Posts Tagged ‘jobs’

Ms. Kiev: She Who Rules The Roost, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

It’s been a long week. Except for the house noises, it’s quiet as the wind. Liz went to the hardware store to buy a new shower head. For the first time this week, I’m alone. It was a hard week. I felt sick on Tuesday but went to work anyway. After becoming a national statistic earlier this year, for the last few months I’ve been driving a truck, delivering parts to machinists to be electropolished, drilled, deburred, picking them up again. It’s Saturday morning, a sacred time when I can actually catch up on reading my own blog.

Weekend hours are sweet. I promised Kiev during her morning ritual with Liz that I’d post a photo of her. She’s the only cat in our family who hasn’t made it to the cover of red Ravine. (Mr. Stripeypants was published for his support of Obama; we lost sweet boy Chaco this year.) I was sitting on the couch, writing. Liz called me on the BlackBerry from the bedroom; I picked up to hear her whispering that I should come and see the cats. I tiptoed in and took these camera shots. Family time.

The first photograph is alpha cat Kiev in her favorite position. Liz places her arm just so; Kiev curls up in the crook, same position every time. I have discovered that Kiev is difficult to photograph. She is jet black and her catty panther features all blend into night. I guess I need one of those umbrella reflectors. I do the best I can.

How do you spend your days and nights? What are your weekends like? Do you take any downtime, time to do things you can’t get to during the week? Or are you retired, off of work, and every day is the weekend for you. It seems like when I have time, I have less money. More money, less time. Where’s the balance?

In catching up on red Ravine, I see that Bob was moved by Anna Deavere Smith in our Writing Topic — 3 Questions. Our guest Buzz explained some of the nuances of basketball banter in his poetry post Hoops. ybonesy wrote about art as play, community art, something dear to our hearts on red Ravine. The renga has heated up in the Daily Haiku. And we made April plans to go to Lake Pepin in the Midwest writing group I am a part of.

I’m relieved to know that even though I feel dead beat at the end of my truck driving day, the creative world goes on around me. And sweeps me along with it. I’m grateful for that.

For Christmas, I may ask Liz for a pocket protector and a few cotton work shirts with my first name stitched above the pocket, but I’m still a writer, a photographer, an artist. Still full of wonder at the animal track flannel sheets in the photo behind Kiev. Making a living as writers and artists isn’t easy. All of you make it easier. Thank you for that.

Morning Rituals, Mr. Stripeypants: Paw Over Hand, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, December 5th, 2009 with gratitude to Liz who holds up the other half of the sky, my family and friends who check up on me, and Roma, the best blog partner a woman could ever have

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I Spy, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. 
I Spy, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved

Job Haiku

sprawling pecan tree
rusty monkey wrench
1 fixed, 1 adjustable

Thursday, May 24th 2007

-from Topic post, Job! What Job?

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By Sharon J. Anderson

Fantasy Jobs (in chronological order)
Miss America
Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”
Maria in “The Sound of Music”
Nancy Drew
Sherlock Holmes
Barbara Bain in “Mission: Impossible”
Stephanie Powers in “The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.”
Diana Rigg in “The Avengers
Margaret Mitchell and/or Scarlett O’Hara
A keyboard player for Carole King, Judy Collins or Joni Mitchell
Ayn Rand
A gang member in “A Clockwork Orange”
Lighthouse keeper
John, the beloved disciple of Jesus
Barbara Jordan
Flannery O’Connor
Vanessa Redgrave in “Julia”
Sigourney Weaver in “Aliens” and/or Newt, the child she protects
A mother with two children
Cherry Jones’ lover
Mary Oliver and/or Anne Lamott
An Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker

Actual Jobs (in chronological order)
FBI Laboratory File Clerk
College Student Newspaper Editor
FBI Crime Laboratory Digest Editor
Book Editor
Book Marketing Manager
Director of Communications
Senior Marketing Writer
Freelance Writer
Part-time Music Store Employee
Part-time Gas Station Attendant
Independent Creative Director & Storyteller

photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Here I Am – Miss America

By Sharon J. Anderson

The first job I was determined to have was Miss America’s. In the early 1960’s, the crown came with an eye-popping $10,000 scholarship, plus Bert Parks announcing to the entire world precisely where and who I was. For my talent, I would play Beethoven’s, “Fur Elise” on piano, and then hope for an in-depth question about current events that I could tie to the Kennedy and Lincoln assassinations, my obsession at the time. I pictured myself wowing America with a detailed explanation of the amazing similarities in the bullet trajectories inside the Presidential skulls.

There I was, embodying both beauty and tragedy on a stage. And here I am, still pretty much doing the same thing. “Drama, drama, drama . . . always such drama with you,” my mother would say whenever she passed me nose-deep in The Day Lincoln Was Shot or newspaper accounts of the 1966 kidnapping of 17-year-old Peggy Ann Bradnick on her way home from school in Shade Gap, Pennsylvania, not far from our house. Holding Peggy at gunpoint, William Hollenbaugh, the kidnapper, led police and FBI agents through the thick mountains of central Pennsylvania for eight days. An FBI agent with my same last name — Terry R. Anderson – and a police dog were killed in the final shootout with the deranged loner, who was also killed. I was both entranced and frightened. I was lonely, too. Would I kidnap or shoot somebody one day? I needed to know.

I gave up the Miss America track and became an investigator. I had questions. I wanted answers. I wrote letters. I wrote to the makers of Lifesavers candy: “How do you get that hole in the middle?” I wrote to NASA: “How do astronauts go to the bathroom in outer space?” I wrote to Betty Crocker: “Why do you always look the same?” I wrote to the U.S. Mint: “Why is Lincoln on a penny? Don’t you think he’s worth more than that?” The answers came in large envelopes or boxes that included free Lifesavers, autographed photos of all seven Mercury astronauts, boxes of muffin mix and a spanking new Lincoln penny on a special card with my name on it, as though the coin had been molded and pressed just for me.

Intent on developing my investigative skills, I began to read detective stories and watch detective TV shows. I fell wildly in love with “The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.,” Cinnamon from “Mission: Impossible,” and, most of all, Emma Peel from “The Avengers.” I secretly carried their pictures in a small file folder that also included newspaper photos of Barbara Eden (in her genie outfit) and June Lockhart, with a desperate look on her face, talking on that wall telephone in a scene from “Lassie.” I began to practice kung fu kicks and comb my hair to one side so I could fling it back seductively. Walking to and from school and while on family camping trips, I stealthily wrote down the license plates of suspicious cars and trucks in a small spiral-bound reporter notebook like the ones I saw on “Dragnet.” Once I tallied 1,967 licenses (the same as the year), I was going to send the notebook to the FBI for further investigation.

My fantasy sleuthing ended abruptly during my senior year in high school. That year, I pretended to be an undercover “student” cop a la “Julie” from “The Mod Squad.” To the members of my lunch table I whispered enough details about mysterious drug dealing to pique their curiosity, and later, their cruelty. One day, I opened my hall locker and discovered a plastic bag filled with white sugar labeled, in embarrassingly large black scrawl: ILLEGAL DRUGS!!! An attached note said, “You are such a liar!!!”

Yes, I was. Why? Why did I lie? Why did I create a fantasy life so believable that when I first saw the white sugar in my locker, I pulled out a pen that I had told others concealed a two-way police transmitter?

Investigating my behavior now via this writing exercise (using a pen) and with years of living and therapy behind me, I see that my fantasy life was safer than my real life. When the fantasies stopped at age 20, after a born-again Christian experience (I was dressed like Alex from “A Clockwork Orange” at the time, complete with white jump suit, bowler hat and one false eyelash), all hell broke loose. I came face to face with my profoundly disturbed and wounded self. I became suicidal, wanting to be with Jesus sooner, rather than later. Thanks to grace (embodied in countless beloveds demonstrating inhuman patience and unconditional love) and my own steely determination, I turned my investigative eye on myself.

The tools of my investigation are on display for all to see when one enters the stage of my home. Peer closely at a bookshelf and see The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller or Bodies Under Siege: Self-Mutilation and Body Modification in Culture by Armando R. Favazza or I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children’s Drawings and Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944 or Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton or The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich or The Illustrated Gospels. See The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright on my nightstand. See a documentary movie camera on a tripod in one corner. Hanging or propped against walls, tables and chairs, see more than 230 original paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculpture – collected over 30 years — focusing primarily on the female form.

See beauty and tragedy embodied together. See me. Crying one minute and laughing the next. See me. With exquisite taste in art and women and lousy taste in clothes and home furnishings. See me. A small independent creative director for large public corporations. See me. A lesbian Christian. Look. Here I am: Miss America.

About writing, Sharon says:  My regular writing process is similar to the one undertaken to complete this post. Pairing dissimilar words together (such as “wizened” and “baby”) always sparks ideas. My first thought when I read about this “Help Wanted” topic was how much I wanted to be Miss America when I was younger. I then compiled a fantasy list of jobs I’ve wanted during my life, followed by a list of actual jobs I have had. Next, I literally placed the two lists next to each other and stared at them. Then, I actually heard myself say out loud, “Well, there I am,” and began to write.

To begin a writing exercise, I often compile word lists based on two contrasting words. The time I contrasted “death” with “joy” led to a story that begins, “The first time I talked out loud about death was with a girl named Joy.” I also force myself to sit with images. One simple, stark image haunted me as a child: a black rectangle. Go to my website: www.sharonjanderson.com, click on the “Read” link and read my published story, “Black Rectangles,” to see where my pen went after I wrestled with this image.

I see writing much like my matron saint, Flannery O’Connor, who once said, “I work from such a basis of poverty that everything I do is a miracle to me; however, don’t think I write for purgation. I write because I write well.” And for that, I give simple thanks.

-from Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – JOB! WHAT JOB!

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