Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chapstick, and my dream job.

I am a chapstick addict. I only have at any one time a single tube (Burt's Bees, baby!) and carry this with me everywhere, but never in my pocket. It would melt. It sits next to my keyboard, or beside my cup of tea on the coffeetable, or on top of my alarm clock, or tucked into my purse or wallet or boyfriend's wallet. But sometimes when I leave for work at 5:15 am, it gets left behind. And then my day is ruined. I hate that moment when I reach into my bag, my bag that I bring with me to work everyday and that has a very special little pocket just for my chapstick, and realize that my Burt's isn't there. My heart sinks, then shudders in a moment of panic. I survived this today, but... maybe not the next time. When my lips hurt, how can I possibly survive a day at work? I can't smile, or talk without my dry lips pulling tight and cracking, and those little bits of skin peel and I have to pull them off with teeth or fingers... I need my chapstick. Why don't I just buy another tube, and keep it forever and ever in that bag? Why?!

My bag is heavy. It carries my wallet, lunch, mug, and on a good day, my chapstick. It also has within it a book, of course. Right now I am reading Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, which is very heavy. It's my read-at-work-on-my-breaks book, and since it is from the library I don't dare leave it at work. So I cart this big big book back and forth with me. At the most, I can only ever read an hour's worth each day, so I'll be lugging it around for some time. My read-at-home-for-leisure book is currently Frank Herbert's Chapterhouse: Dune, because I am a scifi geek at heart, though I'll honestly read anything that comes along, and I am trying to read more classics, hence the Tolstoy. I always keep a book of poetry on the go too. Right now it's John Pass's The Hour's Acropolis, with Ovid's Metamorphoses lined up for next, which I'm very excited about. The latest issue of Writer's Digest is on my kitchen table, and this I flip through on those rare mornings I sit down for breakfast, or am eating lunch alone. Please pay me to read. This would make my life perfect.

In university I spent a year working on a literary magazine. It was for a class in which we took on every aspect of its publication, from design, to ad sales, to editing. Not all of it floated my boat, but I loved loved loved wading through the slush pile. Reading a million and one pages of other people's work, sweat and tears. It felt great to find a little jewel tucked in there, but even better to riffle through the stinkers. And most of it stunk. I'm not afraid to say it. Not everyone's got it; fact. And I hope this doesn't make me an awful person, but reading so much bad writing made me feel so much better about my own. There's nothing wrong with learning from other people's mistakes. At least that's how I justify the weird sense of satisfaction other people's bad poetry gives me. Reading submissions for a literary magazine is something I'd definitely love to do again, and for more reasons than just that one, honest!

If I had a job that paid better, or that I at least loved enough to want to work at it more, and not beg to go home early every shift, I think then I'd splurge on a second tube of the 'Bees. And that would be divine!

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