Monday, October 6, 2008

Pub Crawling: Well, how did I get here?

I am a female pushing 30, who moved 300 miles away from the place I've always lived, and who finally, half a decade after graduating college, has embarked on what can tentatively be termed a "career."

Yes, I am a publishing newbie, but I don't feel terribly new. Honestly, sometimes I just feel fucking haggard. And I've only been here 4 months.

I have an advanced degree and hold numerous honors that would be too ostentatious to list here, but I swear they exist. For 3 years I helped manage and run a nonprofit organization. I co-founded a magazine, interviewed Pulitzer Prize-winners and artists and filmmakers, and edited countless manuscripts and articles. People in my old hometown knew who I was. I was occasionally quoted in the local paper in articles about the "local literary community." The neighborhood sandwich shop knew my "regular" (turkey on wheat with American, lettuce, tomato, dollop of mayo). For a while, it seemed like I was moving up the ladder. Making the most of myself. Achieving my potential. Writing for a living. Receiving sandwiches without saying a word.

And now: I am back at the bottom of the totem pole in an entry-level position in a town where nobody knows me and nobody cares. I am several years older than numerous people in more senior positions, I make less per hour at my current salaried position than I did when working full-time as a temp, and I wonder if trying to start a career in publishing right around the time the economy has imploded is just a sign that I am another one of those cliched failed writers who has made a stupid mistake.

What made me do it? Why did I give up what I had and think it would be wise to re-establish myself in a new state and a new industry as a new kid when I am anything but new? Is it a mistake? I'm still trying to figure it out, but at least, for your reading pleasure, I'm not planning on keeping it to myself.

Pub Crawler

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