Monday, April 2, 2007

Shakin' and Skiin' and Savin' Dough

My life continues to be in a weird limbo state but things are shaking and moving. (In some ways. In other ways, they are still as a pond in a Zen garden.). I'm starting the freelance writing thing again. The rusty wheels are creaking into motion with ideas. I've even scored myself an assignment (of sorts) to go to this ski seminar and write about it.

In other writing news, I had lots of fun providing the "literary entertainment" at Centerpoint's recent fundraiser and posing as a "writing professional" ontheir career panel on writing last week. Any time I sit in front of an audience of hopeful writers, my heart goes out to them. Writing=pain! Trying to be a writer=pain! Even when you're a rich and famous writer like me=pain! So I want to do everything I can to help them.

My muse, however, has been hiding out. I've gotten sick of tracking that b*tch down, so whatever. Let her stay in her palapa in Mexico or wherever she is, drinking Negro Modelos and flirting with the help. There are plenty of things I can write without her - like blog entries and query letters. And extremely uninspired first-person essays (another recent project of mine.) Here's a sneak peek from a never-to-be-published essay about my trip to Patagonia last year:

"So I’d reluctantly let myself be dragged out of the tent into this wild day and now I was regretting it. I comforted myself with the thought that the group of Chileans we passed on our way up here would probably die before us. Several members of their party were wearing jeans and they were moving slowly. We, on the other hand, were clothed in the latest in REI outerwear, but were were still going to die. I was sure of it. And we wouldn’t even get a good view in the process. "

Meanwhile, I also edit boring technical documents for absurd amounts of money and I continue to get out into the snow every weekend, dragging my poor boyfriend along for the ride. This weekend, our adventure consisted of staying at the Mountaineers Lodge at Stevens Pass, which was an absolute laugh riot. The venerable Mountaineers club of Seattle loves nothing more than to control its memebers with a plethora of rules, regulations, and bureaucracy, not to mention making them rise at insanely early hours for any activity.

So I suppose it should have been no surprise that we were awakened at SEVEN AM by a BREAKFAST CALL that involved a loud clanging of pots and pans that even the most tranquilized of Mountaineers members (and I think I can be included in that category) could sleep through. Not only that, we had to do CHORES after breakfast, after which we were released on our own recognizance.

At least it was cheap. And there we were, right in Stevens Pass, and we took a lovely snowshoe trip up into a lakes basin, which, although it was right near the ski area was quiet and covered in freshly fallen snow. We were the only people around, and surrounded by the tracks of all sorts of little animals. There is nothing so peaceful, I think, as the mountains in snow. I would never survive the gray Seattle winters without it.

Finally, these days, I am all about saving money. I have never really been frugal in my life, not least since I became a full-time employee of Geeksoft five years ago. But the times they are a changin' and even though I pull in a good hourly rate, the fact is, my employment is now much more unpredictable and I'm not getting paid for my vacation. And I'm headed away from the full-time corporate routine.

I asked my friend Michelle, of Anti 9-5 Guide fame, how she managed the financial challenges of being a freelancer. And she said, she's been freelancing for so long now that she's just naturally frugal and doesn't "buy anything." Well, my problem is the opposite: I've been on Geeksoft's payroll for so long, I'm naturally profligate! But people can change. Proof of this fact: just last week, for the first time in I-don't-know-how-many-years, I started making my own lunch.

With that scintillating fact, I will leave you - breathlessly waiting for more.