After 7 months of not posting, it's hard to even circle around the idea of posting on this blog again. In some ways, it can be seen as a spectacular failure, or another example of how I can't commit, can't follow-through, don't have the drive to succeed. A great idea that remains mostly that -- an effervescent thought, a lone feather buffeted by the breeze, a wisp of smoke disappearing into the atmosphere. The truth I've been able to ferret out, away from doubt and self-flaggelation is slightly less dire and less full of condemnation: it is too terrifying for me to try and write about my life from right in the middle of it. A dear friend and wonderful writer once confessed to me that writing about her life is how she sorts it out and makes sense of it. And I suppose, when I started this, I imagined myself dutifully typing out my trenchant insights and witty observations about the state of joblessness every few mornings, and that writing about this would lead to more writing about other things. In my mind, the spoonful of sugar crystals spun themselves into a giant, fluffy cloud of cotton candy with endless possibilities. Reality was the moisture that wicked all that lively, boastful volume back down into a sad, soggy thread of sweetness. Bitter sweetness, perhaps.
It was too hard for me to be engaged and in the moment to also have the critical distance necessary for me to write about being jobless. And though I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted this blog to be, I most certainly did not want it to become mere note-taking jotted for an audience, inelegant who/what/where/when's and why's more suited to a journal. Nor did I want it to be an attempt to coerce a crowd into cheerleading for me as they tracked the ups and downs, the peaks and valleys of my job search. If I do write more about being jobless later, memory will have to serve as my source material, and perspective will be my filter, my lens. Blogging about the now (and more specifically, the now that scares the pants off of me sometimes) is like constantly peering through a magnifying glass at my own hands, and trying to read meaning in the craters and valleys, mold a new terrain from the ridges and valleys.
So what have I been doing? It feels like not that much sometimes. I've done some substituting, but it started to pick up more after I got a temporary job at the US Census Bureau. I stopped getting up every morning at 5:45 am and being depressed about not working. I celebrated unemployment benefits being extended another time. I worked in fits and starts for the Census, and enjoyed working there, and being in a work environment again, despite the capricious nature of their hiring staff. I was depressed about not being picked up for another phase of the Census operation, and saw another upturn in substitute assignments, though I haven't worked the 7 weeks needed to be eligible for another year in the system.
I've done some volunteer work, I've joined another networking group, and I have watched an unanticipated amount of tv. I have on occassion printed out a large sheaf of job opportunities, only to get too emotionally bogged down to send off a single submission. I have felt shame and guilt for not doing enough that has then further weighed me down into another rung of inactivity. The last few months, though, have been incrementally picking up, giving me more and more energy until I'm really doing more of everything.
This past Monday I was ready to write. The 24th was my eleven month anniversary of being laid off. 11. 11. E-lev-en. ELEVEN. MONTH. A fact that would have seemed impossible, inconceivable to me a year ago. Hell, eight months ago. Once the new year came and went, I somehow had it fixed in my mind that April was my cut-off date for being ok, that I would definately have a job by April, that there was no way possible for it to not happen. April came. April went. No job, and suddenly it's the end of May, and the school year ends on June 3. And someone, still, I'm ok.
I was a little more ok on Monday when I got an email in response to an application I turned in the previous Friday morning. I had an interview. My first interview in months, the first weak beam of light. And that light made it possible for me to pull the magnifying glass back from my palms, let my eyes focus on the possibility of whatever this last 11 months has been, and sit down with a little perspective. And write from a critical distance, with the ability to not sink under the weight of my own words, but to drift along with the current.