Saturday, August 20, 2011

Like, where have you been, Savannah?

Where have I been, you ask? I'll tell you: the deli. To make extra money for a project described below, I've started working part time at a deli, where I am cutting cheese in a way that no one would object to. I'm also learning how to make rotisserie chicken (in three flavors), fried chicken tenders, and salad that comes in individually wrapped components I throw into large mix bags along with mayo squeezed from a huge packet. And who the h3ll knew there were so many kinds of ham and turkey? The learning curve, kids, has been steep, I'll tell you. Me? I trained to be a museum curator or a gallery director. To me, cheese and luncheon meat was something I put on a tray next to dip and pre-sliced vegetables. So all this business about honey-roasted, mesquite-smoked, buffalo-coated what-not is new.

Ofcourse, I'm teaching, too, starting next week. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have a class in Wheeling in the morning, a mid-day class on the Weirton campus, and a class back down in Wheeling in the evening. It's a lot of driving (50 minutes to the Wheeling campus and 50 minutes back, if traffic is good), but then, that's why we got Frieda.

And then...I'm still doing my freelance writing work, too. Of course, this is what I really should be doing right now because I've got a deadline for a four-page article next week. And yet...and yet, I felt I ought to offer some explanation for my lengthy absence from blog-land.

Now, the way in which my working life could get especially interesting is the fact that the grocery store in which my deli is located is a union shop. And right now, the union is in rather heated negotiations with the store owners, who feel their investors are not getting the desired returns. They have proposed a 3-year wage freeze and an increase in out-of-pocket healthcare expenses required of workers. Already, the union, of which I am not yet a part until I am there for a full 30 days, has threatened a strike until better terms are put forward by the company. The company has replied, and I'll paraphrase them in rough (if not entirely fair) terms: "Your store is a depressed area; you're not likely to find another job, so we're going to do it and you're going to like it. We could potentially close the store, too, if you all aren't careful." As you can probably imagine, this statement has was not received with delight by any of my co-workers. It inflamed many of them, since the employees are the ones that make the sun rise and set for customers (and, in many cases, serve them hand and foot...believe me, I've already had some customers I've had to take my figurative patience pills in order to deal with). The date for settling contracts is August 28th, so we'll see what happens.

I finished copy-editing In the Aftermath, a collection of short stories, several of which are previously unpublished. When I've completed my article and finished my lecture prep for next week, I will purchase an ISBN, format the document using the Kindle interface, and get it out there for Kindle users. This may take a month or so for me to complete, since Michael and I will be in Williamsburg for vacation soon. Of course, once In the Aftermath is out there, I suspect no one will purchase it. Yet, it will be out there, and I will feel somewhat heartened that I'm producing something for public consumption. Someday maybe someone will read my work, likely only after I am long gone, and say, "why was she ignored?" (This, kids, is the fantasy that keeps me going.) I've found it almost impossible to get anyone to accept any piece of fiction I write. So, I'll publish myself, rather than sit back and continue to wait for someone to deem my message worthy. In order to have income for such a venture, I play with meat in the deli. Now, see, we've come full circle. But let's have another slice (look at me, I can't stop with the deli puns) of "Conceived in the New Liberty"-which is almost, almost done!)

"Appearing endlessly on the news were images of Richardson’s mug shot, where his glasses were off and his eyes were as wide as a startled doe. Occasionally, online, simulations of a red rubber stamp appeared above his head: Public Enemy#1.   “But he’s a boy,” Richardson’s mother said, when the Today Show finally interviewed her. “He’s just a boy. He’s not responsible for this.” She wiped away a tear dark with eyeliner. “He was in the city feeding people that day. He was trying to do some good. He wasn’t in any of those museums. I don’t understand why he’s even in jail.” She was husky-voiced, a smoker, who was heavily wrinkled and heavily made up for the show. Even though her tears were obviously genuine, she did not inspire empathy from viewers. No one felt her pain. Instead, they forgot her when they were again presented with the grainy video feed from the G-20 protests and the image of a confused looking Richardson coming up the steps of the National Archives." -- from "Conceived in the New Liberty"


  1. We should hang out sometime - and even talk about the depressing world of submissions/submitting if you like. I've gone through lots of ups and downs with my submissions, too. I feel you, dear Savannah.

  2. Thank you so much, Margaret. It is really appreciated. :-) And I would love that. What days work well for you? Give a shout and we can figure out a time that works best. Things should settle into a regular schedule for me in a week or so. :-)

  3. We are just getting into a new routine around here, too, with the little one starting back up at school in a week and Mihnea just having gotten a new job. Weekends are always easier to coordinate for us, but a weekday other than Monday would be doable for an evening!

  4. That sounds great. Congratulations, too, on Mihnea's new job! That's excellent news. Things should settle down here soon for me. (I start teaching again tomorrow, and I'm actually pretty excited to get back to that routine. I missed it.) Michael and I will be in Williamsburg between 9/3 and 9/12, but after that, let's make some plans! :-)