Huzzah!

Picture credit: theborgenproject.org

Picture credit: theborgenproject.org

I think I must be really good at getting internships, even if I seem terrible at getting real jobs. Maybe that can be my thing. I can work terrible jobs to make money and then do a lot of side work for internships doing stuff I like. It would probably be pretty annoying, but at least it would be better than just working the terrible job and sitting on my ass all day.

So, yes, I received an email today informing me that they liked all my stuff and the interview went well and BOOM I will be writing blogs for The Borgen Project!

I should be starting that in about a week, and I’m very excited. I am really starting to think 2013 could be a good year. Maybe not the year where everything turns around for me, but at least a year that acts as a stepping stone or something.

 

Advertisements

Murderous Anticipation.

th

I have been applying to so many jobs in the last ten months that I actually forget about a lot of them. I do write down all the places I applied to and the position and what site I used. But they cease to stick in the forefront of my mind anymore unless, and until, I get the seemingly inevitable “We appreciate your interest in the position but at this time bla bla bla you suck bla bla…” email. Recently, though, I sent in my resume and a writing sample to be considered for a blogging internship with the NGO, The Borgen Project.

Blogging? Talk about a dream come true! Plus, writing for a great organization that works with politicians to end extreme global poverty? Hell yes. My levels of anticipation have been mounting for days.

I actually got an email back from them at the end of last week informing me that they liked what I sent and that I had been moved forward to the second stage of the hiring process! Yes! All I had to do was write a 400-500 word article on one of two topics and send it on in with a good title and sources, and if that was a success there would be a phone interview.

So I sat down and researched my topic, how ending global poverty could benefit the United States, for a few hours. After studiously taking notes and making references to quotes and data, it was time.

Can I just say that going from writing academic papers for Literature (usually 5-10 pages) to writing personal blog content (whatever feels like a good length without too much rambling) to trying to write a 400-500 word blog that is essentially a news article is…super damn complicated. Basically I had to write out the whole thing and then spend two hours tweaking and deleting and rewording before I had something informative that came in at just 487 words.

After hours of editing I finally realized that I was no longer getting anywhere and that it was what it was going to be and just went ahead and smashed my hand down on the mouse to send it. What a relief!

Psh. Nope. I proceeded to agonize over it endlessly and get no sleep. Then worried about it all day. Actually, for the last three days I’ve been checking my email every couple of hours, holding my breath, and then furrowing my brows when I realized there was nothing there. There has been a constant battle in my head about “Well not hearing anything right away is a good sign” and “Seriously? Why did I even try, I fail. Wahhhhhhhh”

Today at work, though, I pulled out my phone to figure out how to spell some complicated flower name so I could put it on a chalkboard sign (oh, working floral) and out of habit I checked my email.

Re: Blogger Internship

The conversation in my Gmail between HR and myself was all bold and highlighted, signifying that an email had been sent to me.

There was a moment where I was totally convinced I shouldn’t poke that email until I was off. But I stabbed worry and caution in the face and opened it.

Hi Chelsea,

You passed the writing exam! I would like to set up a phone interview for…

And then I started jumping up and down and flinging my arms about.

What a relief!

PSH!

FryPhone interview means “Lets start frantically researching the organization and reading all their blogs and liking them on Facebook and researching SEO writing and generally panicking and rereading the email.”

I wish I was lying when I said I’m getting a haircut tomorrow. For a phone interview. 

It’s just that this could be a monumental internship for me. I finished my social media marketing internship with Environmental Paper Network in a very anticlimactic fashion last month. And the other marketing and communications internship I started with Out Network is apparently on hold as the founder/my friend/my mentor recently started a new big boy job, went to Maryland to get married, and reenlisted in the Reserves and he has yet to message me back (I’m letting him get to it when he gets to it). Aside from pumping up the volume on my pathetic resume, it will give me something else I need SO desperately. A writing portfolio.

It has been so frustrating to find posts for writing jobs only to read,

Requirements:

  1. ___ years experience
  2. Portfolio of published writing

I mean, technically blogging isn’t really the same as getting published in a newspaper or a magazine or an academic journal. But it’s a start, and the fact that I’d be writing for an organization’s blog and not my own is a plus.

So, here’s to 2013 actually working out and this being what helps me get a real job.

Navigating the Interweb.

I am woefully incompetent when it comes to these newfangled internets all the kids are raging about these days. Well, at least compared to most of my peers.

They stole my face? Herbert, come in here! This book is filled with stolen faces! It must be black magic! Get the cross, it's time for a witch burning!

They stole my face? Herbert, come in here! This book is filled with stolen faces! It must be black magic! Get the cross, it’s time for a witch burning!

Compared to my 70 year old coworker, Gloria, and the women who come through my check out line, I’m a genius.

I don’t use Reddit or Instagram. I have a Twitter that I haven’t been on in months. Outside of Facebook, Google, WordPress, and a few others, I don’t get out much on the internet.

And why should I? Especially when all my contemporaries are posting the same thing on Facebook. I can just appreciate it there and like and share and whatever else and move on.

This is all leading up to announce that I started my new blog The Wee Wanderer. But it took me about an hour to figure out how to link the damn thing to this blog and this blog to that one.

Mostly because I was trying to figure out how to make it all as fancy as Ms. Katie has it on Sass & Balderdash. But then I got annoyed and chalked it up to being broke and not blogging enough to justify getting a premium membership or a domain or anything. At least, just not right this moment.

In any case, go check out The Wee Wanderer. You can look at my snazzy and super free theme and a beautifully composed About section. Of course, by the time you read this and inevitably click that link, I might have added a post. But still make sure to note how well I take advantage of all the free stuff WordPress offers…

Gloom & Doom

I’ve been so exceedingly gloomy the last few weeks.

Gloomy. Vampires probably live here. Real ones, not that sparkling, flat-faced bitch.

Gloomy. Vampires probably live here. Real ones, not that sparkling, flat-faced bitch.

It doesn’t help that I found out that my trip to Ireland won’t be a paid vacation even though my year is up at this job in October because the company goes January to January with benefits.

And that they are working me to death and paying me shit for it. I’m quite literally a specialist in two departments and a cashier and still only get cashier pay with the only chance of a raise in October, which will be a whopping 2% of what I made in the last year…

And that people all around me are getting better jobs and getting married and moving and all of that.

I had reached a certain level of contentment earlier in the year. There was a point I had come to where I was like “oh it doesn’t matter that my job is terrible and I don’t make any money because I have a great life outside of work.”

But then that died the last two weeks.

I think I’m back on the track to being okay again, though.

Planning this trip to Ireland will really help keep me from going nuts. I just have to remind myself that each shift that I work and each day that I spend there is one drop of cash closer to going to Ireland. Because, while the trip itself is already paid for ($999 a person for 6 nights and 7 days including a rental car, hotels, and airfare), we still need spending money for food and gas and trinkets and pasties. Plenty of pasties. Actually, I just like the way that Irish people say that word.

So I’m thinking of starting a separate blog for my adventures there. We got a fancy ass camera (Canon Rebel T31) so there will be tons of pretty pictures to post. And Steven and I literally can’t go anywhere without some sort of misadventure. Especially if it involves a car.

I think I shall start it soon and go through the whole planning and countdown process as well. Won’t that be fun?

Hmm. I think I'll get white girl wasted while I write this bullshit piece on the must see aspects of...where am I again?

Hmm. I think I’ll get white girl wasted while I write this bullshit piece on the must see aspects of…where am I again?

And in connection to this new blog I’m going to take a class starting in June on Travel Writing. It seems a little hopeless to think of getting a job in something like that. Lot’s of people want to do it these days because they think that they will get to take a lot of free vacations (which is a lie) and get paid to have fun (also a lie). But I do think it could be interesting and maybe bring a lot more life and professionalism to the blog itself. And maybe I’ll be realllllllly lucky.

You never know.

On that note, I need a really catchy name for the travel blog. I was thinking of doing something related to the traveling gnome since I’m (legally) a little person. But then I figured that has been waaaaay over done. Thoughts?

Well, here we are 2013

I have to say that 2012 was not as good to me as I had hoped. I lost my job, got a not-so-great new job,  had a lot of general anxiety, and to add more stress boyfriend’s car died. And then my car died on Christmas Eve, I got sick 2 days after Christmas, and I have been battling a recurrence of my still unexplained rash…thing…that I get all over my body while sleeping from time to time. It’s been a year, that’s for sure. I did get my internship, though. And, comparatively speaking, I am much less stressed out. So things are pretty good. I have a wonderful partner and a precocious rabbit. Such things to be thankful for!

I think what got me, though, was the way my year ended. I can honestly say that last night was one of the strangest nights I’ve ever experienced.

Thanks to not having a car I have the choice of either sitting at work, outside, in the dark, and after closing until my boyfriend can come get me.  Or I can rely on a coworker to help me out. One such coworker said that he was having a small New Years get together after work and I should just come home with him for that and my boyfriend could give me a ride home when he got off of work.

I was iffy about this because of the age of the coworker, he’s younger than I am and I am usually less than okay with this. But, with little to no choice, I went along with it. It turns out that he lives up this crazy road way in the woods in an apartment complex that is much less desirable than it could have been. His apartment is this one room thing with a bedroom attached to the side. He did a decent job making it tolerable by painting the walls and adding accent lights and fun furniture pieces all over the place. But still, it turned out to be an odd background for an odd evening. All of the neighbors were drunk and loud. All the people at the party were drunk and loud. Playing top 40 hits into the dark room with purple Christmas lights dangling from the ceiling. Smoke filling every corner and champagne spilling on the floor. For the first little while it was alright because I knew three of the people from work and one of them is a reasonable guy. Of course he and his girlfriend left pretty quickly. After several interchangeable people came and left throughout the night, midnight struck.

I should have been gone by this time, but as luck would have it, the money was messed up at my boyfriend’s work and it would likely be another few hours before he could come get me. A cab wasn’t much of an option since I had no idea where I was and it would have been very expensive to get them out there and then out to my apartment. So, I decided to wait it out. The night got progressively more out of control until the big moment. That moment being the arrival of one “Crazy Mary” and her cohort who was yet again interchangeable and nameless to me.

Crazy Mary has stringy, blue, partially dreaded hair. She is thirty one years old, missing six teeth, pudgy, and somehow still alive. When she first started to speak I immediately thought she had a mental disability or was partially deaf. Then I realized, she was just that drunk. It was a level of intoxication unlike anything I have ever seen.  Since she was this many sheets to the wind and still partially mobile I gathered that this was her life. She is this level of drunk every moment of every day. She made me very, very uncomfortable.

Crazy Mary depressed me, as well. Her life must be very sad. She clearly has no idea that her existence is flawed. That this is not happiness. That no amount of liquor can truly solve the issues that she so obviously has to deal with. It makes me sad to know that she will be dead, soon. There is no way her organs can keep up with the bottles for too much longer. And, failing that, there is no way she can avoid injuring herself very badly for much longer, either.

Crazy Mary told me that she is a star child. And that she lost her job. And that her boyfriend told her not to have sex with anyone else that night since he was too far gone to even move from the bed. Apparently she would normally go ahead and find a partner to engage with. But not tonight. She could barely walk or stand. She almost broke several things.

Then there came a time when I was deeply considering the fact that I had to leave, now, because she was probably dead and I didn’t need to be in the ghetto, with strangers, and a dying or dead alcoholic.

But, she wasn’t dead. Somehow. Apparently she had wanted to stand back up. My coworker went to pull her up and help her to her feet. She stumbled into him, managed to flip over his shoulder, and, with the loudest and most sickening CRACK I have ever heard in my life, smacked her head on the hardwood floor.  I did not dare to even look at her. I was sure that she had brained herself and was bleeding everywhere. When I finally did manage to check, she was just laying there. No blood. But not moving either. She did manage to come around. She knew her name and the color of her hair and where she was. Considering her state this was quite an impressive feat, regardless of almost knocking herself unconscious. She left shortly after that. And so did I.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been so relieved to see my boyfriend’s name pop up on my caller ID. I literally ran down the road with no shoes on to meet his car. I felt like a child and I felt like an old woman. The child in me was freaked out. Scared. And ready to go home. The old woman in me was tired. And bewildered. And ready to go home. There was another absurd adventure on the way home, but this story has gone on too long already.

I have come to realize that at almost 26 my ability to deal with fiasco-adventures is dwindling. When I was younger and living in the dorms, last night would have been equally as disturbing. But I would have been drunk like the rest of them and probably remembered very little. I would have been able to file the night away with the other drunken escapades and moved on.

But I am not that young anymore and I was actually sober last night. I remember it all and I’ve been carrying around this weird feeling ever since. Something in my chest or in my limbs that won’t let go and is strangely heavy. It’s a weariness of the world that I am struggling to come to terms with. Meeting people like Crazy Mary has become much less interesting and much more distressing. Knowing that she needs help. But there is no help to give. She wouldn’t take it. She wouldn’t know what to do with it. She would hate it and keep doing what she knows how to do.

It makes me exhausted. And thankful for my sanity, my relative sobriety, my stability, and my quiet little life. Things have gone wrong this year. Nothing went quite the way I had intended. But, at least I’m not Crazy Mary.

 

Relive the Rejection

I mentioned in my post, Publishing Powers, that it is always a good idea to branch out and try to either get yourself published traditionally or to at least enter some competitions.

And, several months ago, I did that very thing. I entered the Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition. Grand Prize is being published and $3000.

I got an email from them finally:

  Well not the “Congrats you can stop worrying about the bills temporarily because you got some money! Oh and good poem too!”  I was hoping for. I’ll admit that recently I was much more focused on the idea of the money than the whole getting my poetry out in to the world thing. So what? Money feeds you!

I am torn, though, on whether I should thank them for the courtesy email. They said that winners would know by October 19. 2012. If I hadn’t heard anything by then, I would have known and moved on. Instead, I get an email and all I can read of the subject on my phone is “81st Annual Writer’s Digest…” Deep down I knew it was the rejection. But, there was still that small bit of hope tantalizing my brain. And then the sudden punch of the “Of course…”

On the other side, at least they were nice enough to send out an automated “Sorry! You’ll get to learn all about the people who are actually good at writing in a few months, though!” email.

Now it is time for me to take my own advice and be comfortable with the thought that my poem does not suck and going up against over 9,000 people is kind of a bitch and one day, when I’m like 97, some place will say “Hey, this is pretty alright. Here’s $10 and your writing in a small corner of our publication.”

What I really need to do is seriously get to writing new material. I find it difficult without peers to read and critique my writing though. People can be serious assholes in writing workshops. But some people are genuinely there to help and give opinion on what works and what just has to go.

I’ll just sneak into a class on my old campus again and make them all read my stuff. Actually…I have an old professor who would actually be okay with that…hmm…

Letters to Live By

I was considering recently that the art of letter writing is absolutely lost to us. I remember that as little as 10 years ago I still held actual letter correspondences. And the act of really taking the time to write about my life and my feelings and inquiring into the well being of others was relaxing. The anticipation of a return and finally having the product in my hand to read and laugh over was delightful. It seemed that the person cared because they took the time to craft something personal.

I was listening to the John Tesh radio show the other day and he mentioned how the stationary business is suddenly booming because people are starting to realize that writing letters was awesome. Emails come off as distant and all the romance is completely removed.

There’s something sweet and romantic about a shoe box full of old letters. Yellowing and cracking with age. The ink slowly disappearing. It really symbolizes Time and all the affects it has on our lives. As a grandmother it’s nicer to look through old letters, smelling the hint of past lives on the fragile paper than it is to boot up the old laptop and search through your archived Gmail messages.

When soldiers were off at war so many years ago they received hand written discourse from their mothers and girlfriends. Sadly some of those were Dear John letters. But that, to me, would probably be better than a Dear John email with a bunch of winky faces or sad faces stuck in. Granted email makes it easier to stay in touch with pictures and videos. You can Skype and all that to have real time interaction with your loved ones.

Emails serve their purpose in the business world and for super long distance conversations. But I would still rather receive a birthday card and letter as opposed to some animated singing thing through the internet.

It is because of this that when a good friend of mine told me that she was going to start writing me letters and that we would have a Fitzgerald – Hemingway letter correspondence I immediately agreed. Not just because of my (and her own ) literary background. And not just because I consider Fitzgerald to be an absolutely brilliant writer. But because I wanted that experience for my life. I want the shoebox in the closet. I want the chance to receive real letters and the cathartic act of writing my own letters.

Plus, as she mentioned, when we are older (and clearly brilliantly famous) we can put them all together and make them into a book. How beautiful!

Most certainly an admirable way for me to spend some of my excess time.