Monday, February 2, 2015

Six Months Down

I’ve been slacking on the posting but not on the writing. I haven’t been here as often as I’d like. But the upside is, I’m spending a lot more time writing.

Just not for you guys.

Writing for publication is a hard gig. I can’t really think of any other profession where someone will say to you, “Hey, I think you’re great at this. How about doing it for free?”

But that’s what you face if you want to write. I find plenty of outlets that are happy to take what I write. But not so many of them want to pay for the privilege of publishing my work.

Still. I like writing, and right now, while I’m unemployed, I’m trying to make it a priority. Not a huge priority, mind you. Just a little one.  4 days a week, 1000 words per day. That’s my tiny goal til the end of the school year.

I submitted just 3 articles, to three different publications, in January. Not a lot, especially given that all three were long-shot, probably never gonna hear back types of publications.  But you always start big and work your way down the line. Every so often, you get lucky. Sometimes, just getting a rejection letter is good enough. I’ve been published in some big places, but I have to say, one of my proudest writing moments was when I got a personal rejection letter from a big-name editor at the New York Times, telling me he liked my work even if he wasn’t going to publish that piece. He told me to keep at it.  Fellow writers will understand how very big a deal that was.

Today I am writing at the kids’ school. No, this is not by choice. My two sons wanted to stay up to watch the Super Bowl – it started at 230am Moscow time – and one of them didn’t make the school bus due to his resulting inability to get organized in the morning. Mean mom that I am, I didn’t let him stay home. Instead, I made him pay for our bus and metro tickets – and my lunch when I got to the school.

So now I am here, drinking coffee and waiting for lunch service to start up. And I am writing.

In addition to writing the occasional article, I am working on a book. Yes, I said it out loud. A book! I am writing a book. Now, I don’t know if my little book will ever see the light of your kindle. But my sweet friend Kolbi has assured me that if I write it, she will consider me famous and will come to all of my book readings and sort through the m&ms so I only have to eat the green ones, because isn’t that what famous people get to do, hire m&m sorters?  With a promise like that, I have to at least try to write it.

At any rate, it’s something to do, right? And it the middle of this Moscow winter, I need multiple somethings to do. It’s cold and dark and grey and icy and I have already perfected my whole wheat bread and my cinnamon pretzels and my pizza dough and my pita bread, so it’s time to do something less caloric. Also I am out of flour.

February marks six months in Moscow. We are a quarter of the way through, and we still lovehate it in equal measure. I miss my friends from my last few posts, and I’m finding it difficult to make friends anew. By the time we were 6 months into life in Beijing, I had too many friends to count. Not the formal, stop over for cookies kinds of friends, either – I already had the coveted snort coffee out your nose from laughter friends.

Here, though. Not so much. This past weekend marked the first time in our tour that we were invited to someone else’s house, just because, the whole family, for a bring yourselves, completely casual dinner. Between our kids and theirs, we had barely enough fingers on two hands to count them all. Their baby pulled the donuts off the counter and their dog ate them. Or licked them before the kids ate them. Who knows, but the donuts were gone. My kids played video games with theirs, or dance marathon, according to their ages, while we adults chatted about random Moscow things.

It was nice.

I am leaving post next week for a quick trip to the States, just me, no kids or husband, and I am dreading it and looking forward to it in equal measure. I miss my kids when I’m away. I miss my husband. But it will be good to see my family for a few short days.  I’m hopeful that I can convince them to eat sushi and pho for every meal while I am there.

I won’t gloat about all of the fun I am having while I am there, because I will be leaving my husband alone here to handle both his very demanding full-time job AND the care and feeding of 4 small beasts.  But I am nevertheless sure that much fun will be had as we welcome a new member into our family.

Okay, my quiet space in the cafeteria has suddenly been overrun with gawky teens in search of sustenance. It appears that lunch is served. Time for me to pack up my bag and head down the road to the bus stop.  Back to my Moscow reality.


Nicole said... [Reply]

Donna, Congrats on the writing! I feel the same as you about our current post in Kyiv. We've been here 5 months today, and really haven't made the same type of friends we had made in previous posts. I blame the weather! But the days are growing, you can see the end of winter (abeit we do have to make it through February), those friends will be made. Good luck on the book.

Kelly said... [Reply]

I see you are experiencing Humongous European Embassy syndrome. We felt the same way about Vienna. Oh, and winter, too! I'm really looking forward to seeing your book :)

Please. Write your own stuff.