Old Town

Old Town
Pioneer Square

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Block 4: Mastering the Seattle Quickstep: Part 3

Not everyone will like the fact that you're able to do a great quickstep--including a floor glide like this one. There'll be those glare and snap: "Yeah, well s/he can do the moves because s/he has those long legs and atrim body...the moves come naturally to her/him...s/he doesn't have children and now has more time...s/he has money to burn...and s/heis, to be brutally honest, a lucky bitch or bastard."

You won't hear a word about the long years of training and stretching...the endless pratfalls that you took while trying to make it look easy....the loneliness and hunger...the imagination and nerve that went into bettering your finances...the terrible joe jobs you had to perform...the years of rejection and failure...

Envy and meanness can suck the soul out of your quickstep, if you allow them to do that. And the best way to empower them is to try to justify the joy that you take in your dance. So get your tootsies into gear and do the cool dance that defines you.

These reflections follow my learning that some staff at my old second job are bitter that I quit--though my leaving didn't impact them at all and the back-to-back shifts had been killers. I wish them all well. I have nothing to say except what is far better said with my feet.

My new laptop's up and running.
My seventh ebook's nearly ready to launch and my eighth one is well under way.
I'm seeing results from my workouts and the switch to circuit training.
I've accomplished these things without maligning anyone.

My soundtrack is really quite simple and clear:

Action Log:
06/25: Last night I tackled the one task that's daunted me most from the start: condensing a wild chaos of personal/professional papers into one neatly packed. For over a month I'd been pruning and sorting them into file folders. Now the folders covered my entire bedroom floor. The time had come. I had to know. And two hours later I breathed a long sigh of relief: the folders fit into one box with a bit of room to spare. Some pruning and fine-tuning remain, but at this point I've made successful trial runs on the purple steamer trunk and three boxes: papers, books, CDs/DVDs. One last box remains: for manuscripts, notebooks, floppy discs. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Block 4: Mastering the Seattle Quickstep: Part 2

Makin' it look easy is makin' it look Hot.

Today I raced across town to a library computer in order to fine tune a letter for Elliott Bay Book Company. Like many other small businesses in Washington, EBBC finds itself in a tricky position with the new minimum wage of $15 an hour. Only recently the store had escaped from difficult financial straits by moving to Capitol Hill. And things were looking swell. Now this.

I wanted to fine tune my letter because, in just a single page, I needed to suggest two things: 1) how the new challenge can be turned to the advantage of both EBBC and its staff; 2) how I, with my new funding and schedule flexibility, could help them ace this test.

But EBBC will be busy as hell, so the letter could not be a fox trot or a slow and graceful waltz. I needed to get in and out like the wind without a trace of my own struggles here: cleaning, sorting papers, tossing furniture, preparing to launch a new book while starting on another, working out, working nights, etc., etc., etc.

I kept thinking of a quote about my favorite writer, Ovid: "Like Mozart in music, he posessed...the art of doing difficult things in expression and versification as if they were the easiest in the world."

So, now it's time to rush off with the letter to catch the 3:30 p.m. pickup--every day will count with this and I must be in the vanguard--then I'll hurry back to the library to meet a writing deadline before rushing home to...Well, you get the picture.

The idea is show up at a critical time as a grace note in my letter. Quickly, calmly, I arrive to announce that the crisis might be a cool thing.

If, that is, I'm there to help.

Stay tuned. I'll vary the form of this entry with quick updates through the week. Keep your eyes at all times on the prize. Here is mine:

Action Log:
6/13: With the deposit of the 'alternative funding' on time, I had my laptop and broken fave glasses repaired, then bought a first-rate rain-resistant backpack to enable me to travel more lightly with no threat to Kindle Fire or laptop. Lugged out two more bits of furniture. And I've begun early work my next ebook for December while proofing the formatted copy of my July release.
6/14: With the purchase of the jazzy backpack and my shedding of a second bag with SEVEN POUNDS of stuff, I received a bank shot insight. Just as I'd lugged SEVEN EXTRA POUNDS, sometimes even more, for years there must be other things I do simply because I have done them. And there must be things I don't do...because I don't do them. Today I take time for a rare cross-town Saturday workout, to be followed by a blitz of emails investigating novel ways to promote my next ebook release--instead of relying on Twitter and Facebook alone. Then I'll begin work on a July posting for Craig's List, in search of a temporary roommate when I arrive in Seattle. The new insight is a game changer and I can hardly wait to see what I do or don't do next.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Block 4: Mastering the Seattle Quickstep: Part 1

June is bustin' out all over with a wild exclamation: 

You're damned right I think I can dance! 

And the quickstep--not the Boogie or the Moondance or the Foxtrot or the Buffalo Bop--is the spirit I choose now to bring to my quest. Speed, power, grace, wit and lively syncopation. It is sexy without being sweaty. It is high-charged without being forced. It is elegant without being frilly. 

But I hear a voice at the back of the room:

'Uh, excuse me, dude, but what has all this got to do with the move to Seattle--or moving anywhere?'

Well, Middle Time is where we fail 99 times in 100. We love the rush of Starting Time, the charged relief of End Time. But here is where we start to hurt and doubt ourselves and drift: we don't have the time or strength to finish a long novel...we've failed to quit smoking too often before...we're too old/too poor/too fat...And--remember, now--Visualization: the more doubt in our heads, the less fire in our acts. Lack of confidence reaps still more reason to feel more uncertain.What we need is a form of spiritual bounce.

The bounce is the spring in the quickstep that sees you through to End Time without a care in the world. The bounce is the difference between you and all the sweaty pretenders: a bounce made up  in equal parts of brio and insouciance. But--wait, is that anther voice from the back:

'Let's say I don't have the bounce. How do I feel something that I don't have? And how do I know when I do feel the bounce?'

All more easily than you might think, friend. You fake the bounce if you don't have have it. You become a Great Pretender--acting as if you already there, in Seattle, while you are in Charlotte...slugging away at your book or your quit as if it were already finished.  Pretend long enough, and well enough, you'll soon not have a clue that you're faking. And no one has to tell you when you have the genuine bounce in your step.

So, come along now, month of June. Add more quickening to my steps! Bring me the bounce and the brio I crave as I slug away at the list of To Do's that stands between me and Seattle.
--Launch my new ebook, Charlotte Kills, and start the next book to bolster the sense of myself as a successful pro.
--Finish sorting all personal papers.
--Write letters to other Seattle book stores.
--Begin to draft letter for Craig's list to seek out a short-term Seattle room-mate.
--Make hotel and flight reservations for August visit.
--Follow up on my letter to Elliott Bay Book Company.
--Begin assembling all personal/professional/rental references.

The list goes on. But so do I with my chin up, back straight and a new bounce in my step. After all, the trophy is well worth the fight:

Hello, Seattle! Care to dance?