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I’m having a crisis of conscience today. Recently, a publishing company I have always very much admired posted an actual job opening for an editor. Not an intern, not an assistant, not a publicist, but an editor. This is very rare indeed.

Of course, I applied. I worked for days on a completely new cover letter – normally, I just mix’n’match from old letters and send them in. Anyway, because I recently made a couple of contacts within the company (and because of the stellar, typo-free experience that was the application), I have been called for an interview. And now I am worried.

The rub is that I am currently working part-time, on a freelance basis with a magazine, and I really enjoy it. There is lots of opportunity there for more work, and the editor and the whole editorial team have gone out of their way to make me feel like a part of things. Hell, I was all ready to give up on writing/editing before getting this gig. I feel very warmly towards them, and would be committed even if there was no formal contract.

The publisher would be a prestigious one to have on my resume. The question is – can or should I ask for flexibility to still meet the commitments of my current gig if I get this job? (The magazine editing involves a couple meetings a month, with the rest of the work done from my home, on my own time; the book editing job would be full-time and on-site.)

The book publishing job would be great experience, and I would hope it might lead to freelance work in the future, after the contract is up. On the other hand though, I have worked for two other book publishers in the past, and neither of those jobs have led to one single hour of billable freelance time. So I should not count on that happening here, either.

I’m just really happy with the way things are – working freelance for appreciative clients, etc. – and would like to build on what I have rather than give things up for one job, even if it’s my “dream job.” Yes, I want to fit it all in and make everyone happy, including myself. What would you do?

The other night I went to a social hour drink thing at a hip little pub by Main Street. The people attending were all writers, editors, and publishers, and I think most of us were, at best, acquaintances or had at least heard of each other. Anyway, I was sitting next to two people who wanted to exchange e-mail addresses, but neither had business cards or pen and paper. I always carry a pen so I offered it. The woman accepted the pen, and wrote down what she wanted to write on a napkin. But then, instead of giving the pen back, she set it down beside her napkin and commenced to roll it around and play with it.

Listening to their conversation, I could only think “Give me my pen back!” It was lying there on the table, but on the far side of the napkin she had written on. The moment was positively Seinfeldean. I was George. I couldn’t concentrate on what was being said, so consumed I was at this breach of pen-borrowing etiquette, that is: borrow, write, return. I watched her fiddle with my pen for a few minutes. I needed it back. I love that pen.

She still kept it on her side of the napkin. As soon as I could, as subtly as I could, I grabbed it back. She looked surprised for some reason. Maybe she’s always gotten away with stealing pens lent in good faith. Hah! Foiled you!

There will be no more pen-lending to strangers for awhile. At least, not until the social contract as it applies to other peoples’ ballpoints has been repaired. In the meantime, have some business cards.

Long Beach - Photo by Donovan

Last week we took a few days off to go to Tofino, a town on the west coast of Vancouver Island, just to watch the waves roll in. It’s funny how when you try to relax you realize just how wound up you are.

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I find myself at loose ends. This restlessness is familiar, but I’m still not quite sure what to with myself. I get so absorbed in work that when it goes away, I’m at a loss.
The world is swirling on to be sure — that mysterious kidnapping case, fer instance. Why was it such a huge story? Why did the police make so many arrests yesterday, and why do they continue to be so tight-lipped about the case? And why was the media guy for the VPD SMIRKING throughout the press conference this morning? If people on say, Saturday Night Live can keep straight faces while making an audience full of people laugh, surely, you can keep a straight face while evading questions from a roomful of reporters.
The world is swirling on while I look for new distractions – a new knitting project, books (Sense and Sensibility, Cookoff, on the world of competitive cooking), and magazine shopping. I’m working a little bit, although apparently not enough to keep myself from hitting the refresh button on my email about every five seconds. I managed to lose my mobile phone last week; at least that keeps me from shaking it and yelling “Ring! Damn you! Ring!”
The husband counsels relaxation, take it easy, ooh Degrassi’s on. I hope to enter a state of peace with my boredom. Some creative emptiness would be good for this jangled soul. Until that state arrives, is anyone up for some karaoke? Anyone?
I was also planning to attend my first Shebeen Club event here in Vancouver. My friend, whose opinion I respect on matters of culture, labels the write-up for the latest installment of this series “tasteless and glib” which kind of attracts me to it more. I’m contrary. Any other of you lit chicks and dudes want to join in on April 18? Shore y’do.

I always wanted to take a poll where the question would be: “Am I annoying?”
The Johari window seems to be the bloggy thing of the week, so here’s mine. Go on, tell me what you think of me.
Between moving, adopting a new doggy (yay, Petfinder!) and the pay-to-get-in, pray-to-get-out funhouse that is Print Futures, I’m having trouble finding the time to just write. It’ll come to me.
(By the way, the handsome boy to the left is Levi.)

Remember the episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza found success by going against all of his instincts? (In case you don’t here’s the script.) Well, I’ve tried to apply that principle to my own life, and it sucks ass everytime. Specifically, there have been times that you just want to retreat from all human contact and screw the world. When those moods have hit in the past year, I say to myself: “Nope, I’m going to the opposite, and try to reach out a little more!” So I call up friends, try to go out to things, volunteer etc. Perky, upbeat, almost Oprah-like.
Let me tell you: it doesn’t work.
And once again, maybe due to the black-ish cold rainy nights, or too much grammar homework, or educational interpersonal dramas, the urge to retreat into a cave and throw rocks at approachers is mighty tempting. It’s not a hate against any individual or their dastardly deeds that make me want to close ranks and focus on the walls. Just sometimes, I’ve realized, a girl needs time to think, smoke, watch movies, read and of course, write. I’m exhausted from worrying about why so-and-so’s not returning my calls.
I’ll not be going against my instincts this time. Until the walls become the world all around again.

It’s happened to me several times, so I decided to do some research into sleep paralysis. A combination of nightmare, hallucination and physical terror, sleep paralysis is when you wake up (or think you’ve woken up) in the middle of the night with the feeling that something sinister is in the room, on the bed, or sitting on top of you. The fun part is that your entire body becomes frozen so that you can’t see what it is or fight the danger. Sometimes there are hallucinations, physical sensations such as tiny pinpricks all over the back, and even levitating and flying. I have had all these things happen to me in various episodes. Sleep paralysis may explain some cases of hauntings or alien abduction.
I found a surprising humber of articles both in the library and on the web – even an about.com site devoted to sleep paralysis. I am waiting in a library queue for a book called Terror that Comes in the Night – behind about three others. Various articles quote statistics that anywhere from 10 to 40% of the population have had at least one episode of sleep paralysis in their lives. I’ve had it five times so far, both my sisters have had it, and probably my mom too. It might be genetic.
It could be caused by stress and anxiety too – each time I have had a case of “the Old Hag” (as it is sometimes called), it was during some kind of scary change going on or sleeping in a new place.

Today I am a bottomless pit.

I have eaten half a small bag of Tomato Basil Pretzels, 1 Brandy Filled Chocolate, 1 Ferrero Rocher, 3 pistachios, several handfuls of Dan-D-Pak rice crackers, 1 strawberry glazedTimBit, 1 Purdy’s chocolate Santa, a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs(5), and 1 mandarin orange. I am currently defrosting some smoked salmon to eat with crackers and cream cheese.

This is not an eating disorder diary.

Every time I shove some of the plentiful supply of food in my kitchen into my mouth, I see on the news more images of the tragic situation in Southeast Asia. And I think of doing something for the Red Cross and then mentally calculate how much money is owed to Visa right now.

Yesterday I ate fries at A+W and watched the news about people without any food or shelter. The guy at the counter was watching the news between customers and because he looked Asian with darker skin I wondered if he had family and friends there whose fates were as yet unknown.

B2 over at Weirdsmobile put things into perspective. Why do people that can afford it least get hit so damn hard?

The other night I went with my mother-in-law to the PNE. I was supposed to go before with another friend, but got so absolutely pissed off with that she was constantly changing the meeting time, and then also wanted to meet at the gate furthest from where I could park that I just couldn’t go and hang out with them and have a good time. I felt better for bailing, as you should never over-accommodate non-compromisers, but I had already bought the ticket.

So I called up my mother-in-law who just loves the Fair. We haven’t spent much time together in the eight or so years I’ve been with her son, so when I phoned, she thought I just was offering to sell her my unused ticket. Its not that I don’t like his family, as I have often been accused, we just don’t have a whole heck of a lot to talk about. I know a lot of people say this, but I suck at small talk and don’t exactly Eddie Haskell it in social situations.

Anyway, as long as you take take some money, its impossible not to have fun at the PNE. We saw the Superdogs, played Bingo, walked a little through the barns (sad how the agricultural component of the Fair has diminished), and checked out the amazing gizmo-and-crap building. I also ate a cheeseburger covered in greasy fried onions with a side of chips at Jimmy’s Lunch (she shared a few chips while eating the sandwich she brought – the junk food is bad for her diabetes), and rode the Coaster. We got some mini-donuts on the way out. mmm. cinnamony. Its like recreating childhood every time I go to this thing.

The PNE is an endangered institution. Some misguided crackpots in the neighbourhood, as well as in City Hall are under the impression that the vast parking lots of the PNE grounds should be turned into green space. Why? Who would go into them in that part of town? No one I know goes into the existing green space they’ve created on site. Methinks the proponents of this grand plan are just sour because they live too far away to cash in on letting people park in their yards during the Fair.

The best part of the night was successfully convincing her to go on a ride at Playland. One of the nicest ladies you’ll ever know, man was she nervous. In my first attempt, I picked out the tamest ride I could find outside of Kiddyland – The 1001 Nights, a smaller shorter version of that old classic stomach flipper, The Rainbow. Not that fast, doesn’t go upside down, she’s looking up at it as we’re standing in line, reads the useless legalese sign about “Guest with High Blood Pressure should not ride etc.” and bails. I went on it by myself – what a waste of four good tickets! After I went on the Coaster however, she still had her four tickets that we had bought, and decided to give the Wave Swinger another go after a self-imposed 40-year hiatus.

“The last time I went on a ride, I was dressed to the nines and wearing heels.”

I watched her get on, the thing lifts up the swings and starts revolving. Each time she came around, I smiled and waved, but she sat stock-still, legs crossed in front, gripping the chains, staring straight ahead. After she got off, I told her she looked a bit nervous. She said she was just having a wonderful time.

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