Been a while since I wrote a daylog. It's a long one. Skip it if you like.
I finally got my first solid paycheck in more than a month's time. At the beginning of December I'd lost my job with TGI Friday's and jumped, immediately, into doing a freelance web design gig- just one site (www.photonorm.com). The client was paying only $500 (half up front and half on delivery), so it wasn't exactly a Fortune 500 task, ya know? December, financially, was ass... in spades. Went down to New Orleans on a rescue mission- successful.
Came back home for X-Mas and life turned, well... my rose colored glasses have turned shit-brown. It's one of my many dirty little secrets that I'm an optimist, deep down where no one can see it. But this last month has been, day after day, eating just one meal a day and wondering how in the hell I'm going to pay for gas or rent or smokes or whatever else I'm used to having in my life.
I knuckled down and got a job as a projectionist at a local movie theater. It's a big 20-plex owned by Carmike Cinemas (who, I might add, declared bankruptcy last year). I get paid a measely $6/hour, but it's steady income and I can use the time between movies to write on my laptop. Heck, it's a cakewalk job.
My new boss, a guy I barely know, heard about my ongoing financial difficulties last week and loaned me $40 until paychecks came through. It totally blew my mind. Most people there live in total fear of that guy, from what I can tell. Rumor has it that he's King Asshole. I dunno. I just go there, do my job and mind my own business. One of my co-workers mentioned to him that I had only $10 on me until I got paid and he up and loaned me the money without me even asking. He just said, "Here. This should tide you over till next Friday. I expect it back when you get paid. That's my money, not the company's."
So I got paid yesterday and I was all set to pay him back. No can do. The bank wouldn't let me cash it because I had a literal -0- balance and had nothing to draw the money off of. So I had to deposit all of it. It'll post Monday night at midnight. Until then, I have $6 in my pocket. I've managed to make $6 last four days more than once these last two months. This should be no sweat.
Sitting around with not much else to do but work and write has given me a fresh perspective on a lot of things. A person can live in relative happiness on virtually no money, I've come to find. I enjoy the companionship of my friends more, I get to read more, I get to learn more... I've grown, in my head and in my heart, in the last two months more than I have in the last two years- all because I've been broke as a joke. Providence has provided, when I needed it most.
But it'll be nice to eat more than once a day again. Rent is coming due again soon and even though I'll be a week late (it'll have to be paid with the next paycheck, not this one), I'm not worried about it. I've got a job now. I'm earning my keep in this world again. I feel like I'm worth something, like I'm being more productive.
I suppose next to come will be a major computer upgrade. I desperately need it. I went looking through Price Watch.Com half an hour ago. For roughly $340 I can get myself a new CPU, motherboard, CD-ROM drive, 40 GB harddrive, GeForce2 video card and a 17" monitor. I've already got a decent sound card, lotsa software, floppy drive, NIC card, case and 256 MB RAM. I can just transfer the old stuff out of my case and slap the new stuff in, no problemo. All I need is to amass the $340. With a modicum of luck, I could have my system rebuilt and modernized by next month. I might have to live with only 2 meals a day, but I could easily handle that in the face of getting my system upgraded.
Why the push for the system upgrade? Why all the sacrifice? Hrm. Well, it's simple: web and graphic design. I need a faster, stouter system to do the stuff I want to do on my computer. I still want to work as a freelance designer and I'm going to need a system that can handle the workload. Currently my desktop is running an AMD K6/2-350, which by today's standards, sucks ass. Rendering 3D graphics on my system takes forever. I'd like to get a copy of Maya and that certainly wouldn't work well on my system as it stands now. Plus, I have a copy of WinXP, which is perfectly useless to me right now. To really use the things that XP has to offer, I'm going to need a stronger system.
The only thing I don't look forward to is the change-over. New OS, new hard drive, transferring all my old data to the new drive. I'm probably going to have to back everything up to my laptop first, just my stories and important stuff. I've done change-overs before. They're not difficult, but one false move and you can kiss a good chunk of data goodbye. I've had it happen before and I live in terror of it happening again. I've done a lot of writing over the last few years. To lose all that work, all those stories, would be nothing short of traumatic.
But right now, it's all just a pipe dream. I have to put in the hours, do the work and earn the paychecks before I can even begin the process. I'm still writing, but Mystic Ghost has been shelved for the time being. I want to get back to it, but I just can't seem to psyche myself up for it. I've learned something recently about writing, for me at least. When I start a project and think of it as being "small", like a long short story or something, it has a greater chance of turning into a book. Mystic Ghost started out as being just a short project, an idle idea that seemed cool, but as soon as I began thinking of it as a "book", the going got tough on it and things slowed down. The writing became more difficult and I began to feel overwhelmed by the idea. Like, "Wow. I'm writing a book. A book. Alone." Writing a short story, or what is envisioned in my head as being a short story, is easier to focus on. I've recently started a new short story and in the last four days it went from 0 to 14,500 words- and it's just beginning, I think. But I won't let go of it being a short story in my head. I want to finish this one. I want to finish a story before the summer begins. I need to. I think I'll feel a hell of a lot better about myself if I do. Like I accomplished something.
Too many things hanging over my head. I need to tie some loose ends up, get them done, so I can move on the things I want to do. How can I pursue publication when all I have is incomplete stories? I can't.
Every life is an incomplete story until it ends.