I remember hanging out on New Year’s Eve at the neighborhood eatery Piebird, as the staff celebrated the New Year by tossing a pie off the roof of the building at midnight. (A tradition they’ve created.) While everyone was in high spirits, I was rather glum, quite concerned – nay, certain – that the coming year would not be a rosy one for me.
And I was right. I know some of you believe that if you think negatively, negativity will come to you. But, sometimes, negativity just comes to you whether you want it or not. And, even as we head into a brand new year, the bad stuff just keeps on coming.
Oh sure, there were a few bright spots. I won an award or two for my writing. But, being as I’m in my third year of joblessness (the unemployment dried up in January), awards weren’t paying my rent. When a couple of outlets I write for cut my workload in half a few months ago, it was a very big blow. Now, I really can’t pay my rent. (Seriously, I gotta go to court next week on back-rent issues if I don’t figure out something THIS WEEK.)
It would be fine if I had family in the area to stay with (a film-critic friend of mine had that to fall back on when he had to vacate his premises this year), but I don’t. Hell, half my family is dead or I don’t know where they are. I’ve already had friends and colleagues in my first year of unemployment tell me they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) put me up if things started getting hairy. So, 2014 may finally be the year I become homeless.
I haven’t even gotten to the serious gastrointestinal problems I had to deal with a month ago, which briefly burrowed through whatever money I had.
As much as people tell me how brilliant and amazing a writer I am (I’m not tooting my own horn; this has been said to me on occasion), I’m a brilliant and amazing writer who’s broke and jobless. It’s one thing to have talent; it’s another to have talent that can keep you off the streets — and it’s becoming increasingly apparent that I’m not in the latter camp. It was bad enough I had to struggle when I was employed. (Do you know how messed-up it feels to have a job and you’re still trying to scrounge up money?)
I know there are many, many others out there struggling just like me. But, of course, when you’re struggling, thinking about how others are doing usually takes a backseat. You’re mostly concentrating on how the hell you even got to this point. Others around you look like they’re making a comfortable – or, at least, tolerable — living. Meanwhile, you’re hoping and praying that a check will show up in your mailbox so you can keep the bill-collecting wolves at bay.
I try not to feel like a failure but, considering my age and where I am at right now, it’s often difficult not to think that. Jesus, I can’t even get a job as a security guard or a stadium parking-lot attendant. (I’m not exaggerating; I applied for both those jobs this year.) Is it no wonder some of my favorite movies this year – The Great Beauty, All Is Lost, 12 Years a Slave, Inside Llewyn Davis – all dealt with lost, lonely men looking for some sort of salvation? I’m right up there with those dudes.
Have a Happy New Year, everyone. In all likelihood, I won’t.
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- flykirk said: So well said. Recently laid off again myself. Hope 2014 is better for ya.
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