In my MBA program, there are a couple of places to take night classes, but the one that’s most convenient for me is downtown, because it’s right next to work. Unfortunately, the entrance to Suburban Station, the train station right next to the school that I use to get home, starts to unravel quickly at night. I mean, it’s already pretty gross during the day, but nighttime brings a special glow. So, I always think about how dirty the area surrounding Temple downtown is, and why they can’t use their pull with the city to help fix it.
Conveniently, from time to time, my school sends us surveys to fill out about the quality of our experience, both in the classroom and in the facilities so that we can complain as much as possible.
I’ve always learned both at work and in school that you should never just come to someone with a problem; you should also have at least a couple possible ways to solve it. But, this is just for my MBA and everyone knows part-time MBA students are pretty tired and already 100% invested in classes, and also I have NO IDEA how to navigate the sprawling City of Philadelphia political system.
I usually work on my novel in this position: sitting on the train on the way to work or from work, notebook on my lap.
Despite the fact that I’m surrounded by people, it’s a really lonely way to work, as writing usually is. The ideas come hard and the words come harder. In half an hour, I can do around 600 words, which is nothing in the scope of 90,000.
There is a new coffee place that opened up a couple weeks ago downstairs in the building where I work. My coworkers and I sometimes go out for coffee after lunch to beat the post-lunch slump, the fact that we live in Philadelphia in the winter, and just all that millennial angst in general. I’m not a very frequent coffee drinker. I don’t like black coffee. I drink about one cappuccino a week, so when I do drink it, it hits me hard. The world becomes an increasingly fast place for up to four hours.
“As far as I’m concerned, the world exists just to give me new material.”
-My hero, Dave Barry, last night at the Philadelphia Free Library.
I first started reading Dave Barr’s syndicated column when we got the Patriot-News delivered on Sundays back when people still go the news delivered. I was maybe 8? Everything he wrote, I thought was hilarious, even though I didn’t understand some things he wrote, and I wanted to write funny things just like him.
He is one of the first people that made me laugh out loud when he wrote things.
Barry has defined a sense of humor as “a measurement of the extent to which we realize that we are trapped in a world almost totally devoid of reason. Laughter is how we express the anxiety we feel at this knowledge.”
Barry’s editors dispatched their man to New York to give the Times its comeuppance. Barry returned with a wicked 4,000-word story in which he gently pointed out that Ed Koch’s Manhattan was a carnival of urban decay and drug paraphernalia, too. Where the Times‘ storyhad been heavy-handed and sober, Barry was impish and hilarious, reporting, “[W]e immediately detect signs of a healthy economy in the form of people squatting on the sidewalk selling realistic jewelry.” The denizens of Times Square, he observed, were “very friendly, often coming right up and offering to engage in acts of leisure with you.”
Dave Barry is an American treasure and helped make me Who I Am As A Writer (which would be an excellent name for a band). I am so privileged to have seen him live.
This weekend I’m headed to my first BarCamp Philly. Will I see you there?
The way it works is that there’s no schedule and a bunch of awesome, interesting people come and propose topics they want to speak about. Sexy titles win. The audience picks the schedule and at 10 am the conference actually starts.
Because I don’t have enough social anxiety in my life, I’ve decided to put together a presentation on howI made almost $55 self-publishing and throw myself to the wolves, so that’s what the next couple days are going to be about.
Things I am terrified of: public speaking, pretending to be an expert is something, meeting new people.
Things Barcamp will involve: public speaking, pretending to be an expert in something, meeting new people.
I’m also thinking about sexy titles for my presentation. Some I’ve come up with include
How to Make PenguinRandomhouse Cry Like a Little Girl: Self-Publishing
How to Make Almost No Money and lose your mind: Self-publishing
How to Sell 50 books, including one to your mom and Three to yourself.
They’re working titles.
I’ve been playing this song on loop to psych myself up.
If you have any tips for being a normal human being, please leave them below.