Category Archives: Freelancing

I’ve got news!

Well, everybody, things just keep trucking along!  While I am not yet a world renowned novelist in possession of my own island (wait for it, folks), I am officially a regular contributor.  Hehe.  How you like them apples?

The publication in question is of the online variety – Elephant Journaland they publish a whole bunch of stuff about yoga and vegetarianism and politics and life and basically everything, but a lot about yoga.  I’ve bragged about having been published there before.  So now I’m bragging about being a regular.

Elephant:  What’ll it be today, Ann?

Ann: Oh, the usual…

Check out my first post as a proper contributor…deep thoughts on one of Jonathon Safran Foer’s deep thoughts…gonna try and make a point of reflecting on others’ reflections until I know just what I think about all of it anyway.

And of course I’ll keep y’all posted with updates when my articles go live…Do let me know your thoughts!

And thanks for all the support…as soon as I get that island, you’re all invited for a luau.

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Just another word for nothin’ left to lose…

I have a problem.  It works something like this:  I’m in the middle of writing something – anything – and then I’m not.  I’m reading emails. Or I’m reading news. Or I’m reading Yahoo! News, which is only sort of news. Or I’m reading the comments on Yahoo! News, which is, I think, owing to my Catholic upbringing. It’s the modern equivalent of a hairshirt, or self-flagellation.  Only I’m not getting any closer to Stigmata.  Nay – I am drifting into a state of such mind-numbing fury, I get ever closer to picking up a stick and hurling it at the person nearest me, never mind their innocence (look out, Chris).

And then I’m in no position to write.

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Start from the end.

For the past decade or so, creativity has taken the backseat to all other endeavors.  That isn’t to say that I didn’t try to work creatively in my education, one-to-one work with young people, managment role, and later voluntary consultation work.  It’s just that the artist* in me was a nuissance.  There was no time for that nonsense.  There was real work to be done.

So the guitar collected dust, the short story ideas slowed and eventually stopped, and life just went on, because it had to.

Now, however, my job is apparently to be creative.  I have to come up with lesson plans for my students, which is pretty easy, considering I have two.  But more importantly, I’ve got to come up with ideas for articles (which only sometimes get picked up) and short stories (with which I’ve had absolutely zero luck), and if I can’t, it’s not okay – I can’t put it off in the name of my real job.  This is my real job.

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Is this ball finally rolling?

The past week has been none-too-shabby in terms of progress.  Three of my articles have gone to print or screen, for E, The Environmental MagazineInternational Living, and Elephant Journal.  I garnered the interest of a British environmental mag in an article I’m writing about deforestation in the Southern Philippine Islands, so that should go to print soon…just as soon as it’s approved by the editor.  And I snagged my first English student!  So I’ve got an actual real-life class to teach on Wednesday.

This is all excellent news – don’t get me wrong.  But I am faced with a very real challenge now:  if I’ve proven to myself that I can do this, there’s no excuses for not...doing it.  OK, to be fair, one class with one student doesn’t mean that I can be an EFL teacher.  And getting three teensy front-of-book articles published doesn’t mean I’m headed straight for The New Yorker (dream!) but it’s most definitely a start.

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On perseverance

I’ve just clicked “send” on an email to a Canadian magazine that prints all sorts of (quite good) artsy-fartsy stuff like poetry and paintings and short stories.  Attached to my email was a Word document containing a brief bio and two of my very own shorts.  Afterward I sat back and experienced a sensation I know all too well from when I started querying magazines for nonfiction pieces.  It’s a sort of pull on my emotions in three distinct directions: relief, overt anxiety, and the nagging sense that I’ve no business sitting back in the first place, and I need to just get over it and get onto the next thing.

The annoying bit is that the nagging is more spot on than any of it.  In all likelihood, they will read my stories and think, “Oh, that’s nice,” just as they toss them into the recycling (assuming they felt them worthy of printing off in the first place, and they have a decent sense of responsibility to our planet).  That’s the truth, the fact that it equates to tiny little daggers poking into every square millimeter of my ego notwithstanding.  And so, gentle reader, wonderful reader, reader who reads me so regularly I could kiss you but you all live way too far away for that, what’s a girl to do?  Try to find balance, that’s what. Again.

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Apparently I’m staying.

Day before yesterday, Chris ran to the local tabac (offy / liquor store – sans liquor) to spend a whole bunch of money to buy these little tiny pieces of paper that quite closely resembled a mix between stamps and monopoly money.  On each of those little pieces of paper was a unit of money:  1€, 8€, 50€.  This mysterious task was required in order for our subsequent trip, yesterday, to the prefecture, which is the same word in English and therefore not really necessary to italicize.  But whatever.  I do because I can.  I hope you read it with the appropriate pronunciation.  Moving right along…that trip to the aforementioned prefecture was to pick up my carte de sejour, or card of stay, more appropriately translated as “staying card,” or for you boring folks out there who like to keep it simple, my visa, for which they only accept the aforementioned monopoly-stamp-money .

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