dawnswann

Alone-ly

In Two Things That Did Not Get Published on May 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm
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None of these people is me or my interviewee. Or the politician for that matter. Not my BFF either.

I am a freelance writer who is lucky enough to be way too busy. The vast majority of what I write goes in doc.x format to a faceless boss named Kristina who lives in Washington State where she grows a vegetable garden amongst the towering Sequoia and Redwoods and edits my weekly columns. That’s my ghost writer work. I often liken my ghost writing to the work of a habitual sperm donor. We both pour forth our seed, get a check for it and I never see where my babies end up. Whatevs. At least I don’t have to worry about any of my kids marrying my other offspring.

I also work for a Boston-based magazine and a Boston-based newspaper. Those jobs, too, are manned by faceless bosses, though I have met my boss/mentor at the paper a handful of times. At those places, I am given a byline. But I rarely read my work once it’s published because it embarrasses me to the point of physical pain to see my words in print. I write lots of papers for college, stories for my writing group, stories to indulge myself and I keep a journal. The point is, I write A LOT and words are an alone-ly thing.  Sometimes I lurch out of my (second floor bell tower) office like a deranged Quasimodo and can’t figure out how to make it WORK in the world where people actually LIVE.

Take this for example. The other day I was meeting with an interviewee at a local coffee spot. He also is self-employed. I don’t want to speak for him, but I’m pretty sure I saw a bit of the I’m-OUT(!!!!!)-of-the-office mania reflected in his eyes. We leaped and barked and nipped for a few minutes, just happy to be let out of our cages. Then we settled down to our coffees in their wide porcelain cups and spoke into my tape recorder. After a while, a local politician we both are acquainted with came by. He just recently won an election, so he was dressed in a very politicianish way in his battleship gray suit, his subtly striped shirt and his bold, I-can-do-this tie. On his lapel was a little pin that looked like the state of Massachusetts. He also had a smudge of mania on his face and I recalled that before he represented me, he was self-employed. We shook hands with each other and with his female companion and then we made ironic small talk (which is the human form of the canine custom of butt-sniffing) and then we all went back to work.

Soon after, my interviewee and I reflected on how we both talk and answer ourselves during the day while we are alone as if it were safe to admit such a dirty secret in the glowing sunshine of company.

“What should we do this morning, Dawn?” I told him I ask myself.

“I don’t know, Dawn, let’s have a little staff meeting,” I told him I answer.

We chuckled, content that we were BOTH crazy and thus neither of us was. He admitted that he has considered buying a volleyball and naming it Wilson.

This is not a new thought. One of my BFF’s is a firefighter who doesn’t read this blog. Which is why I can mention him almost by name. Just the other day we talked about how sad we feel when the kids go to school in the morning and we are left with a field full of untamed hours to break. “Freedom,” shouted that lunatic Mel Gibson from astride his horse in the movie about the Scottish guy. What got cut in editing was the part right after that where he hollered, “is so freaking lonely!”

I’m not complaining, I’ve got a kick ass job. Right now I’m “working” and I’m dressed in my un-politicianish polka-dotted pajama pants and a blue tank top. Sans supportive undergarments.  We home based workers are part of a new generation of capitalism. (That scoffs at benefits, insists on overtime and would like to see you try and take a vacation.) We are pioneers in the Wild West. We are free within a set of rigid parameters. So, given that, all I’m asking is that, should you drop by for coffee one morning and overhear me shouting at myself, you’ll understand why.

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  1. Oh, yeah! True dat.

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