Thursday, March 30, 2006

Good Times Ahead

I don't know if people make their own luck, but I've definitely had a good attitude about life the past several weeks. Even in the midst of my winter funk, I knew that positive changes had to befall me eventually; that's just the law of averages. It makes me feel a little weak and/or shallow that I was such a downer during the colder months, that shorter days could have such an impact on my level of contentment. Nevertheless, March proves itself my golden month yet again. It's been my calendar placebo for many consecutive years, and this time I've revitalized my social life, gotten called to a job interview for positions I assumed had been filled, and I've made some great headway in my novel. Looking forward: the NHL playoffs start next month and my Senators are on a roll, my job interview is on Monday, new Fiery Furnaces album, and so on. I also agreed to volunteer for a charity auction on Saturday, which will take place at my old campus in Yarmouth. It'll be nice to walk those halls again, maybe bump into familiar faces, but the main reason I'm attending is because I can help out one of my former teachers and present mentors. It's nice that, despite my reclusive existence since graduation, there are people out there who have kept me in mind. I've fallen behind in my fiction writing, and I'm probably no longer on pace to finish book one this year, but that's no surprise. I'm always more productive when I'm overworked and overtired, and I've spent too much time cooped up. I don't often write about things that happen to me in public on a miscellaneous outing, but what I do get from being in public is the buzz of humanity, a fresh glimpse at the dynamic that hums in the atmosphere when people are interacting. I may steal an idiosyncratic mannerism from someone and immortalize it in one of my characters, but I don't typically carbon copy anything to my work. Of course, my characters may not even get immortalized in print. But the baggage they're transfering from my shoulders onto paper has been quite refreshing. That said, I've now reached the part of the story that's based on very personal events, events from 2003. Let's hope it cleanses me instead of salting old wounds. Either way, I'll have a very potent support group throughout the process. Yes, I truly believe that this year won't be a wash.

Last night I went out for wings and drinks with some old high school/college friends. I spent a lot of time talking about the past, and it helped quite a bit. I never toasted my will to continue. Perhaps I should have, but that's the one thing about my personality that I vow to preserve. Tomorrow will always be my friend. Tomorrow is always a new opportunity.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Transcribing Sucks

I have two freelance articles due on 15 April, and it seems that no matter how great the interviews, transcribing the tapes always kills my inspiration. Yes, I could approach these pieces differently. Some freelancers conduct their interviews via e-mail, and some hire people to transcribe their audio tapes. Neither of these strategies interest me because I don't want to compromise the experience of seeing my subjects in their natural environment, nor do I want to trim my income. So, instead I hunch forward, one hand hovering above the keyboard while the other presses play-- then stop, drop the tape recorder-- type a few phrases... play-stop-type-play-stop-type-- "What the fuck did he say?"-- rewind-- play-stop-type ad nausaem. And yet, phone or e-mail interviews will never suffice, because there's a certain magic when I visit someone's workplace and see them boast about their accomplishments. But that doesn't change the fact that transcribing is the #2 reason I refuse to pursue freelancing fulltime (#1 being the uncertainty of how much work I'd have at any given time). I'm quite content to accept every job that floats my way, and it's always a pleasure and an honour to immortalize someone in print. But I'm not one of those people who gets off on seeing his name in the masthead, and nonfiction will never pluck my novel from the centre of my universe. But I've procrastinated enough for today; time to press play again.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


"You might regret this tomorrow." - Luis, mere seconds ago

I want a place to express myself, because I spend so much time cooped up that I don't express myself enough. That said, I also want a name with pizzazz. So I may regret this title tomorrow. (I chose it when I was quite inebriated; still am.)

Let me also acknowledge the Essex Green song I pulled the blog title from. The phrase Notes in the carpet is from the track "Snakes In The Grass" (Cannibal Sea (2006), Merge Records). I ordered their first EP from their old website, and it came with a handwritten letter from Chris Ziter. If he ever reads this, I think it's very cool how he treats his fans.

Okay, I will try to limit posting to sobriety. So that means I must bid this place adieu.