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Archive for September, 2012

Call me Casper.

So I’m well into my third month of only having one part-time job instead of two (though that may change soon, I am not entirely comfortable with putting all my money-making eggs in one basket) and I am starting to settle into something of a niche.

As with every job, there are things about this job that I really enjoy and other things I don’t particularly relish.  Essentially I have a foot in two different departments, and when I say different I really mean that they could not be more different.  One department is mostly paperwork, dealing with attorneys and their attendant penchant for crossing every T and dotting every I and the filing of said paperwork.  For the most part, this department – to me – is bo-ring.  But I opened my mouth and managed to get myself assigned to this department in my quest for more hours (and therefore more money in the ol’ paycheck) and so I’m keeping my head down and not trying to gain any further job description there.  The other department is much more along the lines of who I am, which is to say, full of opportunities to write.  The primary focus here is on web development, which is not an entirely new subject for me, other than I do not understand code and probably never will.  I am trying to get more work out of the powers that be in this department, trying to grow my quantifiable usefulness there.

One of the things that has cropped up since I have been here is my usefulness as a ghost writer.  It started off slowly, as good things generally do, with a couple of blog posts for the company blog.  They handed me a couple of industry articles to rewrite, and I turned the information into original content (oh internet, where were you in my college English-major days?) which they decided they really liked.  Before this, the company blog was only updated sporadically, and now we’re doing regular updates every other week.  I’ve got enough on the company server to keep them in blog content through the end of October right now.  Recently the company decided to initiate a company e-newsletter, the content for which Yours Truly is responsible.  All of this is good and encouraging.  I want more of this.

Just today I got a request from one of the guys in the department (sidebar:  the department I favor is staffed 100% by guys — booyah!) (see also: women are exhausting) to give him an estimate on ghostwriting a blog for a client.  The prevalent thinking here is to make me available for client sites as both a content writer for sites and a ghostwriter for those sites that also include a blog.

While this is exciting in the extreme, because it is solidly within the confines of my comfort zone, the only thing I have any real concern over is how to present this writing on a resume.  I mean, it’s one thing to author content on a website or blog, but without a byline how do you prove the words came from your brain?  I’ve asked this very question on some writers forums I belong to, and I haven’t really gotten solid feedback.  There would be an assumption, of course, that as a staff writer you would be uncredited for the words you write, but in presenting a portfolio of work it’s going to be tough to prove that certain content came from you.  So I really don’t know what to do about that.

But on the other hand… boo!

 

 

— Mox

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I can find a thousand things to complain about, to worry over, to obsess on, and can be brought up short by one very sobering fact.

Tonight in my hometown a mother and a father are having to make decisions that no parent ever should have to make.  Their son, who is only two years older than my own child, has a rare form of cancer and has been fighting the good fight for over two years.  This mother and father are not people I know personally, but they are friends of many of the people on my Facebook friends list, so I have kept watch over the situation from a distance.  On Thursday their son developed seizures, seizures that the doctors could not find a way to stop, seizures that led to the discovery that the cancer had spread to this young man’s brain.

We are fresh out of miracles around here, folks.

I looked at their open Facebook page and flipped through the photos.  I have the same sort of photos of Spawn.  Photos that show a kid full of life, having fun and just being a kid.  Photos that belie what’s really going on.

I have alternately cried and prayed and cried some more, and at the same time have been burdened with the ridiculousness of my own concerns.  When you’re thinking about how parents of a child very close in age to your own are making a thousand decisions on how, when, where, and why to let their own child’s life slip away, how best to go about it, how to put their desires aside, how much to tell their child and his sibling about what’s going on, how to stand upright and be clear-eyed and strong — well, in light of all that, hurts about being snubbed by friends or worries over your own child’s miserable grades in school pretty much pale in comparison.

I know I’m fortunate that the biggest thing I have to worry about with my own child is the fact that the kid’s grades are Cs and Ds.  That the kid has a sore throat.  That the kid is developing an attitude.

I want to shake Spawn until the kid’s teeth rattle, shake some sense into the kid, and at the same time I want to wrap my arms around my child and weep for what these parents are going through.

I know we’re going to have a tomorrow.  That the grades really do need to come up.  That puberty is upon us and it’s not going to get any prettier for a while.  And I feel like such an asshole that these things are still on my horizon, these are my realities and my petty concerns, and there is nothing I can do about a thirteen-year old boy dying of cancer while his parents and hometown watch.

 

— Mox

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