never married, over forty, a little bitter

leaky vessels

I knew the economy was truly terrible for a good five years, but I thought perhaps it had gotten better.

Well the joke’s on me. The only two offers I’ve had so far, both from an employment agency, have been bottom-level, go-nowhere positions. Keep in mind, I have an undergraduate degree from a good school and a master’s degree. I’ve never been fired. Never been arrested. No piercings, no tattoos. Never had a drug and alcohol problem, never so much have taken an antidepressant. There’s nothing in my background that would “flag” me, other than the fact that I read anti-corporate literature and thus may be on some kind-of list (I’m joking. Kinda).

I desperately needed to de-plug for a spell, and it was nice to believe in dreams for, what, a good six months? But I’ve now woken up to the smoldering ruins. I’m to the point that I would happily take a job in some boring, sleepy little burg that was inhospitable to singles. It might be preferable to dealing with the urban problems I predict are only going to worsen if things don’t turn around.

I had a plumber in today and he was telling me how there’s a worldwide shortage of plumbers. Hiring bonuses are repeatedly floated in front of their faces to try to lure them to other companies.

So my advice to the young ‘uns is, unless you are seriously academically inclined, forget the B.A. Get yourself skilled in AC repair or plumbing.

Those are the skills that are needed on this sinking ship.

moving on

My former place of employment just posted an entry-level professional position for internal applicants only. It’s like a koan, isn’t it? Then I got a call from my employment agency with their second job offer– child-care worker for $10-$11 an hour. I seriously considered it before deciding my time would be better spent temping so I could keep searching and traveling to interviews for jobs that could actually sustain me.

Everything is up in the air now. I’m going to let my current applications play out, get through my language class, and then seriously consider going back to my former workplace in L.A., if they’ll have me.


On music, motherhood and the parallel lives explored in the book:

If I could somehow live two lives, as Lisa Nelson does, I would also have a child. It’s such a rich thing — regret. Because yes, I really regret not having a child. At the same time, I know it was probably the right choice for me.

The book’s final third re-introduces Lisa as a childless woman again, a version closer to Carson’s own life. She buries her father (as Carson herself did a couple of years ago), scores a film, plays a song for an adoring crowd, and wonders who her child would have been if she’d had her. She starts making notes for what might become a book. Near the book’s end, Lisa runs into Sofia, an old friend of hers from her waitressing days. Sofia is hanging out with her three-year-old grandson. “’Are you still singing?’ Sofia asks. ‘I have your music on my iPod. I’m so proud of you!’” Lisa muses about this. “I tell her I’m not singing so much, but that I’m still doing music. I don’t say that I would trade it, in a second, to have what she has.” I wonder if Carson knows that most people would trade everything they had to have had a life like hers?

NT: Where did Lisa come from? Is she a happy accident or a carefully plotted character based upon people in your real life?
LC: Lisa Nelson, the protagonist in The Original 1982, is a singer-songwriter who creates a daughter out of her imagination and longing for one. She was pretty easy for me to imagine.

NT: How are you able to balance work, family and your new writing career?
LC: I’ve always devoted most of my time to my work. Prior to writing my novel, I wrote songs, and worked on assorted music projects. So it’s not that dramatic a change. Although writing fiction does require a huge commitment in terms of time. But I’m not married, and don’t have my own family. I’ve got a dog and a couple of cats. They’re patient. I chose to have an artist’s life a long time ago.