This is an OLD entry from an old blog, reposted here for posterity. For more old content, look for the SSS Archive Tag
I’ve been back in Detroit for three weeks, and despite my best intentions I did not find a nice well-paying office type job, and failing that I did not find a shitty well-paying office type job, nor even a shitty poor-paying office type job. Rather than climb to the top of a tall building and hurl myself off, I decided to go back to Buddy’s Pizza and see if they had work for me.
Luckily, they do. Monday I go to finalize things like pay, hours, etc. I am for all intents and purposes on the manager track, and it doesn’t look like anything is going to pull me off that track any time soon. I have only one application / CV out for a job I’d actually like (prof at MCC) and everything else was sort of a shot in the dark.
This is all probably a good thing.
When I went to Buddy’s, I wore my best suit. Why? Because frankly I had a really wicked case of the crazies. Seriously. I talked to my old manager, was offered work, went home, and did not change out of my suit. I sat on the couch watching True Blood with my little sister until my dad came home, and only then did I change so that I could go out to the boat to pick some things up. Then we came back to the house and I got insanely drunk.
It sucked, but I had a long (and again, insanely drunk) talk with my dad about what I was doing, and about how deep down inside, all I really wanted to do was come back here and work at something like Buddy’s while I continued to send out submissions and work on my game. I didn’t want to make a nice middle-class salary in exchange for 40 hours a week.
In short, I did not want to go back to the exact same shit that I left when I went back to school six years ago.
There are worse things for an artist than a job that just expects you to show up, and there are many better things for an artist than a steady and comfortable paycheck.
So I’m going to be poor for a while, but it’s the kind of poor that I’m used to: 40’s on the porch poor, not having a nice car poor, and still hungry to create poor.
So congratulate me on doing what I need to do, and come buy me beer – I’ll be the guy who smells like pepperoni.
Looking Back – May 13 2021
Ugh, 2009 was tough.
I’m writing this in 2021 and I just want to tell this guy to hang in there and that things will work out, but I also want to tell him that he’s gonna have to jog barefoot through hell to get somewhere better.
Buddy’s turned out to be a real lifesaver at that time. I got a tiny, tiny bit of money along with a lot of free pizza and some new friends. I WAS pretty prolific as a writer at this time, though a lot of it was the old blog. The fiction I wrote at that time was hungry and desperate and not especially good. I tried polishing up my MFA Thesis novel, but got discouraged at the bulk of the task and I simply didn’t believe in the work any longer.
Looking back, as this subsection suggests, there’s a sort of wu-wei go-with-the-flow at work in this post, but there’s also stuff that doesn’t come through that I think I articulate later. Disappointment, for one. I really did think I was going to just move back to Detroit and fit into my old life like I’d never left. I was super wrong about that, but I spent a lot of time trying to retread familiar ground.
Happily, despite my strong pepperoni odor, a lot of good friends did buy me beer, and a whole lot more. I survived. I ultimately thrived…but not quite like the guy who wrote this post had envisioned.