Thursday, June 14, 2007

i can get back to inhaling now

Ri once described my appetite for books not in terms of reading, but "inhaling." It's always been that way, ever since I sounded out the adventures of The Poky Little Puppy for myself. Recently she asked me for a recommendation and I consulted my notebook (I list ones I've heard about and then when I've read them, I give each a two-line review and a grade. Shut up.), only to realize I hadn't read anything new since last October. That's a really long time for me, especially if you consider how many precious commuting hours I've saved by working from home this year. Unfortunately, I've spent most of that extra time on the world's worst hobby: worrying.

Approaching the end of year two on the dungeon contract, it became very clear that I didn't really want to work erratic night hours much longer. What with the fact that I interacted with my boyfriend more than I would have if he lived in my own time zone and my mother breathing down my neck to procreate, it seemed the grandchildren of her dreams just might stay there if I didn't join the land of the living. But I didn't know what I wanted: another great opportunity with night hours or a less interesting gig with a schedule that allowed me to see the sun?

For months I freelanced, working from home and paying out-of-pocket health insurance. I transitioned back to being awake during the day, talked to people in other states and different industries and tried to figure out where I belonged. And all that time I worried. So much that I didn't sleep well, wasn't productive, didn't follow through as thoroughly as I should have. And I rarely did anything fun because I couldn't allow myself to relax.

I went to Miami. Then Detroit. I courted people in New York. I e-mailed companies all over the place and called people who knew people. And suddenly some big-time decisions had to be made. I obsessed. I asked for more time. I obsessed some more. I ran it by my friends and family. Repeatedly. Some told me I'd be stupid if I did one thing. Some said I'd be nuts to go with another. I was paralyzed with indecision.

Right around then, Rolling Stone published its 40th anniversary issue. It was shiny and red and I read it cover to cover. I don't know if the discussion of the turbulent Sixties resonated with my turbulent state of mind, but I couldn't put that thing down. And then, on page 132, I got my answer. In an interview with Rolling Stone's Keith Richards, Kurt Loder asks, Any life lessons you'd like to pass on to that younger generation?

"First off, don't do anything if there's not joy in it, a sense of exhilaration. A day is a day, and each one is going bye-bye, and you've only got so many more in front of you. Friendship is probably one of the most important things in life. Apart from your immediate family, it's about friends -- the ability to make friends, the ability to forgive friends. And their ability to forgive you. It's just the ability to enjoy other people's company, really. Then you've got it all, man. The rest of it's gravy."

Right then I knew I'd have to turn down a wonderful job opportunity because if I had to work odd hours in a strange city where I didn't know anyone, at this point in my life it wouldn't matter how great the gig was. I decided to take my chances in limbo a little longer rather than be stuck and unhappy far away. And it worked out for me: A few days later I got an offer from one of the places I've been freelancing. They created a permanent position for me. Working during the day! Not on weekends! Not on HOLIDAYS, either! And I can take the train, which means no more parking!

I don't have to be able to see cc to know she's reading this and rolling her eyes that I got inspiration from a man who allegedly snorted his father's ashes, but someone who's been rocking as hard and as long as he has must know a thing or two about a thing or two.

Even though it's not a book, I decided that because of its heft, the front-to-back way I tackled it and what it did for me, Rolling Stone's The Fortieth Anniversary deserves an entry in my notebook right under the scathing review of Atonement:

5/07

The Fortieth Anniversary
Rolling Stone

Interview issue; what the greats went through in the Sixties is still relevant. Eye opening.

A

14 comments:

Lia said...

I used to keep a book notebook, with vital stats on everything I read and one-paragraph reactions (not necessarily review; could be just what it made me think about). I gave it up at some point, but I can't really remember why.

That is such a hopeful, inspiring story, and I really needed to hear that. It hasn't quite given me the courage to quit my job and go for something I'll enjoy more, but it's reassuring to know that it can work. Maybe I'll manage to act on your example eventually.

Radioactive Jam said...

Sounds great, congratulations!

Who'd a thunk Keith Richards would still be able to string sentences together, eh?

The Stormin Mormon said...

Book Notes?


I always just read them again.

Librarian Girl said...

Who knew that Keith Richards could rock out the MEANING OF LIFE like that? Because really! He totally DID.

And book notes like that? You are a closeted librarian, my friend. We all do that.

cadiz12 said...

thanks, guys. :)

i can't recommend what i did, mostly because of all the worrying.

you're on to me; when i was a kid i told people i wanted to be a doctor, but i'm pretty sure i secretly wanted to be a librarian. no math.

Jon said...

I've never cataloged my books like that... in fact, most of the time, I can only remember that I liked a book, not what exactly it was about... is that bad?

Radioactive Jam said...

I just re-read the post title and had an early 1990s Bill Clinton flashback.

Alexandra said...

ha when you said "notebook" i thought it was some new book reviewing user generated service on the inernet..

anyway, so happy abt the new gig- and VERY happy you stuck by your guns and now going to work on your terms!

oh, now.. why is this post labled babies?

omar said...

I'll look past your book nerd status and just say CONGRATULATIONS! I'm so happy for you!

And I'll also say, stop worrying so much.

willowtree said...

Congratulations!! Good to know there is still good news in the world.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Wow, when you said on my blog that you're doing a bit of dancing, I asked, why are you dancing...new job...engaged [I was going to ask too, 'babies?' haha].

Man Cadiz, this is EXCELLENT news! Enjoy!!

Speaking of inspiration...you'd be surprised where and who it can come from. Even the poorest, most uneducated woman / man can have something good to offer.

Syar said...

Oh my gosh, another great idea. A book notebook! I'm in the middle of 5 books right now, an obnoxiously difficult feat even for me, and I don't quite know how I got into it and was thinking of how many I've read in my life, in between chapters. I shall now start taking notes. Thanks Cadiz!

As for Mr Richards, I think that's great your answer was actually spoken and printed. I'm beginning to think mine is encoded in some non-human language on the far side of the universe. Now if only I could find my own celebrity rocker conduit.

ML said...

Yeah on the job! I love it when things work out so perfectly.

I don't think whathisname really snorted his father's ashes. I liked that paragraph of his that you quoted.

jinius said...

omg i can't believe i just read this post today of all days. how serendipitous. really need to read this. you never how and when the universe will send you messages...and who knew it would be thru keith richards?!