Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Canada: Practicing my poker face

They say that if you introduce a new chicken to a flock, you should do it in the middle of the night while they are all sleeping. Then when the brood awakens, they figure that newbie has been there all along.

That's how I was hoping to feel when I returned to Canada in the middle of the night. My mom's birthday is today and all she wanted from me was to come home. And all she wanted from my sister, who is a flight attendant, is to bring me home on a buddy pass. As for my other sister? I dunno. Maybe she'll get mom a sweater or something.

Anyway, the prodigal daughter returned to the flock and instead of blending in like she was there all along, she was met with the question:

"Don't you think you should get a job?"

Even my niece who is smart as a whip noticed that I wasn't going to a job every day like mommy and daddy. I told her I was a writer. She said, "So you don't have a job then."

"I have a job. I'm a writer."

"But you just write in bed."


"And sometimes in the kitchen."

"Ya, because writers get to do that."

She had to mull on that for awhile. 

What astounds me is that people don't think I've got a plan. That I'm just traveling all willy nilly and not thinking of the future.

Don't they know I've been the boss of me for a very long time?

Don't they think I'm conjuring up evil plans?

Do they think I'll just hang out and wait for the funds to dry out?

Don't they know me at all? Me who is always coming up with something fabulous to do with my time?

It's tough for an artist to constantly have to justify her behavior to the world. Because the world seems so focused on the 9 to 5 slugging and the thought process that one shouldn't consider being an artist a real job. And one certainly shouldn't enjoy one's job.

Ya that's not gonna fly with me anymore. And I pray to God that my God children don't pick up this thought process.

In the wisdom of Christophe, when I lamented about this with him on the phone, he said in his BetterEnglishThanMyFrenchNotThatI'mJealousOrAnything, "They will understand later."

Later? I've already got two books out in the world that are shining wit and wisdom in the lives of those experiencing the trials and tribulations of dating.

Later. After I've finished plugging away at making my evil plans a reality.

Later. After I reveal my evil plans to the world.

In the meantime, I'm keeping my evil plans to myself and practicing my poker face.


  1. Okay that picture scared me and made me think of the Twilight Zone movie when that one boy made his sister's mouth disappear. Anyway...

    I have a feeling I'll be writing a post just like this in the future! It's so funny how families worry that we're suddenly complete irresponsible morons just because we don't have day jobs. I for one know that you have a real live writing job because I paid cash money to download your Office Town book! Keep it up, sister!

  2. don't you worry your pretty little poker face, dear friend! YOU WILL HAVE THE LAST LAUGH!!!!! - and can i just say, "WHAT???? YOU'RE in CANADA?!?!?!?" oh, how I wish my veggie booth was still open for you to browse through. I do, however, have a BIG basket of assorted peppers on my back porch. come by for FREE PICKINs' if you wish!!!!! :)

  3. I'm with Mel - total Twilight Zone flashback. Very disturbing. Don't get me wrong: I definitely thing making some people's mouths disappear would be a good thing. Too many people confuse not working with doing nothing. Personally, I'm in favor of both. You can't blame them, they've been trained to think that way. Ken Robinson talks about it here:

  4. By the way, that's "think" not "thing". I wasn't doing a Desi Arnaz impression.

  5. I can just hear your mom's voice in my head when she said "Don't you think you should get a job?" Love this post! Also, welcome home!

  6. Also, tell Aggie I said Happy Birthday!

  7. I'm almost 35 and my family still questions my life choices. It's annoying, to be sure, but I know they love me even if they don't agree with the path I've chosen.
    9-5. uck. Just keep in mind Robert Frost's The Path Not Taken.
    Be true to yourself and your own path and you won't regret it.

  8. Mel Heth: The photo scared me, too. I had to take it down. And thanks for purchasing the Office Town book. Forgive the typos. Ugh!

    An Undertaker's Diaries: Yep, I'm here. We'll rendezvous for sure!

    Jeff: Thanks for the Ted video. And yes, very disturbing.

    Roxanne: We must rendezvous as well. And we all just had cake at mom's house. The usual crew.

    Vapid Vixen: Rock on sister. That's great advice.

  9. There is a big difference between having a job and having a profession. Certain professions, like writing, can conjure up a perceived luxurious benefit like working at home, or in your pajamas, without any regard for what you are actually doing. How many people have any idea that you are "working" pretty much all the time. When you are not writing you're thinking about writing, reading authors who inspire your writing, or talking to other writers and friends about your writing.

    For me, a day in the painting studio is mentally and physically draining. When I finish I know that I'll never really be "finished." I'm ready for a glass of wine (or two) and then sit and look at what I've done all day. Is that part working? On days that I'm not painting I'm thinking about painting. If this were a job I'd be paid overtime! Wait a minute, unless I sell a painting I'm not getting paid at all!

    Don't expect more insight as to your profession just because they are family. Not understanding what you do, and how hard you work at it , doesn't mean they don't care. When I was 45 my mother gently, caringly, asked, "When are you going to get a job as an art teacher? Isn't that what you went to school for?"

    So keep the faith. Keep your adventures. Keep your keen observation of everything you experience. Stay in your pajamas, sit up in bed and write. You do it so well!

    P.S. When you're not writing party hard!

  10. Richard: Thanks for the words of encouragement. I love your mom's comment. Isn't that what you went to school for? Um... no. As for partying hard, I miss Melanie! She's very good at it.

  11. I guess I get the hint I'm guessing that blog was meant for me .No matter what I will support you in whatever you decide to do I just what you to be happy

  12. Ha! I was wondering if your mom reads your blog. I would probably get the same thing from my dad, only I can hide behind staying home to take care of the kids.

    I liked Christophe's comment as well- concise.

    It is pretty interesting to try to worm your way out of the mindset that 9-5 is the only right way. I am still battling with that one a little, since it's so ingrained in how I think of careers. And that's fine for many, many people, but it doesn't work for others.

    Keep up your writing and nurture your blog- it's rare to know that you are doing the right thing for yourself!

  13. I have been freelancing for ten years...yes 10 and my mother is still hoping I get a job.


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