"sometimes the way back up is down."- jack donaghy- 30 rock
if you've been looking for a job or searching for otherwise elusive goals i guarantee that reading this blog for a few days will give you a greater sense of yourself - increased/new self esteem. while you won't get the academic bullet points for successful emplopyment, you already know that your resume is useless in this process or you wouldn't have clicked on to this page, you will gain what is essential to any forward movement. there is a homily - compare and despair, but i say compare and repair. when you glimsp into my process you will cherish your skill sets and bless your dna, however diminished you formerly thought your genetic legacy. to get to the center of the story i suppose i'll have to start at the beginning. my relationship to work and the spiral it was always destined to take.
"all my life i've always wanted to be somebody. but i see now i should have been more specific." -lily tomlin
my first job was folding sweaters and selling them in a shop called tweedsville outside of philadelphia. the style - tweeds and plaids that clothed the horsey set or those who aspired to it. the shop was kinda a fulcrum for cool rich kids of which i was neither, but the shop owner liked me so i was in. my next real adult job was several years later. i had dropped out of college and was living in new york. the begining position in a talent agency was to answer phones and smile at actors. there was a wall that separated the two principal 's doorless offices and my area that was perpendicular to both. within the first year i had picked up most of what i'd need to know for the next 20 - talking on the phone, matching the right actors to the right jobs and how to negotiate a contract. generally telling people how to run their lives. it was a cut above folding sweaters and selling them. and it was fun. show business is a mix of need and narcisism. if you're insecure it's the perfect spot because what feels a lot like love isn't. but close enuf that you can live off that energy for a long time. i never thought of what i did as a career. even when i had my own agency. for most of the time i agented i never even thought of what i did as work. until i wanted something else....
in the late 80is i contracted the superwoman's disease epstien barr and from that moment my relationship to work began to change. since i just lost 1/2 hour of writing here i think i'll rewrite this tomorrow.
the other nite i was watching charlie rose interview my old client morgan freeman. morgan was all tones of silver and brown - his hair, his silk suit and shirt, his hazel eyes and skin. the m o of the interview was "invictus. " morgan sat at the ubiquitous rose oak table telling the irritant charlie how he had met with mandela numerous times, that, mandeebi(oh plz salon acess spell check soon) and he often held hands so that morgan could work into the character of the man. and because everything is about me. and nothing. i bounced back to those electric co. days when morgan was steadily employed - mid 70ies - early 80is, but wanting more material in which to get his acting chops . work for black actors was at a premium and the parts that were available were most often antiquated stereotypes. we repped morgan for commercials. there was even a greater derth in that venue. mostly we just supported him when he walked away fr offensive auditions. thirty years later it's no surprise to see him part of american royalty. but what about me? if i had remained an agent would i have been part of that trajectory or other illuminants who we represented. or would depression have ultimately dulled all my content?
i left the business on a high. i didn't want to fade out in a profession whose main requirement is shine. i also wondered if my reputaion wasn't mythical. wouldn't i have felt a lot better about myself if all the props were solid. in 1990 we sold the shop. i went off to get a formal education at columbia unversity. from the first semester people began asking me what i was going to do after i graduated. and looking back i see that they were right to ask. i most definitely needed a plan. i was able to fend off reality for a few more years by making a certain amount of what seemed to me like magic money from small cap stocks a stock broker chose for me. cash just seemed to stream thru. until it didn't. and even when it was streaming the broker, who had a healthy regard for the efficacy of the buck, suggested i look into a small anything job. i began to wirte and publish poetry. and eventually i sneaked into a graduate writing program....