Monday, 8 July 2013

Fast Music For Heavy Fingers or Six Months in a Half Hour

or what happens when we commit to communication

1. Internet Presence/ts.
I just dug through a nearly disused e-mail account to to find a password for a social media network I haven't used in four years. I didn't. Find it. So I had to sign into the New, Improved Version of a site that just won't go away (you know which I'm talking about. it's switched its focus to "music" lately and seems like an unholy marriage of Linkedin and Google Plus any more) and that gave me to the wills of nostalgia and more than a few names I'd forgotten exist. Profiles that haven't been updated and therefore remain locked.
You know, though? After about three minutes it wasn't much hard to click delete on that.

More challenging is/was/will be the 8 years worth of Livejournal. no linking. you'll have to work for that if you want to find all the bouts of self pity, the odd misdirected misogyny, half hearted apologies, and lite-artist-as-a-young-dogisms that simply saying "livejournal" to anyone of A Certain Age implies. Making this whole paragraph redundant.

2. I have acquired another birthday.
You know what I always think I'm going to do? Write some sort of State of the Union*, some three paragraph synopses of the Ats that Here's Where I. This is silly. Not because I never do, or because no one cares (you clicked this link, so I assume you care.) but because I hold off on ALL OTHER CONTENT until I've posted the Big Update. Which is why three updates in June, none in July, a dwindling amount of content even with more to write.
Basically, when people write "I've turned _____ and I FEEL SO OLD" it sounds like a hack's game, someone throwing themselves into a mindset because they think they should. But I also get that it's not always the case that 32 feels just like 31 feels just like 26. Things change, good and bad.** But I'll give you a few more years before you have to endure some smotheringly smug "Getting Older is Getting BETTER!" blog about how spiritually rewarding it is to purchase couches.

3. Seattle is a sentence.
I have not quite lived back in Seattle as long as I lived in Bellingham, but I have lived in Seattle longer than I did in Swansea, and longer than I'd planned/hoped on initial return. This isn't some sort of broken-plans post,  I wasn't sure what I wanted from my hometown as an independent entity, so the result tends to be half boxing match, half dance. A frequent frustration being that much of the work of a grad program in a creative field is making connections. . . which are 8,000 miles away. Ba dum ching. So a sense of starting over that leaves me feel like Now, after an event or two, I feel solidly part of the Seattle lit community. It's a good community, usually. Now that I've done that work, do I want to . . . oh, who knows.
This ambivalence is fairly well amplified by reading through old blog entries from both those previous towns.

4. I quit my job at the Loft.
For three and a half years, I worked at North Seattle Community College tutoring English and Writing to ELL students, immigrants, exchange students, folks returning to school after fifteen years in professions that shut down during the recession. Arguably, this was the most rewarding, edifying ongoing*** job I've held to date. Obviously there were days it felt like work, or I didn't want to be there, but there was never a sense of futility. My co-workers were all engaged, considerate, often artistic folks and whatnot.
However, thanks to the repu-  state budget crisis, there's a spending cap, meaning no raise, no additional hours. Two-three hours round trip for short shifts became the sort of diminishing returns that I couldn't idealize away any more. I quit on good terms and have already felt healthier for having a consistent sleep schedule.

5. Now I work at a bar.
It's a good bar. The amusing nightmares of past bars can go ahead and remain in the past. When people say "I bet that gives you a lot of material!" the answer is "Sure, but only for the first year. Then it's a job-- you writing a story about data management?"
I like my co-workers, it's close to my house, I make close to three times as much per hour as I did helping newcomers to the country learn the language.

6. Rachel and I are still very much a thing, but are not engaged or married or living together or whatever your conceived "next step" is 
You are reading this most likely because you clicked on a link from another site. Believe me, you'd know if something big, good or bad, happened that way. Because internet.

7. I am slowly cutting down the number of literary events for which I am responsible.
Because I'd like to write my own things again, from time to time. A longer post on this balance may be forthcoming, but that's the sort of thinking that got us to this long, list based post in the first place. Never say Probably. Now I will take a bus to West Seattle, which is and is not the same place at all.

*by which I mean Graham. The UNION FOREVER!
**More specific and illuminating insights can be found in the self-help book aforementioned blog post nets me a deal for. Did you also know that change is sometimes hard, but often worth it?
*** So not including one-night gigs reading poetry, or the time I got paid by Southbank Centre to take pics of graffiti and send them to London, where they got made into postcards.****
****Yes, that was a brag. I still think that was pretty cool.


Kat said...

Hey, Graham? You're a really good writer. Also, it's fun comparing this post to my memories of your LiveJournal. Also, I'm glad to be updated on the state of THE UNION FOREVER. Also, all alsos must come in threes.

Erin Verginia said...

I did the same thing on my LIvejournal today. Hovered over delete, then the fuckers almost convinced me to be a paid member just to make all my entries private! So much angst for all the world to see!

For the record, I'm glad you're in Seattle. I honestly feel like a more inspired human being because of it.

graham said...

Thanks Kat, Erin. I think the last couple years of LJing, when I was also working with this, were a bit better, but there was a time it had all the messy glory you'd want.