Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Better sit down...

It's time for a bit of psychosis...and anyone know knows me already understands what I'm about to relate; I wrote a whole play about it.

I had a long, rather tense back and forth with Brendan Kinsella, my lead character in "Place Of Safety." I wanted to find a job anywhere I could to start bringing in some money. I'm at the point where I can't meet my bills or expenses beginning in December. Period. My financial assets will have lasted exactly one year from the point when I moved to San Antonio. After that, I will have nothing and will have to borrow money to live on and I don't like that. Of course, if the people who owe me money for work I've done would PAY me, I'd be much better off, but indications are even if I take them to court I won't see a penny of it. So...I am, naturally, freaking out.

Problem is, I planned to use November to write "Place Of Safety." Focus on it for the full 30 days. My mother has two doctors' appointments and Thanksgiving will be low-key this year because we're saving it all up for Christmas when my sister's here, so it was doable. I was thinking 250-300 pages of work. And Brendan was actually beginning to pay attention, again. He'd become leery of me since I'd been "thinking about" this story for so damned long and made so many promises about finally getting down to it. And he'd been standing back waiting to see what happened before he returned to whispering into my ear.

You see, my characters need to talk to me for my stories to come to life. They bring the truth and the depth and the meaning and the humanity to them, but if they don't trust me to allow them to share their intentions and mold themselves, they clam up and all I'm able to do is put out something that is nicely plotted but has no reality to it. And I've seen so many movies and read so many books that have fine stories but aren't the least bit believable because the characters aren't honest with themselves or presented honestly. I can't do that, anymore; it's a waste of my time and effort.

So...for POS to come together, I need Brendan to believe in me. And me deciding it was more important to get a job right now, just as I'm about to embark on this great journey with him -- he sees it as a betrayal. Another promise broken. And he flat out let me know, if I get a job, I lose the book. I lose the story. So I have to choose which matters more to me -- my pride or his book?

This was not an easy discussion. I've never gone this long without a steady job, before. And something that came up was the probability I might not even be able to find a steady job, again...and it was questioned whether I should even look, anymore. My life has gone through a sea change since Heritage closed. I've cut my expenses down to where I can live on $1500 a month, less if I drop the health insurance that barely does me any good. I was having trouble making it on nearly 3 times that much when I was at Heritage. Plus I'm 57 years old and my skills are rarefied to the point where only a few people around the country can use them, so I'll be lucky if I can find a job in San Antonio that would even begin to pay me what I need to live on now let alone make use of my abilities. Still what it all boiled down to was, I hate owing people anything -- be it money or time or any sort of obligation. I've found others are perfectly willing to call you on whatever you owe them but are less than willing to reciprocate when they owe you.

And there it is -- the last step in my rearrangement of my life -- kicking my pride into place. If I really mean to write for a living, I can't do anything else. And that may mean living off other people for a little while and making do with even less than I have, even now. It takes me jumping off that cliff of the story and trusting Brendan as much as he trusts me. Which is the scariest part of this journey.

Y'know -- I just had a weird experience. At ten minutes to eleven I heard someone call my name. An unfamiliar voice out of nowhere. It wasn't my mother calling; I asked her. No one else was around. But I just remembered today is the day my grandmother died 25 years ago, here in San Antonio. At between 10:30 and 11 in the morning. She was the last person in my life -- the only person -- I really trusted to back me up. With her, I could have done anything without question. God knows, I proved it enough times.

Anyway, I put off the job search. I'll wait till December 1st. I'm jumping off the cliff, again. God...I hope this works out.

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