Pinch me, I live!

Blogging is like riding a bicycle. Once you fall off and skin your knees, it’s damn hard to get on that bike again.

So has it been with me about blogging, or writing diaries or journals in one form of another! Diaries and I have had a tempestuous relationship over the years. From the age of nine, I’d jot a few ‘Dear Diary, I broke my brother’s toy today and my mother doesn’t understand me’ lines. And then I’d wander away a couple of months, reread those passages, and wonder what emo weed was I smoking.

One time my best friend gave me a lovely notebook (I find it difficult to resist the allure of a fresh unspoiled journal, my house is full of them and yes, I don’t mind more). On the very first page of that new gift, I wrote enthusiastically about my day.

When I finally got around to adding to that journal again, on Page Two, it was nine years later. Nine. I was somewhat impressed I returned at all. I’m pretty sure that journal is around here somewhere.

I started blogging in 2003 and again the Fairweather Syndrome set in. I wrote a few weeks, trundled back in 2006, and since then, I’m quite proud to say I’ve actually been at it for months at a time.  And now here I am!

Right, so where am I at?

I Live, Really

What a month it has been! I am fairly breathless and sore and achey all over. First of all, I got a temporary two-month job in a bookstore. I can’t believe I got it! I was beginning to lose faith of ever being employed again. Despite some hitches and a few boos-boos on my part, I am absolutely loving this job.

I’m actually sad my contract finishes end of this month, as I adore the amazing people and the environment here, but at least it is valuable CV experience. I would love to stay on for a part-time job here, but ah well, I can only drop hints and not hope too much. I’m thankful enough as it is.

What is it I do? Well, it’s the busy Back to University period and I’m assigned to Customer Orders. I basically get orders and reservations from people, and then, like a detective, chase after that book! Whether it is somewhere amidst three floors of bookshelves, or when acquiring the book from…somewhere else. It’s that latter part that can be a doozy. It certainly keeps me on my feet! And it’s certainly never dull.

Consider, for instance, the first week when I was helping this sweet old lady who was trying to decide whether to buy this book she had reserved. I was talking to her when I decided to close this folding chair which was obstructing the work space, I thought. The next thing I knew, I’d snapped the chair shut on my finger. I felt a warm tingle from a fingertip.

And then blood squirted over both my hands. I stared in morbid fascination as red gushed from a single cut over my nail. The elderly lady was on the phone asking someone for advice about the book. I removed a tissue I happened to have in my pocket and jammed it over the cut. I was about to excuse myself when she suddenly asked me to speak to her friend on her mobile phone.

So what did I do? I hid my injured hand behind my back – because by then it looked rather alarming – and spoke briefly to a bemused sounded young bloke on the phone. Then I gave the phone back, cheerfully told her to take the book to a sales counter if she wanted it, then fled for help.

I didn’t think so much blood could come for a tiny wound! Luckily my manager was able to administer first aid, and wrapped the finger until it looked like Quasimodo’s hump with an allergy episode.

My Other Life

Everyone who works in the bookstore seems to lead a double life. One colleague is a playwright, for instance. Another is a musician, and so on. It’s all really quite fascinating! Whereas myself, I’m supposed to be a dedicated writer.

Progress on the novel is slower than I’d like. But on the positive side, I’ve submitted a short story to Cleis Press in time for the anthology deadline, and saw the release of my Edinburgh tour article for an iPhone travel app! I was rather proud of that one, because the latter bit involved a huge amount of research and fact checking that took up two months of my time. I’ll probably not make much money off it, but it’s good for experience.

Also, I’ve had to put my waitress job temporarily on hold until my bookseller contract is done, but at least the Auntie has been understanding about it. I might possibly have the job back if they need people. At the very least, if they take me back, if I have no other prospects, I can earn most of the rent money from the waitressing.

Meanwhile, I am trying to find a contest, anthology or magazine that will accept this short story I wrote based in 15th century Malacca. I am somewhat proud of The Caretaker, but it’s been uncommonly difficult to find acceptance for it. I already submitted it to fantasy and SF publication Interzone, and it came back with a polite rejection note.

But ah well, persistence is the name of the game. Somewhere out there, I’m sure I’ll find a home for it.

Must keep writing, must keep the fire going.



Filed under Contests, Fantasy, Malaysia, Novel, Procrastination, Triumph, Writing

4 responses to “Pinch me, I live!

  1. Good to see you back blogging again. It’s always great to catch up with what you’ve been up to.

    You’re an insanely talented writer, and The Caretaker sounds like a very intriguing story. I have no doubt that you’ll find a home for it sooner rather than later! 🙂

  2. Excellent update. I agree about blogging. It is a frustrating business. Lovely bandage. I used to have one just like it.

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