Thursday, October 11, 2012
If all this was easy, it wouldn't matter how it ends
The best part of my day is when I pick up Darby from yoga.
She always bounces out of class looking a little disheveled and sweaty, with a huge smile on her face. Usually I'm sitting in the truck playing Words With Friends or reading my Kindle.
But she's found a great studio in town with some opportunities for advancement.
Yesterday, the owner of the studio pulled her aside and offered her a job. She ran out of the studio, shaking with excitement.
I'm proud of her.
Meanwhile, I'm working at Centennial Pool as a lifeguard and a cashier. It's minimum wage, but it requires exactly 0% mental exertion and I like the people I work with. The pool is primarily for rental groups, so there are barely any patrons and everything is low-key.
Last week I read an entire book (Sphere by Michael Chrichton) during a front desk shift.
Other upsides: I'm allowed to swim laps during my shift, and since I can't connect to the Internet, it's a great place to get some writing done. Last week I wrote three new flash fiction pieces on my off-rotations.
Since Darby and I don't know many people in Halifax, it's been a chance to narrow my focus and work on things that landed low on the priority list while I was busy socializing in university. I've started jogging across the MacDonald Bridge every day, and I've been setting aside blocks of time to write and to work on revisions for my novel manuscripts.
I'm making personal fitness and writing my two main priorities (after my girlfriend, I guess). I've lost thirty pounds since I left UBC in April, and I'm hoping to lose about twenty more. Darby and I have pretty much cut out dairy from our diet, and I rarely eat meat anymore.
The more I work on my novels, the more I feel like this may be a grueling, long-term, maybe even multi-year endeavor. But c'est la vie. As Dan Mangan says in one of his albums: "if all this was easy, it wouldn't matter how it ends."
Or as Kris Bertin said to me recently in an email: "You have to keep banging your head against the wall. Eventually you'll die, or you'll break through."
(It's been surreal to hang out with Kris in person, after reading his fiction for the past few years and only interacting with him over Twitter. He's a really good dude, has an awesome girlfriend, and we have plans to get shit-faced together while Darby is in Portland. He even gave me some notes on a short story I've been working on.)
I've been trying to write some new short fiction too. My goal publications this year are Grain, The New Quarterly and The Malahat Review.
I've applied for a job at The Nelson Star, which means Darby and I could potentially move back to B.C. in the next few months. My friend Sam VanSchie works there, and she put in a good word with her editor.
I've decided that I want to start focusing on my journalism career. When I think back on the last few years, many of my happiest (and most fulfilling) memories come from the times I was working at The Whitehorse Star.
I want a full-time, long-term job at a daily newspaper. It's that simple.
That being said, I won't be too heartbroken if I don't get the job. Halifax works for now, it's a beautiful city, and we're starting to feel settled.
Last wekeend Darby's parents drove us to Wolfville, a quaint little town a few hours away that has a beautiful university campus and a bunch of cool coffee shops, restaurants and bookstores. I came home with a pile of new books by Will Ferguson, Zadie Smith, Jeffrey Eugenides and Don DeLillo.
Last thought: I just finished reading Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson. It's awesome. You should read it.