It’s at the crux of everything. You go over the bridge and things get better quickly.

What do you like about Winnipeg?

I like the cost of living, although it is going up. I like the fact that everything feels familiar. I guess that’s the thing I like most about Winnipeg, that I can go down the street and say, “Oh yeah, I walked that street when I was 15.” I have a memory. So maybe it’s the memory that I like more than the city.

Do you regret ever leaving in the first place?

No, I don’t. I probably wouldn’t be the same person had I not left. You get caught up in things. I’ve learned a lot by being away.

Do you think you’ll stay in Winnipeg forever?

I can’t say that. I know that I’m here for a couple of years, anyway. A few years. I’ve got a good job. I don’t see myself moving in the near future. I’d like to move to a different location in the city, though. Right now my dilemma is, do I move to the outskirts where there’s less crime and I could have a little garden, or do I move where things are starting to pick up and things have started happening? But then the cost of living goes up and I’m not in a financial situation — you know, one of the reasons I came here is because the cost of living is lower. If I end up making a huge mortgage payment, I’ve defeated the purpose of ever moving here, as far as financial reasons are concerned.

Any last thoughts about Winnipeg?

I have hope for Winnipeg. I see them building skyscrapers, I see them building, and I really think [things are] on the up. I would like to stick around a few years and watch the city grow.

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Interview: John Hurley, Director (Ready, Set, Go! Theatre Co.)

John Robert Hurley is an up-and-coming director based out of New York City. I interviewed him this Easter weekend while hanging out in Brooklyn. Learn all his secrets! Learn how to teach Shakespeare! Learn about directing!

You are a director with the Ready, Set, Go! Theatre Co. What was your most recent project with them?

Othello: The Webseries.”

What did that involve?

We made the world’s first Shakespeare webseries as a tool for high school teachers, who are required by state and federal law to teach Shakespeare.

Why was this important?

The methodology for teaching Shakespeare has not really changed in the last hundred years. A lot of schools these days try to solve problems by throwing money at them, so they get a lot of technology grants, which benefit, perhaps, math and science teachers. For English teachers, there aren’t a lot of tools to make use of the technology.

Where does “Othello” fall into this?

“Othello: The Webseries” allows the students to view an episodic version of the story presented using characters and costumes that are more familiar to them than a classic dress production. Also, we go into the schools to work with the teachers so that the students can make their own visual interpretations. Depending on what [resources] the school has available, some of the students have made YouTube channels and done video interpretations of the story. They have to film a scene or a monologue and write the Shakespearean text into their own vernacular. And if the school doesn’t have the technology to film that or to put it on the internet, then it becomes more of a live performance for the students; or if they don’t have the time, it becomes a written project – translating the monologue into their own vernacular. But the idea is that they realize that the language is accessible and that they can actually express themselves more clearly using complex language construction rather than like the rest of society, [which] insists on simplification.

Have you heard back from any students directly about their experience with the material?

Not as of yet because this is all fairly new. We’re in the process right now of working with the students. Part of that process is debriefing them, which we will be doing in the next couple of months to find out what their experience was so that we can understand what they are getting and what they’re not getting and adjust our pedagogy accordingly.

Have you spoken with any of the teachers?

The teachers are all very excited because they’re trying to reach a generation raised in a world of flashing lights and sound bites, and they’re trying to convince these students that this text from 500 years ago is valuable and is relevant to their world, their lives. Reading the play and watching a Zeffirelli film is not perhaps the most efficient or effective way to do so. [With] a production of Shakespeare where the acting is good [and] the costuming is fairly close to what the students themselves are wearing, you’re lowering perceived hurdles that [the students] have to jump in order to “get it.” I think a lot of students come in already believing that they, A, won’t get it, or B, that there’s nothing to get – that it’s just a dusty old, archaic relic that they’re being forced to study. So by presenting it in a way that appeals to them, you’re meeting them on their own turf; instead of making them come to you, you’re trying to meet them half-way [so they can] understand that the language and the stories are very complex and live on an emotional level that we’re not very comfortable with, especially in the United States. You’ve got to meet them somewhere, because [if] you’re teaching them how to communicate in this way, you can’t expect them to already know. You have to lay it out in pictures, in a sense, because the language is very hard to “get” as just text.

Do you worry that by doing Shakespeare so “modern” that you’re dumbing it down?

No, I don’t think we’re dumbing it down. I think this is a conception that people have, that if your characters are not actual kings of a country or an industry or something, then you’ve removed the nobility or have removed the stakes from the play. But a teenage individual lives with these stakes much more often than the rest of us do, because to them everything is life and death. Everything is that serious, because they have no concept of scale. Every day is full of comedy and tragedy. Or at least it was for me as a teenager. Everything was super serious and everything was really funny at the same time. So I think by presenting these characters as something closer to a run-of-the-mill person, so to speak, someone who is at least existing within the world of students and not in some realm they’re unfamiliar with, you’re not only making it more accessible to them, you are validating their lives and the role of literature in their lives. Literature can portray them as well as kings and queens; these stakes exist for all of humanity and not just the nobility and the gods and the people who lived 600 years ago. These things still exist and they’re still relevant today.

You are also working on Tony Kushner’s “Slavs!” with university students as a guest director at Roanoke College in Virginia. What can you say about that project?

It’s very interesting. I’ve been in New York since 2007 and only working with people who really, really want to be actors and have really put a lot of effort into being actors, and take themselves very seriously as actors, for the most part. So to go to an undergraduate university where the majority of my cast are not even Theatre Majors was an interesting challenge. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by how dedicated they are to doing the foundational work to make the play fly. They got off book quicker than any of my casts here in New York have, hands down. They really put in the work to get themselves ready, and they’re doing some very good work. There are a few people who are less committed and who are more interested in the applause than the work – and it shows – but for the most part, they’re very genuine, very committed to what they’re doing.

How is it for you from a teaching perspective?

It’s interesting, because they don’t know, you know? They are flying by the seat of their pants, as far as how to do what they’re doing as actors. They don’t have any technique or proven methodology that has helped them in the past. It’s all new to them. So you spend a lot of time coaxing and coaching and educating them about very basic elements of being an effective actor, from things as simple as how to move around a stage, because they don’t have the experience of working a room, like a well-experienced actor has. An actor who’s been on stage a hundred times knows how to work a crowd. It’s just innate in the way they present themselves. But to someone who’s doing it for the first, or maybe the fifth, time, it’s something that they have to concentrate on. Where am I standing? Where am I looking? Where is my light? Where is the audience? So that’s interesting.

What’s a particular challenge for non-professional or student actors?

We had a rehearsal the other night where all three of the actors, who know their lines, were having a very tough time remembering their lines. All three of them were very present in the scene, and they were listening, and they were responding to each other, and true emotions began to happen. Because they’re so unused to dealing with real emotion in their lives, the way their body combats it is in dropping the lines: in order to squash the emotion, the brain takes away the lines. It forces them to stop what they’re doing and search for the line. As an actor, you have to learn that when the emotion comes, you have to keep fighting to communicate with your scene partner and that it’s okay to fumble for the line. They were getting so frustrated with themselves about dropping their lines rather than just remaining present with their scene partner and continuing to try to communicate, rather than trying to get the line “word-perfect.”

How do you talk to actors about emotion?

Something I say to actors a lot is, “You know when you’re upset with someone, but you’re trying to communicate with them – all characters in every play ever written are trying to communicate with each other – you might be angry, but you’re trying to keep a lid on it so that you can continue to communicate.” But in order for an actor to create that on stage, first they have to let it go. They have to take the lid off and find out what that is. And only once they create that thing, can they then try to keep a lid on it. But if they try first to go to the place of keeping a lid, then it’ll never work because you don’t know what you’re fighting against. You’re just shadowboxing at that point.

How would you compare teaching through something like “Slavs!” with trying to teach Shakespeare through video?

The topics are different but the technique is similar. If you want to teach something complex, or if you want to create something complex, the method is the same: you have to create layers of simplicity, either in the creativity or in the understanding. So if you want to teach someone about “Othello,” you can’t start by telling them all of the nuances. You have to start with A happens and then B happens and then C happens and then D happens. And then we go back: and then A-and-a-half happens, and then A-and-two-thirds happens. So that by beginning from simplicity, you can create a complex whole, either in your creative process or in your understanding. If you’re directing something that needs to be very subtle and very nuanced, you can’t go there immediately. You have to build around grand gestures and grand emotion. Then you try to pull it back, or then you try to refine it. But if you try to go for the refined version first, it’ll never work.

Do you think that directing always involves some kind of teaching?

To a certain extent – especially depending on the play. With a play like “Slavs!”, if you’re directing it in Virginia, whether with a professional company or with students, like I am, there’s a tremendous amount of historical and sociological background that must be understood in order to understand what you’re saying as the character. So unless you have a dramaturge, it is you who is teaching them the history that is involved. I don’t think directing always involves teaching [though] because when you have good actors who are professional and have their own technique and methodology, then they are giving you clay to mould. And so then the relationship is not about teacher and student, it’s a sculptor and clay, where you respect the material and its capabilities and craft out of it. Like they say about marble, you remove the pieces that aren’t there in the sculpture.

What is the difference between working with professional actors and student actors?

A professional actor is providing you the material that you need, whereas with a student actor, you are teaching them how to provide the material. You are teaching them what it means to be a professional actor: to come in and not wait for the director to tell you what to do but to give him or her something to work with. I enjoy both, but it’s especially exhilarating to work with an actor who you are just refining what they’re giving you, or when a student actor begins to inspire you because they’re truly beginning to work. I find that particularly exhilarating. One of the examples I always point to is actually Jessica [Ranville]. When I worked with her in her final year of grad school, by the time the performance came around, I had no idea what she was going to do each night, I just knew it would be right. That was extremely rewarding as a director, to be able to sit there and be surprised by your own work. To me, the ideal situation as a director is that you’ve provided a stage for them to work on, and together you’ve defined the world and the stage in its relationship. And then you set them free.

Last question: what’s next?

We begin casting for “Romeo and Juliet” when I finish “Slavs!”, which will be our next webseries, and then we go from there.

 

Many thanks to John Hurley for being a good sport! “Slavs!” runs April 10 to 13, 7:30pm at Olin Hall, Roanoke College, Virginia.

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You should watch the Othello webseries, it’s good for you

Do you like Shakespeare?

There’s a lovely project going on right now that is based out of that whimsical neighbourhood, Park Slope of NYC, in which I stayed this weekend (my sister is all legit and lives in a loft with artistic theatre types). So if you like Shakespeare (and Othello especially) then watch…:

I’ve never been all “oooh Shakespeare…! <3″ as I’m more of a Chaucer type, BUT this is

  1. Very well executed. I hate over-acted Shakespeare. I also hate over-acted poetry readings–you know the type. And as Shakespeare is poetry, people tend to over-act it. So I appreciate any Shakespeare that allows the meter to manifest naturally.
  2. A clever use of current technology. All it needs is a twitter account to round it out.
  3. THE great choice for a contemporary take on Shakespeare is undoubtedly Othello.
  4. Also, I know the director, but don’t let that sway you because as my theatrey friends and family all know, I am a curmudgeon and notoriously (exasperatingly) difficult to please when it comes to all that.

Anyway I look forward to the rest of it, and you should too. Indeed, why do more people not use YouTube to showcase work that is in the public domain?! Why do we have people’s cat videos and bad pop covers but not more Shakespeare? Or hiLARious readings of Chaucer? Or adaptations of classic novels? Or somesuch? Is it because people are more interested in consuming content than creating it? Surely not, or we wouldn’t have the bad covers and random pet videos. I guess people just don’t want to undertake larger projects? I’m really not sure, but I do wish that more people would use public domain materials in fun and interesting ways. We are so lucky now with our YouTubes and our Project Gutenbergs and our gif generators… and have you seen the website for the Frick Collection? You can zoom into all the paintings! Hours of fun! We are very lucky but oh! There are so many cat videos.  But I’m no better, readers, because I once downloaded a delightful novel from Project Gutenberg and made illustrations for it and a nice layout, with the intention of getting it printed and giving it as a gift, but I never finished that project. Oh, but you totally should. There are some wonderful finds on PG–books that are hard to find or are out of print, and now I (and you!) can read them on a kindle or other such device. It’s really amazing and we should all be taking advantage of the democratization of literature and art. Et cetera. So yes, please do go watch the webseries, and please do go browse the Frick Collection, and please do go explore materials in the public domain.

On a slightly different note, I’m modestly pleased to announce that a short fictionalized non-fiction piece I wrote is slated to be published, possibly (it’s a smaller publication so if the book (!) does get made, physically, my piece will be in it–oh, you know what I mean!). Truth be told, I’d actually forgotten that I’d submitted something to it, and so the email I received was a delightful surprise. So this is what life is, then: I decide to say “screw you!” to any sort of proper work in editing or writing, and two things fall on my doorstep: editing work and getting published. It’s a little aggravating, actually, because it just confirms to me that there is no point in bewailing anything in life (there goes my hobby) because a) something funny will happen to you anyway and b) you’ll look like an idiot soon after. So I don’t know what this means for my glorious career as a Latin teacher. Bah. I don’t want to get all excited, though, looking for signs and omens about this whole thing, and maybe that’s the point: after all, things take time, and I wouldn’t have heard back from anyone if I hadn’t submitted anything. So I guess I ought to keep submitting to places and eventually end up with paid work for my writing and in the mean time continue with the volunteer tutoring.

Oh, but do you know what is hair-pullingly “hilarious”? I still haven’t heard back from any of those retail jobs I applied to. Not a one. Not even a certain well-known coffee chain will take me back (I did say in the application that I would want to start at the position I left at and only work weekdays before 5, so that’s likely a factor, haha). So, you know, life really is weird. I can’t complain too much: I’m now gaining a lot of non-retail work experience, both paid and unpaid, in fields that I enjoy: editing, writing, education, non-profit… Other than a paycheque, what more could I ask for?

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