Saturday, January 24, 2009

Yes, I'm whining about work again... with it!

I have an article to finish this evening. It has three strikes against it in front:

1. It concerns a subject I find interesting "in person" when I am able to take something of a "hands-on" role, but which I have come to despise putting on paper. The reasons are simple enough: the fanatics who will read my words are as anal-retentive as any bunch of people on the planet who need to get real lives. Show the slightest error and they will pounce like hungry jackals, deluging the editor with corrections, generally written in pure venom. My sense is that they enjoy being told what they already know, and deviations or words not in the lexicon of unstinting praise are, as the Germans say, strengst verboten*;

2. The publisher of this magazine, and of three others I work for, makes Ebenezer Scrooge look like Diamond Jim Brady. And the person who writes out the firm's checks -- by no coincidence a relative of his -- has a nasty habit of taking time off when we freelancers expect our alms. In fact, I am waiting hungrily (Almost literally so) for checks at this moment;

3. The editor I'm dealing with is a dweeb among dweebs. I'm sure he must have his good points -- I've never met him -- but communication is not among them: no returning of phone calls. Or relaying any post-submission criticism. Or praise, for that matter.

In short, each story for this particular magazine is an exercise in blind flying. I don't know how much space is being allotted for the story, have no guidance on any particular facets that might profitably be emphasized or downplayed.

So I write until I've exhausted what I have learned about the subject, hit the "." key one last time, and send the result off.

I dislike working this way. It has become the norm.

I'm the one who needs to "get a life," I suppose. It's been so long since I had one.

Or maybe a new job. The only fun I've had recently as a writer/editor came when I was able to give some advice to a dear friend on a story assignment. The result was good beyond my fondest hopes, even given my already high opinion of said friend's writing talent. In fact, my help was both minor and invisible in the finished product, as it should have been.

That felt good. It is the kind of collaboration I hoped for when I began writing for a "living" almost 23 years ago and have now enjoyed for the first time.

This does not.

Yes, I have become a grouchy bastard. Grouchier than ever, as those who know me will tell you.

I've earned it.

* Not that Germans have anything else to do with what I'm working on. Therefore, no Germans were harmed in the making of this story.


SunSilk_Soul said...

You have a life. It has just become a difficult one. Think of all you have gone through. Well deserved whining to say the least. *sigh*

John0 Juanderlust said...

For some reason I keep thinking about that movie which included the guy "not taking it any more" and people throwing TVs out the window.

Kari said...

Not invisible to the friend, I'm sure.