It’s 10:21 a.m., and I should be working. I am actually pissed-off that I am not working, but that is how the chips fell today. I am a part-time substitute teacher, and I nearly snagged a job near my home this morning, but I missed it by a fraction. And then, there were no other offers.
You see, in the Guest Teacher game, at least in my district, there are many ways in which to land a subbing gig. The best way, which often works for me, is to get on a school’s “preferred sub list”, and then be at the top of that list. Otherwise, I have to check the listings online, or wait for a phone call from the district. However, our district just started up again from the winter holiday, and most of the teachers are in their own classrooms today. No need for subs so soon after the break, except that teachers do get sick, or have sick children, or have loved ones pass away, or any of a variety of reasons to not be at work that are just as valid after a holiday as they would be all year long.
I have been trying to find a second job to supplement my income for some time, but for now, subbing is all that I have. And it is not nearly enough. I even tried getting a paper route, but it only paid enough for the gas that I was using each day doing the stupid job. I am seriously considering becoming a lab rat. I’ve already proven that I am indestructible.
I have tried getting jobs in my former careers. I was a chef for twelve years, and so I look for work in restaurants even though I haven’t stepped foot in a kitchen since 2000. I was also a Certified Massage Therapist, but I have lost many clients due to the bad economy and with school as my priority, I have just let that business slide. I don’t even have any money left over to renew my licenses and insurance, which makes getting a position somewhere tricky.
I have a Single-Subject Teaching Credential for Social Science, but I got it just as the new school year began. I will have to wait until summer comes around before any new positions are announced. I put all of my eggs in the teaching basket only to find that there aren’t any jobs out there for teachers right now.
So, for today, I try to look on the bright side: At least I have time to clean up the apartment that should have been cleaned over the weekend, or at least I have time to do the writing that I want to do. I have sub jobs lined up for the rest of the week, so I should not be too bitter. Let’s just see to the writing for now.
I have been writing many essays of late, with the sole purpose of trying to find my voice and to get comfortable with the process. My end goal in all of this is to write and publish a novel that has been kicking around in my head for years. I published the prologue to that novel yesterday (which I know needs a rewrite or two), and I think that I will post part of the first chapter later today.
However, I have discovered that whenever I try to work on the novel, I look for distractions to avoid the actual work. For example, right now, at this very moment, I am writing this essay instead of working on the novel. I am also kicking around some ideas for other blog entries. Then I will dutifully return to my novel and then, oh shit!, I need to wash the sheets, or empty the dishwasher, or some other banal task. Anything but forging ahead on what I would like to believe is my life’s work.
I think that most of us, if not all, experience a debilitating fear of failure at some point in our lives. I think that is especially true for all types of artists. However, I have also heard of a fear of success, and I am not sure what that means. Being an artistically minded person from a family of artistically minded people, I tend to float around from job to job, career to career, and various artistic expressions. I think that I tend to give up on my dreams too soon out of fear of being forced to confront my own success at any given talent.
I wrote an essay on my being a singer-songwriter and how I had failed miserably at my attempts to draw an audience. I believe in my talents as a guitarist and songwriter, even if my voice is rough and ragged, but any time that I tried to make a name for myself, I kind of sabotaged the attempts by behaving bashfully and stubbornly refusing to better my act.
I do have a debilitating shyness about me, especially when it comes to my art. I refuse praise, and I keep my art to myself. I know I am talented, but something about facing people who want to say that same thing to me makes me want to hide.
The internet makes it safe for me to put my work out there because of the anonymity factor. But, I know that if I am to succeed at all, I will eventually have to face people who will want to talk about my work.
Eventually, I will also put my music out there (here?) for all the world to judge. I know that I cannot be the only person on the planet who likes what I do. But I do trust the process of writing and practicing and posting and publishing on line. It works for so many others, and I know that it will work for me.
Now, if only I could get paid for this!