(C) 2012 by Metta Anderson – All Rights Reserved
It’s not quite 8 o’clock in the morning as I write. The phone rang at 7:20 a.m. but I didn’t answer it because I can not imagine anyone I know calling at that hour, unless it’s a dire emergency or the Nobel Prize Committee (represented locally by the Swedish Ambassador). It stopped ringing after four tries, so it was probably a wrong number. Or someone who realized that calling me at that hour is risky.
I woke up early today (around 6) with a lot of stress and anxiety. I drank some water and calmed down a little bit, enough to reduce the urge to commit suicide. In the past few months, that’s about all I’ve really been thinking–I’m in a bad financial situation, unemployed and at 67 (plus being female, foreign and overeducated) virtually unemployable, so my choices are to starve to death (currently that’s what the dogs and I are doing) or just commit suicide and be done with it. Worse, I’ve stopped writing.
I have not, however, stopped hearing people close to me badger me endlessly about getting a job, selling everything I own (especially the inherited antiques, for which I would receive about one-tenth of their value) and blah-blah-blah about “securing myself financially.” The chorus to this song has to do with how unattached I appear to be to reality and how horrible my parents were at raising me so that I have no social skills nor job skills.
Give me a fucking break. NOW!!!
Pyschologically my parents screwed me up, but educationally and intellectually, I am so above the crowd that interviewers for jobs love to talk to me but are afraid to hire me on the grounds that I have ulterior motives (e.g., taking away their jobs). But to be fair, since my idea of fun is a chamber orchestra concert at the Luis Angel Arango or an opera broadcast, while my co-workers get off on soccer or the NFL or reading “People” magazine for its psychological insights, I just do not fit in. I know that and so do the people who do the job interviews. That happened in English and that happens in Spanish. Also, I deserve more money, which no one wants to pay.
Anyway, my gut instinct for this year was to hunker down and quietly work on “Novelesco: States of Grace,” the book that follows “Novelesco: A Woman’s Life as Fiction.” Yes, my finances have been rocky for months and I’ve been trying to take steps to ensure some kind of cash flow. I have a two-bedroom with private bath suite on the second floor of my apartment which I rented out for about three months and has been empty since May. Obviously it’s still for rent, but potential clients have either not wanted to pay the rent or have not wanted to furnish references or both. I’m supposed to put guns to their heads to get what I want? Today I’m putting up another “For Rent” sign and praying for the best.
In the meantime, I’ve run around town trying to show and sell my paintings. I’ve re-opened my gallery. I’ve applied for jobs for which I’m obviously qualified but then I’ve never gotten a reply to my inquiries. What has been the result?
Daily suicidal thoughts. A mountain of debt (rent, utilities, Master Card, a loan I had to take out to go to the US and find out that I do NOT qualify for Social Security; my brother who will no longer speak to me because I owe him money). As of this moment, as I write–no food (no tea, no bread, no lunch or dinner), no dogfood (I have two dogs), and no cash. Maybe two hundred pesos, which will buy me one (1) hot roll at the bakery. An awful lot of anger, depression and more suicidal thoughts.
I can NOT get up or go to bed thinking only of how to make money, of hoping that the next hour or the next day will bring me money. I am killing myself and now my dogs by listening to people whose only contribution is to make me feel worse than I already do.
What I CAN do is go back to working on “Novelesco,” for which I have a ton of notes and minimum drafts. I CAN open the gallery on weekends. I am supposed to participate in a group show in July and some neighbors have offered me gallery space to offset the problem I have with my current location (second floor; no one can look in the windows). This is good and I am extremely thankful for the help. Balancing my time between writing, photography, the gallery and painting is not difficult. Facing the “Get Money NOW NOW NOW!!!” hysteria is becoming impossible. Who would not be thrilled to pieces to realize that the only way to pay the debts is to die, have someone else sell my property and pay the debts, and then profit from my demise?
I have been having daily and on-going discussions with God and Jesus about what is wrong with my life and how to improve things. How to get out of this mess. I ask for guidance and help. So far, I have not had any revelations, but I feel that the answer lies inside me, to do what I do best.
What I do best is write. A publisher is looking at “Novelesco.” A reputable publisher, at that. The initial contact was that I send in the complete manuscript, printed out, and in Spanish. I replied that I could not afford to do that, and anyway, the book is in English. There was a short pause (two days). The answer was–“Oh, we understand. We will make an exception. Send the ms. in Word. Sincerely…”
I did that by myself. NO agent. No middleman. I did notice some activity in the Stats for this blog as well as for “Pan Am Tapestry,” so I guess they looked at what I’ve written and decided to take a chance. No guarantee of success, but apparently, I got them interested.
I am also aware that it takes publishers months before they come to a decision. Fine. There are other things I can do, and opening the gallery is one of them. But I should have kept working on my novel, instead of running around trying to make money (and a lot of it) as fast as I could. How stupid is that? How stupid am I?
So, even though I have to go out today and try to sell some photos on the street, hoping to earn enough money to buy dogfood and maybe something for myself, I am also restructuring my life to write at least four days a week. I not only have “Novelesco” (Part 2) waiting to be written, but I started working on another story (future novel) that involves my mother, her mother and events that took place basically before and shortly after I was born. No title on that right now. I do not have trouble coming up with ideas. I have problems getting them down because I tend to let other people influence me in the wrong way at the wrong time. But since I’m facing the day with nothing but a glass of water and maybe a soft-boiled egg (the hot roll is for the dogs), I think it’s time to “man up” (feminists will excuse the term) and go back to writing as my genuine purpose in life.
The money will come, but not if I spend my life chasing it.