22 May 2012

Movin' on up!

I just went and published three drafts I had going without absolutely zero regard for their correctness. I feel good about this. There are some thoughts I wish I would have finished because now I do not know what they were. However, I could finally hear the real me speak through them. Pretty nice, considering I've struggled quite a long time to make my voice come out my writing.

I've talked about changes in my life that I did not elaborate on and now that I have a moment and the inclination to do so, I will.

First, I've been working on a story. An actual, honest-to-goodness, novel-type story that I've been able to move past the mere first lines, expand the idea of. As we speak (well, who's we? There's certainly no conversation going on here), I have just over 6,000 words. I'm very pleased with this. I don't know where the storyline will take me. I don't "do" plots or organized character analyses ahead of time, so it's just gonna kinda go where I feel it needs to go. It's not that I have this uppity standard of not doing things that would be more likely to set me up for success, it's just that I don't perform as well when I'm trying so hard to write conforming to guidelines; and I love the whole idea of not knowing where I'm going.

Most authors I've talked to agree that one tends to be sidetracked many times from the original idea so that the finished piece would have not resembled most of their ideas anyway, so I'm not too caught up about it; but even if they had strictly warned me that I would be tied and cinched to a whipping pole and be beaten by other writers and be the bane of existence in the writing world for not following an outline or certain model, I'm quite sure I still would risk doing it my way anyway.

It really helps to bounce my story off of other writers, a group of them I've found since moving here (yay!) and have them be generally VERY supportive. And positive. I have given more thought to the characters themselves, though, and into their development as opposed to an "idea" of a person, so that their interactions are more real. This is important in any novel, but especially important for me because this novel-esque thing I'm working on is 1) my first attempt to find my own style by way of inspiration through the writing styles of John Grisham, Dan Brown, Paolo Coehlo, and 2) contains pretty strong religious themes and undertones. I do not want a book that is about seeing the world differently to be about a religious agenda or shallow characters, as per the norm for this particular genre of writing.

So. There ya go.

Secondly, I started working. I was doing my piano accompaniment gig, but in the yearning and ultimate goal of becoming financially independent (lonnnnng-ass story as to why THAT has been slow coming to fruition,) I applied for 3 different jobs, figuring I'd start there, get my foot in the door, step back into the work force, and at least be working like a hella cray-cray woman making some extra cheddar (yo) to supplement what my crazy Frenchman/Quebecois boy-toy was making as a teacher. (Things were more expensive here than we'd anticipated and we had a very hard time trying to keep above water getting moved in.) (To put it mildly and NOT including all the hard time we had just trying to keep our relationship afloat.)

Welp. I landed the receptionist one, working part time in the afternoons and on Saturdays, at the local Ford dealership here. A month later, I got a call back for the mechanic apprenticeship! Okay, great, but by then I was loving my receptionist position and not wanting to give it up. Lo and behold the apprenticeship guy, who had a business maintaining and repairing forklifts, agreed to accomodate my schedule. By the end of that week, I was playing piano in the mornings, playing receptionist in the afternoons, and entering into one-day weekends because I was apprenticing my way to forklift heaven on Mondays.

So it was great! I was bringing all these various sources of income, helping the cause, helping to loosen the belt that was our financial situation. It started taking some of the strain off my relationship, I started to feel I had direction, (which was especially important when my girls left to live with their dad and I was feeling fifty thousand different shades of indignation about it), and it was working out even better than I'd hoped because all of my employers and coworkers were agreeable, real, and admittedly flawed human beings.

But I was starting to feel admittedly drawn away from the mechanic thing. Which really bothered me! You must understand that it has either been music or mechanics pretty much since I could remember breaking down outside a Holiday Inn in Bismarck, ND cerca 1998 looking for jobs. I loved knowing how things worked, I loved solving problems and working with my hands, and I do admit to liking the attention it got me at times. But I could do that as a musician or as a mechanic. All of that got put on hold when I got married, dropped out of school, and focused on being mom in the isolated, distant lands of the Canadian north. So when I was looking for jobs, saw the apprenticeship, went for the interview, I was more than a little excited. Until I realized it was for forklifts, which are their own thing and more under heavy duty. Whichhhh... would've been okay because I had several years' experience working at a crusher, the inner and outer workings of which I grew to love and take pride in doing: maintenance, increasing performance and production, knowing every grease fitting, every nook, every cranny, and never-ending learning. But it was a lot harder all around than working on a car. (At least I think so.) 

Try crawling in there and changing screens and prying down on the metal to get the braces back on. Yeah, in the blue thing in the middle there. Yep. We had a white one. I knew the guts out of that machine.

I couldn't figure out if it was because I was only committing one day a week to the whole apprenticing thing, if it was because it was heavy duty mechanics (versus auto mechanics,) or what, but it started to get tiring; and being someone's lackey one day of the week was hard, in the sense that it would take months of full-time lackey-ing to build any substantial cred with the customers and the guy himself. But here I was, only one day a week, and I was perfectly okay with being a part-time receptionist.   Still, I was eager and committed to see where the one-day-a-week thing would go, and if I would get more time with him once the piano gig was up for the summer.

Different kind of moonlighting

(...you know you're reading geek territory when you see THAT sign on a blog space...)

Fast forward to three weeks ago, I go in for my shift at the dealership and I get summoned upstairs. I didn't feel like I was in trouble, but I thought that maybe I was just going to get a few pointers on how to do certain things, or not do them, and be on my merry way.

But when I got up there, I was met in the board room with 4 people. The same two who were in my interview, but then also the service manager from our dealership and the manager of our sister dealership in the city.

To make what I could turn into a long, suspenseful story short, I got approached about what essentially boiled down to a promotion. Not only full time, but salary pay plus commission.


It will be my first job EVER that I am on a salary. It will be my first job EVER that will utilize every little flipping thing I've ever learned into a cumulative concentration. It will be the first job I've EVER had that does not require me compromising on a dream I've had or as a means to get somewhere else. It gets me close to the garage and it has me dealing with people. It is a job that can be respected, it is a position I can be proud of, and most of all, is a job that I can safely and happily tuck my music aside for. Because teacher or no, I will always have my music.

I don't have to feel ashamed about my dropping out of college and/or having no certifications or, if you can believe it, not doing music. Not doing music!!! That... is a first.

Without intending it to be, this could very much be a major, major goal line for me and there will be time and opportunity TO work on credentials as I move through the different training rings with the dealership.

Plus my dad knows exactly what I'm talking about now when I call him up to talk about the recent happenings...

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