The Fight to Write


Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Needless to say my rant to the dgmlive site got moderated into oblivion. The courage to communicate the truth of things, especially when folks prefer to act in the drama they think they’re participating in, is in short supply these days. The ignorance of science, the dismissal of facts, the fact that most folks hate their jobs, the money grab and governmental giveaways going on, it all adds up to at least another six weeks of virus lunacy. The virus, if it has infected anything, has apparently infected people’s minds. But I said my piece and I’m doing my best to let it go.

The job, meanwhile. It turns out that the home improvement seems a pretty laid back place. Their lawn and garden operations have been shut down per some idiotic State mandate (I won’t rant) which you’d think would put a kibosh on the wave of hiring but, apparently, since thirty percent of their workers went immediately off work when the store offered two additional paid weeks off for the sick days, jobs are plentiful. Not that it will last, but this is nevertheless their seasonal rush, yard work and landscaping aside, so maybe the work really is there. But if I get my money out of it for the audiobook that’s all I care about. And the fact that I’ve been scheduled for five days, five hours/day – twenty-five hours/week – instead of my preferred four days and twenty hours is something I’m just going to let ride. It’s not as if I have any justification for not taking the hours – the book isn’t paying for itself, bills need to be paid and if I can’t manage to work on the TC2 editing and get the blog out meanwhile I’m doomed anyway. I’ve got to be capable of balancing things at least to some extent otherwise I’m afraid it will all come to a stop. Money makes things happen even if it’s lousy money. Going to a job, however unpleasant, if nothing else is moving in your life, especially if there’s an end date in sight, always serves to knock things loose if nothing else. It’s the interaction with people, too, the dynamic of putting myself in play, on a playing field where I’m wanted or at least needed versus continuing to struggle to enter a game where I’m apparently not that helps, too. Buy my book! – I declare. No thank you! – says the cosmos.

People. The workplace, everywhere, is a sitcom. Me and the other new guy are getting the store tour and we’re in the break room and a woman is holding forth about how she accidentally took her horse’s medication last week. “I usually have the horse’s pills in a different container but that morning I’d set them on the counter and forgot and just popped them in my mouth and swished them down. I had to call my husband to pick me up.” Her friend says, “Yeah, she couldn’t walk.” The onboarding chick says, “Thank God it wasn’t a horse tranquilizer.”

Then I’m sitting there doing my computer based training, standard procedure, yadda, blah, and this other guy comes in to sit down next to me on a computer and his phone starts going off – his ring tone is a donkey braying. Let’s just say that Ann Arbor, akin to most urban centers in Michigan, gets pretty rural pretty quickly, especially as you go west. It’s all comedy, of course, and when it isn’t you’re tasked with interpreting it as such anyway. Or you suffer. So, I’m not going to do well psychologically with a nightshift and having more than half my week consumed with labor that I’ve no interest in and getting paid considerably less than half what I used to make per hour, all that, but it’s not as if any of it is new to me. I’ve worked nightshifts, worked lousy hours, worked for lousy pay, for lousy bosses, at backbreaking work. A handful of the stories are in the DOP. Mostly, I’ve learned something about people and life and myself with each adventure. I just need to remain mindful of my tendency to get too involved in trying to learn everything and then to change it, fix it and make it better, to try to change my job into something that it isn’t. I just need to keep my mouth shut, do what I’m told, play by the rules, show up, go home and collect my money. And see what happens otherwise.

What is happening otherwise? No book sales. And today marks seven business days since I contacted Findaway Voices. We’ll see if I’ve indeed been able to hire the narrator or not – there’s a possibility he’s not interested, of course. Perhaps the manuscript just wasn’t doing it for him. Perhaps he’s too busy otherwise, with more appealing, better written books to work on. Perhaps he’s really interested and I’ll hear back today. Or tomorrow or what have you. It’s always a test, it seems, when following your VAPM, to see if you can let it go or not, to see if you can manage to hold to your heart but not grasp at outcomes. Fight according to dharma, as Krishna advises, in line with who you are, without regard to the conditions, which may not be exactly to your liking, and let go of the fruits. Live, as much as possible, in the knowledge that everything has already happened, that you’re merely acting your part, wholeheartedly, in a play already written; that your influence and the world’s perceived conflicts on behalf of it are merely illusion. But a necessary one in accordance with the Mystery of how things are. I’m a writer, then, despite having a job that makes being one more difficult. I’ll earn my money for the audiobook in eight weeks. It’s up to me to keep fighting.

DOP1 (2010-11) VINTAGE POST:

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011. The consultant I used to help me with the EIAO asshole came through with some spice vendors who provide COAs, so I contacted them and one came through very quickly. So I forwarded it to Dijon’s boss and got a quick email back:

[Dijon], please review. If you need to discuss this with Keith, please do. If not, please schedule a conditional grant visit as soon as you can.

Of course to our drowsy, baffled butt-head quota-boy Dijon, this will mean he needs to start thinking about getting ready to start wondering to get ready to almost start getting ready to set something up so maybe he can possibly DO SOMETHING. The ass. I wish T from FSIS was back in charge of setting it up because THAT guy expedited shit. So I’m still waiting and it pisses me off and frustrates the fuck out of me. I swear it makes me drink and howl at the moon like I did last weekend when my brother-in-law and sister-in-law came by and I got myself tanked with angst. It was the night of the Le Creuset cook off. ‘Not proud of my performance, but man I am fucked up by this waiting game and run-around. I am so damn impatient (a flaw I know) to get rewards commensurate with my efforts. The cart sure as hell isn’t doing it. Unless I broaden my definition of “rewards” to include the good feedback. The cooking is cool, but it doesn’t jazz me to feed people in this way. A restaurant would fucking destroy me – I can’t take the non-stop hustle and mass-feeding bullshit. It’s been great to know a guy like Scott in the kitchen because he’s a pro and can sauté like a madman, flip pans with both hands, crank out food for a table of sixty-five, etc. Scott actually seems to enjoy it, Anthony Bourdain-style, but it drives me fucking crazy to focus on quantity and speed, even though I’m actually not bad at it. It’s not my mission. So, I need to get my headcheese biz going and the USDA needs to lead, follow or get the fuck out of the way but until then I’m biophycomythologically jacked up.

Rewards commensurate with my efforts. A life-long struggle. I need to get paid what I think I’m worth. I like that I have $500K as my annual income on my Mandala. Money does legitimize things. Yes, it fucks everything up too, but that’s the amount I want for now. I’ve been contemplating why my “creation equation” seems to be fucked up with too high of a resistance level. Sometimes I think it’s me self-sabotaging my progress in life. Again? Do I do that? Do I still fucking do that shit? What do I really think is a limiting belief that I may be holding onto? Maybe it’s that I’m like my grandfathers, both of whom seemed, in my childhood mind, to struggle financially. They seemed unhappy, unfulfilled and without respectable incomes, or at least incomes that alleviated their pervasive atmosphere of compromise. One grandfather had some crappy office machine repair job or something that he obviously couldn’t care less about. A pretty pissed-off or at least grumpy dude from what I remember. He didn’t seem too happy with what he had and what he was doing without. My other grandfather was an entrepreneur at least a couple times in his life (service stations) but the businesses failed. My dad told me during the Hawaii trip we took last year that his dad had those businesses but he too often had trouble getting paid – he’d do work and some asshole wouldn’t pay him.

Anyway, maybe I’m thinking that I’m a failure and can’t run a successful business because I’m like my grandfathers and they failed. And that’s why my dad, who was successful in many ways, none of which I can identify with, though I’ve tried mightily, had no interest in leading that type of life. He may have been jaded by seeing his dad struggle. I need to release any limiting beliefs that I am somehow incapable, based on family genetics or history, of being a successful businessman.

An EHS recruiter from Texas left a voice mail on Angie’s phone yesterday – he said something like my name came up and even though it’s been three years since he last spoke to me, that he’d like to get an update on my status. That just tells me that 1) my credentials still pop in terms of EHS and 2) they must still get opportunities for EHS managers that they can’t immediately fill with qualified people even in this fucked up economy. That bullshit field IS where the money is, just like I told old Bob K. that one day sitting in his office when I agreed to help out in Texas, before I bamboozled myself into another fiasco. The only relevance now is that, like the shepherd in Coelho’s Alchemist, I can apparently still go back to that kind of work – you can go back to what you did before, if that gives you any comfort. But it’s really no comfort at all to me because unlike the shepherd in that book, who enjoyed being what he used to be, I fucking hated every fucking minute of it. Even though I had a knack for it.

I must try to keep focused on the fact that I do have a hook into “society” – I cook things that people like to eat. That is the “boon” I brought back from my hero journey – the food. Also the writing, trekking, tunes, biophycomythology and maybe even the gastrofarm, though I think that “vocation” is the weakest of my six. That one may be fading out. I had a young couple come to the court late afternoon – I was closed – just for my headcheese, because they’d heard about it. They ended up buying buns from Sans St. (which goes to show a restaurant biz model that is going to be successful – zcob just seems to have the magic touch) but they came for me, they came for HH. I have success. I just don’t know if it’s financially sustainable and that will take some time to figure out. If I have the time.

The problem is that so many good things – things of memorable and almost essential goodness, don’t turn out to be sustainable. But as I write that statement it seems flawed, incorrect in some way. Maybe every good thing is sustainable, but not in the financial or business sense of the word. If indeed, like me, one can make a very small food business plunk along by bankrolling it with your wife’s income, then indeed it is sustaining itself and is sustainable. It’s just not financially successful. Yet. What I have to do is keep the faith, keep plugging and if it keeps moving forward, then hh moves forward until the world tells me I’m done. I can’t sabotage the potential for unlimited financial success either – making money isn’t a bad thing, even though sometimes it seems to ruin everything. It will be my job, like it seems to be Ari’s job in his biz, to keep making hh a compelling place to buy stuff. I can make it whatever size I want, within certain limits of course, but if I want to “get big” and sell-out to a conglomerate, etc. I bet I can at some point. Maybe I could get venture capital. Maybe I could become a corporation or LLC. For now I can just keep working on the quality, working on myself and trying to hold fast to my myth as it plays out.