Presto Presto Manifesto

Just had a phone temp job interview; the interviewer noted that my resume showed I did a lot of temporary, part-time and contractual work, and asked why.
I answered in the job interview language. You know the language.
I hate the job interview language.
The window-dressing, the lipstick on the pig.
The describing and selling of the “I”.
You can never just say: your work will be done, my “I” is not interesting, it’s inconsequential, mostly assistive. I’m a smithery. The smithery works. What do you want smithed?
My “I” departed from certain aspects of my life because it was bored there, or found its presence unimportant. Those aspects are run in the passive voice now. They are like so many British English sentences: no actor. Decisions have been made.
It has been gone to the Store of Life.
Many early purchases have been returned.
Why do you write but not submit?
I write, because I like to write. The “I” likes the galvanizing trance. The “I” will probably enjoy it till it dies. I have a porta-circus in my mind; I’m never without. It hurts no one that I write.
I do not submit because for me it is not cost-effective.
My time and energy are limited. Things I want to write wait in my cellars, expiring a lot faster than I can get to them. If I have two hours of time, I will rather spend them writing than submitting the already written. Writing is joyful, engrossing. Submitting is boring, frustrating and consumes considerable resources with little return. Seeking recognition as a writer is Sisyphean. There are thousands of writers out there, ranging from me-like to stupendously great. I do not need to convert my writing into units of food, or units of fame. I don’t aspire to teach Creative Writing at college; ergo, I do not need to have my short fiction to have appeared in three literary journals and read by five people.
I can put it on my blog, and have it read by five people.
I’m fine with that readership. I like it when someone reads me, that communion between the sender and the recipient, the cuckoo-ing of “me too, me too!” I’m okay with just a couple of cuckoos. My “I” is not vain. It only wants to touch palms with another’s.
And I don’t want to spend six hundred woman-hours to get five readers.
Absolutely no disrespect to people who submit, or who want to teach Creative Writing. Only respect.
I don’t want to be a staff writer, tech writer, copy writer, any hired writer.
I don’t need the writer name and designation.
I don’t want to write per se.
Just what and when my brain wants to.
Why do I do a lot of temp, part-time and contractual work?
I don’t want to have to convert my writing into units of food, on the one hand; on the other, I don’t want to have no time and focus to write because I am somewhere, speaking the interview language full-time.
I can have anyone’s tests scored, applications evaluated, envelopes stuffed, cabbages planted, trenches dug, fences fixed and forgotten, for money, because I’m able-bodied, able-minded, and my “I” is not vain.
A female American writer of some fame said that she was a writer because she was “otherwise unemployable.”
I don’t believe that type of claims.
I suspect she’d do an adequate job sorting mail at the post office, flipping burgers at a Burger King.
I’m certain I would.
The “I” is not vain; it likes its toys and its autonomy.
It in fact prefers autonomy to recognition.
Case in point: I like to translate literary texts both from Russian into English and from English into Russian. It is not an approved practice. It is advised against, in the Guild. There are valid reasons why translators are to pick a direction and stick with it. The concern is, often translating into an acquired language creates crappy texts.
But it’s interesting for my brain to pick both directions and stick with them!
And when the results are shit, then so they are.
They are only on my blog, after all.
They are not hurting anyone.
The “I” is not beholden to a perfect image, or self-image.
It always tries to do a perfect job; it never hopes to be perfect itself. It’s only the hardware to the electrical current running through it.
All things I wrote before 2005 are shit.
Half the things I wrote before 2010 are shit.
A quarter of the things I wrote before yesterday are shit.
I’m not sad about it.
Such is the nature of progress.
Who cares.
It’s only on my blog.
So why did I write this self-explanatory self-revelatory thing here,now?
I was thinking about it; I had an hour; I had a blog; I wrote it down while it’s happening.
I think I did it for my kids.
In case one or more of them want to look into my personality after my death.
(It’s only after the parents’ death that we can look into their personality, without the active and often unwelcome disturbance their living personality creates in our lives.)
And so they can see it here, and we can touch palms.
Why did you not write more, not submit more, not hold down a career-oriented job, not gone to graduate school, or writing conferences, or Paris?
Partly, because three-quarters of my time I was being your mom, my sweet chickens.



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