I have my books and my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor, hiding in my room, safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me
I am a rock, I am an island
–Paul Simon – I Am A Rock
One of the things that made my last job bearable was a colleague I enjoyed conversing with, an older man who had never married or had kids but who dabbled in writing and film. Because I’ve been bored at many of my jobs, I’ve found that having a colleague I click with intellectually makes all the difference. It’s been a long-standing pattern with me that my level of satisfaction with a job depends on having at least one of those connections, as any workday can be elevated above the mundane by stimulating conversation.
I’m leaning towards one full-time job right now over another because I think I stand a better chance of clicking with some staff members there. Certainly the job itself is going to bore me, as I was doing the same work almost fifteen years ago and it bored me then (hopefully though it will position me for a better job not too far down the road). I’ve also been investigating after-work activities in both areas of town to give myself something to look forward to outside of the job.
It hit me profoundly the other evening that, socially at least, I’m becoming an intellectual lone ranger. I’ve written before that my old friends who shared my taste in books, movies, and music have all become preoccupied with rearing children or have otherwise disappeared from my life, and I’ve made few new ones to replace them.
It’s a real loss, as I feel almost no connection to the larger culture. I hardly turn on my T.V. anymore, and I rarely read popular literature or magazines. Somehow I still manage to find those lesser-known books or bands or what-have-you that speak to me, but I wish they were speaking to me and a few of my friends.
I do appreciate the friends I currently have, and I connect with them on various levels, but I confess that there’s a lot of polite chit-chat going on with them. I have to work at things, like how a middling date often feels like a job.
I do have a pretty strong connection with my roommate on certain topics, but I’ve realized the limits of his maturity lately, and his lack of energy and general snappishness (not just with me but with others) has put me off. Occasionally I still talk with my non-relationship guy on the phone, and it’s like a breath of fresh air, as I can bring up almost anything on my mind and he can riff on it.
Luckily for me I have some childless, single female friends here; however, I find myself unable to broach those very topics with them. They seem to have either suppressed their feelings about them (and a few seem to be acting out from this suppression) or they are still in a hopeful phase so can’t go there yet. Thank god I can check in on the Gateway Women Online Community; it’s been a lifeline.
As in L.A., I also have a few younger, twentysomething female acquaintances, and although I enjoy their company, they are not my peers.
Was it better in L.A.? The only thing that was perhaps better is that there were some really bright people in the Industry there, people at the top of their game, who would elevate my intellect when I caught them in interviews or performances. As to my actual friendship circle, however, it was pretty much the same deal.
This blog has become, at some level, not a choice but a necessity. I would say I’ve been backed into a corner and have no way out but to become a writer, but then I realize, I already AM a writer. Just not a traditionally published one.