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January 1, 2013: Happy New Year?

I’m feeling rather depressed. This is not the best statement to make in the first dispatch of the New Year. I have a cold. Our friends Alice and Andre had it, then Pete got it, and now I have it. I really thought that I’d bypass getting this virus. I felt strong, healthy, was in good spirits. I thought wrong. So much for being invincible. Denial didn’t work.

For over a week I had to listen to Pete hack, wheeze, and cough. Now he who is still coughing must listen to me cough. I know I’ll get better; after all this is a COMMON cold. But right now being in the present is no fun at all. In fact, thinking about the future is infinitely more preferable.

This year, I have several writing projects to finish, including getting last year’s dispatches in publishable form. I thought that I’d get all this done before having to take on a shit job. But no, I’m going to

Alys was cheered on a New Year's ride

have to take on a shit job. This makes me think of other writers, who find themselves in my position – day jobs often include driving cabs, bartending, doing retail in big box stores. Me? I’m going to apply to be a substitute teacher, in all grades.

I can’t expect that anyone will empathize with me. Some, in fact I think were thinking that it’s about time that I get off my lazy fat ass and do what they’ve been doing for years – working hard to pay their bills. How to explain, that I have been working hard for many, many years – I never complained because I enjoyed my job – it just didn’t pay. And it’s not going to pay. People, I noticed, people in fact that I know, are more apt to cough up $4.99 for a cup of coffee and a muffin than they are for a book that someone spent three years writing.

This is just the way it is. I am now going to have to work hard at striking a balance between getting writing done, tending to horses, and subbing. I have no illusions about this kind of work being what scholar Anne Bertoff once called a “meaning making activity.” I’m not, in the short term, going to make a difference in any student’s life. As I did as a student, I’m going to have to do as a substitute – put in my time. The difference between me and them is that I’ll come home with a paycheck.

And I’ll manage my time in a more efficient fashion. Time is like money, the more you have, the more you squander.

The thing about being down is the only place you can go from here is up.

Next: 2. 1/2/13: Happy Days are Here Again