I am...a New Yorker

[Previous entry: "Making Connections"]

Tuesday, October 1, 2002

$3 Cosmopolitans at a Midtown bar not far from work with Tiny, Mighty K.

Frequently - my boss is a wacky, M&M-loving rabbi.

About 20 blocks (a mile) after work and feeling great! At the old job, sometimes I couldn't make it to the corner to catch a bus. It's such a difference.

Fudge and candies brought in by a co-worker who is a pastry chef.

Wednesday Library Night, as the local branch is open until 8 that day. It's so great to be home in time for the trip to the 'bary, to have time (and the all-important energy) to pursue my outside interests.

An adorable, little, silver refrigerator at Odd Job, so I can keep some milk, juice, lunch meat and salad in my room. It was a steal and will pay for itself in avoiding convenience-store prices and food thieves ransacking the common refrigerators.

I am...I am and have always been gifted with words. However, that doesn't mean things come out perfectly all the time, let alone the first time. Nor does it mean it comes out in a way that makes perfect sense outside of my own head. This space more closely resembles impromptu speech or a conversation than it does my formal writing.

By contrast, I would not have dreamed of giving my dad's eulogy off the top of my head, for example. I outlined, drafted, edited, trashed, revised, rewrote, edited, read aloud, crossed out, asked my uncle to read it, did all the previous steps all over again, and did my best to get it just so. I'm rarely 100% happy with the end result of anything I write, but it's certainly light years beyond that first draft.

This journal, by contrast, is a collection of first, or, at best, second or third drafts. I do skim entries before posting them, but that is not the best tactic for editing. Again, I refer to the 24 hour rule -- put anything you write aside for 24 hours. The reason for that is that your mind will fill in the blanks, correct mistakes and "see" what you meant to say.

Try it -- you will find far more typos, grammatical shifts and such after 24 hours, than you ever could immediately. In order to communicate with others, you need to fill in the gaps between what's in your head and what's on paper/screen. The writer knows all the background information, but the reader does not. Thus, the writer must make sure to convey details, yet without bogging down the reader. It's a hell of a task.

It's unfortunate that I had to alienate a group of friends I respect -- ironically enough, in an attempt to vaguely describe a trend and not personally attack any one person. I see now why it came across as a blanket statement.

I still don't quite understand why it was taken to heart by exactly the wrong people - the ones who always made that place worthwhile, educational and fun. In talking with me personally, privately over a five year period - I assumed they would know it wasn't they to whom I ascribed the nastiness I described in that entry seven months ago. It was not only the furthest thing from my mind, but too absurd for me to even imagine.

But perhaps that is what it took for me to realize the power of the written word, even if published only on a screen. What are mistakes, if not lessons to be learned?

I dearly miss some of them, of course, I only meant to leave the (virtual) place, I had every intention and expectation to carry on friendships that had for years went beyond the place itself. It was easy to leave the place, I reasoned, because in the 6 months prior to that, I realized I so rarely ran into the very women I loved, admired and enjoyed in that space.

I wasn't meeting any "new" people like them there, either. Threads tended to grow rather long and I couldn't keep up with even a few of them, let alone an entire board, either as a reader or a contributor. It seemed silly to keep going back, particularly given how scarce my time was while I worked for Non-Prophet.

Perhaps I never fit in at all, perhaps I lost that outlook at some indeterminate time, perhaps I just don't have that level of precision in me, perhaps I need one area (friendship) of my life, where utter precision isn't required. Mostly, I was overwhelmed at the time with an overly-demanding job, had worked 60 hours by Thursday that week (two events that week - one bi-monthly, one annual) and just didn't have the energy to argue.

Beyond all this, I was incredibly hurt by vicious comments made by someone I'd considered a friend for many years. I had no idea how to respond to that. No one seemed to see my side of it, saying I was too thin-skinned to be a writer...as if a friend attacking me personally was the same thing as an editor critiquing my work. It was very much a case of, "I don't need this right now." So why should I volunteer for it?

Entry and sidebar were originally written August 16, 2002.

[Next entry: "Changing"]
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