I finally had a decent job interview today, of sorts. I've been applying for jobs since I got laid off in early March, sending out the resume, filling out applications, and I'd gotten a whole lot of zip, nada, and nuttin' in the way of response. So, last Thursday, I flew down here to Texas for my yearly trip to visit friends and family.

Yesterday, I called my housemate to check on the kitty etc. and she told me that I'd gotten two, count them, two calls about a medical writing job at a hospital (I'd applied for the job in early July). Huzzah! I should leave town more often, I guess.

I finally got in touch with the caller this morning. She was a recruiter hired by the hospital to phone interview the first cut of candidates. I talked to her for about 20-30 minutes and felt unreasonably guilty for running up my mom's long distance bill afterward.

I have no idea how I did on the interview. I hope I did okay. I think I would really dig this job. I wanted to do science writing all along, but didn't want to move to Washington D.C. or New York City, which is where 90% of the science writing jobs in the country are.

I may have screwed up on that oh-so-tricky question, "Why did you leave your job with the State of Ohio?"

The realest answer is, "Well, working for the State on a day-to-day basis made me feel as if my soul was being sucked out through my nose with a soda straw. I wanted to gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon on a weekly basis. I chose the pursuit of sanity and happiness and left."

But that of course won't fly as an answer to a recruiter. So I answered with the next-realest answer, which also happens to be absolutely true: "I sold a novel on proposal and realized I hadn't time to finish it by deadline and also give my job the time it deserved."

Then, of course, I had to explain that no, the novel didn't ever get published, or even finished, because the parent company went down in flames during the .com meltdown a mere three months after everyone signed my contract (which I offered to send her if she cared to see it).

Sticky, sticky little answer. All true, but sticky. Makes me sound shifty, I'm afraid. Book lovers are sometimes impressed, in a horrified way. Nonreaders are just confused by the whole thing. How can you not get published if you had a signed contract? How indeed. So I take a deep breath and say These things happen.

The recruiter only asked what kind of novel it was. I told her it was a science fiction novel.

A lie! My first lie! It was science fiction erotica! I was paid to write smut! I am not fit company for decent folk!

But I might as well have said "erotica" for her wow, that's very, er, interesting reaction to "science fiction". It's amazing how confusion and distaste broadcast so well over the phone through the echo of a single sudden inhalation. Science Fiction? I could almost hear her thinking. Ew. My nerdy kid brother used to read that stuff. Ew.

Sigh. Maybe I'm just being paranoid. But I've been all jittery and nervous since I got off the phone, wondering if I shouldn't have told the very true almost-the-truth of my leaving the job.

In other news, one of my closest friends may have brain cancer, but he's back in Columbus and I haven't heard a thing. He was supposed to get his test results back yesterday, and he said he'd email me one way or the other. That I've gotten no word worries me. A lot. I'll call him tonight and find out.