I live a freelanced life. That is to say, I keep no regular work schedule. Even when I entered the workforce, as a guitar teacher at Hershberger’s Music Store in McCook, Nebraska the summer of 1977, I knew a nine-to-five life was not for me.
This lifestyle choice has plenty of benefits. It’s exciting trying to figure out how to pay the rent. And it’s never boring. If something doesn’t work, or becomes too routine, I move on.
A freelanced life is scary, too, at times. But after a few decades of this ‘lifestyle choice’ you learn to remember there is a rhythm to life. Happy follows sad, lean follows fat.
There’s another benefit to the freelanced life: you discover hidden talents.
For instance: I had no idea I had a talent for house sitting and caring for animals.
But here I am, spending the summer living in stranger’s homes, bonding with their Labradors and Maine Coons. It’s a perfect set up. I still live Mimm’s Exciting Life of Yoga, Massage and Writing with the added benefit of animal companionship (canines and felines – I’ve yet to branch out to rodents or anything cold-blooded). It’s a little like being a grandparent. I love the furry ones to bits – I get to spoil them – and then, after a couple of weeks, I get to hand them back.
The other benefits, of course, are the large televisions. Televisions larger than my car. Televisions with cable contracts that include every channel in the known universe. The KNOWN UNIVERSE.
I find televisions a little distracting. There’s nothing I enjoy more at the end of the day than a mind numbing ‘reality show’. I have my standards, though. I avoid anything that involves housewives, spray tanned party animals or screaming chefs. But give me a double episode of So You Think You Can Dance and I’m in heaven. I live for Top Chef. I count the days until I can hear Tim Gunn say, “Make it work.”
You might imagine this cuts into my writing time. If e-mails and Facebook take up my morning ‘writing time’, and my evening ‘writing time’ is taken up by Mia Michael’s choreography, when do I write?
I don’t have to answer that question. The universe has answered it for me.
THE CABLE WENT OUT! I’ve no television to watch.
Tempted to survive this tragedy with a marathon session of TED talks (I tweeted a brilliant talk by Dave Eggers just yesterday) I stopped to ask myself,
“Mimm, what would (fill in the name of your favorite author) do?”
The answer is obvious. Read.
Read and write.
And so I have. Frank O’ Connor’s short story Guest of the Nation. Anthony Doerr’s novella Afterward. Sebastian Barry’s novel The Secret Scripture. Stories so rich with poetry I actually had to cleanse my literary palette with a little bad writing (which shall remain unnamed).
I leave this house tomorrow. In three days I’m spending two and half weeks with a labradoodle and a cat in a house with no television. NO television.
I’m taking suggestions for my reading list.