Feeling Devastated 

I thought all my writing projects were saved on my jump drive. The file names were there, but when I went to open one to work on it, it was 6 pages of pound signs. #######################

The person who broke into my home and stole my electronics stole thousands of words and ideas from me that the insurance company can’t replace. 

I still have my pencil-and-paper writing journal, and bits and pieces on the blog. I will be able to start again and rewrite everything. Like all my crops have been destroyed in a massive hailstorm, but will eventually grow again. 

I will be writing everything on google docs from now on, so it is saved to the Internet. I’m also glad I didn’t try to open a file when the theft happened, I don’t think I would have handled it as well. 

After three weeks I’m still waiting for the insurance company to send me a check for a portion of what was stolen, minus $500 deductible. Then I have to replace everything and send them receipts, and they send me another check for the difference. I remember foolishly thinking I would have everything back in a week. The police found fingerprints but they were not in the system, and they are probably mine as everything was recently handled during the move. I don’t think I’ll ever see my things again or anyone will ever be caught for it. 

Fictional Portrait Edit

The second assignment was to edit the first portrait to reflect what was discussed in the lectures and readings.

……………………………..

He rummages through the dumpster, looking for recyclables. On a good day, he can fill his reused black garbage bag and stop in at the bottle depot more than once for the cash deposit on drink cans and bottles. He finds other things too in the places people throw things away, items that could be sold or repaired but are easier to dispose of in a wasteful society. He is a thrifter, a treasure hunter, a trash archaeologist, sifting through the layers of the unwanted materials of other people’s lives. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

He smiles and says hello in the early morning, as the woman tosses her bag of kitty litter, banana peels, and used kleenex into the dumpster on her way to work. He can tell he won’t need to go through this bag, but after she has driven off, he pokes at it just in case. The dumpster’s heavy lid is propped up with something he found lying around, and his cane reaches down into the acrid depths of the metal bin. Today he has found a discarded electric fan. One of the blades is missing, another has a crack. He assumes there is a good chance it still works, and sets it to the side. It will be light enough to carry home up the hill, but this is only the fourth dumpster on his daily route, and he will collect it later. The tiny apartment really heats up in the summer, and this is a fortunate find, if it works. If there is some issue with the motor or electrical system he can’t fix, it will simply be returned to the endless supply of refuse. If the broken fan blade makes it spin unevenly, he will remove another blade opposite to balance it. He is good with his hands. He is a problem solver.

Crescent Heights, where he lives, is at the top of the hill. He comes down the well-maintained stairway built into the side of the coulee, and crosses the pedestrian walkway over the busy Altawana Hill traffic. The bottom of the hill is Riverside, with its many apartment complexes and adjoining dumpster buffet. It also has a bottle depot. Passed the Catholic cathedral, the sidewalk leads to the pale green Finlay Bridge, over the river into Downtown. Here is where he spends most of the day, before returning for any items he set aside earlier, on his way back up the hill. He never takes a day off. He goes out and about every day, because you never know when you will find something worth finding.

Familiar faces come and go at the Tim Horton’s on 3rd street. Some do not make eye contact, others greet him with a smile or some spare change. His army camouflage pants don’t blend into the brick walls, but you would sometimes think he was invisible. The pretty lady with the pony tail behind the counter is always friendly to him. “Hey there, how are you doing this morning? Your usual breakfast today?” He nods shyly and casts his eyes down to the counter, setting down some toonies for his small double double coffee with a bacon n’ egg breakfast sandwich. He puts nickels and dimes into the change box of the Children’s Foundation beside the register because he likes to give when he can. He knows every little bit adds up.

A newspaper is left on a table near a window and he chooses that spot. First he flips to the obituaries. At some point in your life, the names and faces stop being folks your grandparents’ age, and you start seeing people your parents’ age, if you had any. Then more and more people your own age appear in the columns until one day it is you. He sees a headline in the paper about how the city of Medicine Hat claims to have ended homelessness. From April 2009 to December 31, 2016, they housed 1072 people, including 312 children. The mayor is quoted as saying, “I wasn’t even on board when I was first elected,” but now believes the program is a huge success, with declining costs in crime and health care saving taxpayers money in the long run. “How do you solve homelessness? You give them a home.”

After his meal, he leaves the newspaper for the next person and goes out to the bench beside the sidewalk, between the coffee shop and the street of one-way traffic. There is one plastic water bottle in the trash can beside the bench, which he crushes and adds to his bag. He sees his friend coming down the street, the one who declined housing to stay in a tent with his dog in an inconspicuous bramble of trees in one of the city’s parks. Some do not have the same life goals as the families you see living the cookie cutter lives of nine-to-five jobs, marriage, big screen televisions, SUVs, excess and suburbia. Some prefer to live off the grid, but still go into town for supplies. “Hey man, how’s it goin’? Haven’t seen you in a while,” the man with the dog says as he sits on the bench beside him. “Oh, you know, same old- same old,” he replies. They talk about the weather, warm and windy as usual.

“He was just a puppy when I pulled him outta the stream by Saratoga Park. I didn’t know if he’d even make it. I saved his life, now he saves mine. I feel safer knowing nobody gonna mess with the guy with the guard dog.” This vagrant prefers an alternative way of life, but he has needs we all share, such as safety and companionship. The dog provides both. The dog, the abandoned German Shepherd crossed with a few other breeds, the squirming sinking lump that turned out to be the strongest swimmer of the litter, a survivor.

For the most part, the people he encounters in the community are kind and generous. There are also those who cast judgmental looks of disgust or shout taunts at him as they drive by. Usually a variation of, “Get a job, you lazy bum!” or, “Frickin’ freeloader!” He tries to understand where their hate is coming from. They think he is taking something they are entitled to. They see him as a parasite. They make assumptions about substance abuse and his mental health. They think he is a lesser lifeform than themselves. They think the government should spend tax money drug testing welfare recipients. He once overheard two men talking loudly in front of the Royal Bank, “I don’t work my life away to have to give it all up in taxes to those lazy commies. I bet they never worked a day in their lives, or known sacrifice like I have. Greedy. Just looking for the next handout, riding the gravy train.”

He says goodbye to his friend and continues his dumpster route down an alley. He thinks about nights he spent in cold, drafty places, beneath bridges and in gutters and hidden away in nooks and shadows. A tent and a dog would feel like camping, feel like a choice. His apartment has everything he needs, running water and more privacy than the homeless shelter. He has a support worker helping him with government forms and paperwork, and he was accepted for AISH funding, Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped. You take a hit to your ego when you admit to being handicapped. Permanently disabled. They paid for his new glasses. They would pay for a gym membership, but he keeps in shape doing the stairs every day. He used to work construction, but because of the seizures he lost his driver’s license and his job. Just wasn’t safe.

The library has one of the best public washrooms that you don’t have to buy something to use. He pays five dollars a year for his library card and has access to all the books, music, and movies he wants. He likes to read non-fiction. He has read more than most college graduates, but never got a fancy piece of paper with the official stamp and signature. He uses the Internet computers to check the weather report and ask Google questions. He likes to sit in the chairs that face out over the river on his breaks from rescuing usable unwanted items. He is reading about local history. The Gas City was settled when the railroad was built across Western Canada in the late 1800s. It is known for its underground pockets of natural gas, referred to as All Hell for a Basement. Many of the people here are reliant on the oil industry to make their living. With the recession leading to massive job loss there were desperate times for many who never imagined it would happen to them. Unemployment can happen to anyone; sudden financial difficulty is not always a result of bad choices. He remembers how he heard someone talking into their thousand-dollar pocket computer how they had to sell their house to live in their trailer, but that the trailer was worth over three years of his AISH payments.

The bottle depot closes at 5:00 now, it used to be 5:30. If he has found a lot of bottles after his lunch time depot visit, he will go again. He walks back over the green bridge and sees people fishing, geese and ducks swimming in the river, the occasional beaver. He fantasizes about living off the land, he thinks he could make a bow and arrows, maybe a slingshot. If you have Indian Status you can claim hunting and fishing rights. He was told when he was young his father had some native blood, but he has no documentation to complete the paperwork, all he has of his family history is a name and the memory of his dearly departed mother, taken too young. He has always depended on himself.

Home in time for dinner, he changes out of his work clothes into sweat pants and a clean t-shirt. He cleans and organizes the items in his backpack, sets aside breakfast money, and makes lists of things he needs to do the next day, or things he is searching for during daily excavation. He is content, he is productive, and his high quality of life is reliant on social programs.

 

 

I Was Robbed

They came in, took my plastic recycling bag out of the pantry, and filled it with my electronics. Laptop, noise cancelling headphones, old iPhone 4 I used as an iPod, all my camera equipment. 

I didn’t even notice right away because there was no damage. They came right in, I’m assuming with the former tenant’s key. Always get the locks changed when you move. 

I called Best Buy to get the serial number of the computer. The next day they offered me a loaner laptop until my insurance claim is sorted. I cried with gratitude that they would be so kind to me.

My insurance claim should take less than a month. And I’m so lucky, as I had rental insurance just over a week when I was burglarized. Never had it the nine years I lived downstairs. I mostly was thinking about getting a hotel if a tree smashed through my window. I never imagined someone would enter my home and steal from me. 

That night I used the chain lock on the door, even though there was nothing left to steal that could be sold for drugs. It was the second time I’ve used a chain lock, the first was several years ago when my car was broken into in the parking garage. That time they got my spare keys with address listed on my ID. I think a chain lock would not take much force, the screws would rip from the wall, but it is symbolic of safety when you are feeling violated. 

My writing goals for June are to keep up with my writing assignments for the writing course I joined. It’s more difficult than writing whatever I’m motivated to do. I’m learning though, and the lecture videos are interesting. I’m reading a book about how to build an online presence, and another on the art of writing memoir. I still have some stories left to read in the massive Lovecraft collection too but it’s not easy to get through. 

The night before the theft I made sure all my writing files were saved onto a jump drive, as I finished the first draft of Assignment 1. I worried my work could be lost if my computer stopped working properly. I’m going to start saving to google docs also. I was so glad they didn’t take the jump drive, glad I ejected it safely and it wasn’t in the computer. 

Could have been much worse. My cats were OK. They didn’t take any of my art. They didn’t get the crystal jaguar I bought at Chichen Itza. It’s bad timing for me financially to have to pay out the deductible but my things will eventually be replaced.

Fictional Portrait Inspired by the Man That Digs Through My Trash

I joined a free online writing course and the first paper was a portrait of someone and how their identity is influenced by their surroundings and social issues. I thought of the man I often see at the dumpster on my way to work. I wasn’t sure I said all I wanted to say, but I didn’t know how to end it. I started worrying I was making too many assumptions creating a fictional day-in-the-life of this nameless man. I started feeling like to do this piece properly I should be interviewing people at Tim Horton’s, not just imagining what could be.

………………………

He rummages through the dumpster, looking for recyclables. On a good day, he can fill his reused black garbage bag and stop in at the bottle depot for twenty dollars for a few hours work. He finds other things too in the places people throw things away, items that could be sold or repaired but are easier to dispose of in a wasteful society. He is a thrifter, a treasure hunter, a trash archaeologist, sifting through the layers of the unwanted materials of other people’s lives. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

He smiles and says hello in the early morning, as the woman tosses her bag of kitty litter, banana peels, and used kleenex into the dumpster on her way to work. He can tell he won’t need to go through this bag, but after she has driven off, he pokes at it just in case. The dumpster’s heavy lid is propped up with something he found lying around, and his cane reaches down into the acrid depths of the metal bin. Today he has found a discarded electric fan. One of the blades is missing, another has a crack. He assumes there is a good chance it still works, and sets it to the side. It will be light enough to carry home up the hill, but this is only the fourth dumpster on his daily route, and he will collect it later. The tiny apartment really heats up in the summer, and this is a fortunate find, if it works. If there is some issue with the motor or electrical system he can’t fix, it will simply be returned to the endless supply of refuse. If the broken fan blade makes it spin unevenly, he will remove another blade opposite to balance it. He is good with his hands. He is a problem solver.

Crescent Heights, where he lives, is at the top of the hill. He comes down the well-maintained stairway built into the side of the coulee, and crosses the pedestrian walkway over the busy Altawana Hill traffic. The bottom of the hill is Riverside, with its many apartment complexes and adjoining dumpster buffet. It also has a bottle depot. Passed the Catholic cathedral, the sidewalk leads to the pale green Finlay Bridge, over the river into Downtown. Here is where he spends most of the day, before returning for any items he set aside earlier, on his way back up the hill. He never takes a day off. He goes out and about every day, because you never know when you will find something worth finding.

Familiar faces come and go at the Tim Horton’s on 3rd street. Some do not make eye contact, others greet him with a smile or some spare change. His army camouflage pants don’t blend into the brick walls, but you would sometimes think he was invisible. The pretty lady with the pony tail behind the counter is always friendly to him. “Hey there, how are you doing this morning? Your usual breakfast today?” He nods shyly and casts his eyes down to the counter, setting down some toonies for his small double double coffee with a bacon n’ egg breakfast sandwich. He puts nickels and dimes into the change box of the Children’s Foundation beside the register because he likes to give when he can. He knows every little bit adds up.

A newspaper is left on a table near a window and he chooses that spot. First he flips to the obituaries. At some point in your life, the names and faces stop being folks your grandparents’ age, and you start seeing people your parents’ age, if you had any. Then more and more people your own age appear in the columns until one day it is you. He sees a headline in the paper about how the city of Medicine Hat claims to have ended homelessness. From April 2009 to December 31, 2016, they housed 1072 people, including 312 children. The mayor is quoted as saying, “I wasn’t even on board when I was first elected,” but now believes the program is a huge success, with declining costs in crime and health care saving taxpayers money in the long run. “How do you solve homelessness? You give them a home.”

He knows a guy that still lives in a tent with his dog in an inconspicuous bramble of trees in one of the parks. Some do not have the same life goals as the typical families you see living the cookie cutter lives of 9-5 jobs, marriage, bigscreen tvs, SUVs, excess and suburbia. Some prefer to live off the grid. He prefers running water and more privacy than a shelter. He has a support worker helping him with government forms and paperwork, and he was accepted for AISH funding, Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped. You take an ego hit when you admit to being handicapped. Permanently disabled. They paid for his new glasses. They would pay for a gym membership, but he keeps in shape doing the stairs every day.

The library has one of the best public washrooms that you don’t have to buy something to use. He pays five dollars a year for his library card and has access to all the books, music, and movies he can carry up the hill. He likes to read non-fiction, he has read more than most college graduates but never got the fancy piece of paper with the official stamp and signature. He uses the Internet computers to check the weather report and ask Google questions. He likes to sit in the chairs that face out over the river and watch the clouds on his breaks from rescuing usable unwanted items.

The bottle depot closes at 5:00 now, it used to be 5:30. If he has found a lot of bottles after his lunch time depot visit, he will go again. He walks back over the green bridge and sees people fishing, geese and ducks swimming in the river, the occasional beaver. He fantasizes about living off the land, he thinks he could make a bow and arrows, maybe a slingshot. If you have Indian Status you can claim hunting and fishing rights. He was told when he was young his father had some native blood, but he has no documentation to complete the paperwork, all he has of his family history is a name and the memory of his dearly departed mother, taken too young. He has always depended on himself.

Home in time for dinner, he changes out of his work clothes into sweat pants and a clean t-shirt. He cleans and organizes the items in his backpack, sets aside breakfast money, and makes lists of things he needs to do the next day, or things he is searching for in particular during daily excavation. He is content, he is productive, his high quality of life is reliant on social programs. For the most part, the people he encounters are kind and generous. The worst is judgmental looks of disgust or shouted teenage taunts as someone drives by. He has never been attacked, but he’s always home by dark.


 

Power of the Pen Writing Course

While I have been busy all month packing, moving, cleaning, and now unpacking and organizing, I have not had much time for my writing projects. 

I still make notes in my writing journal, jot down interesting ideas, think about where my stories are going, and read posts in online writing groups. One of the posts I came across was for a free online writing course about Social Issues and Identity in Fiction and Non-Fiction. My alley, it’s right up it.

http://www.writingwa.org/articles/power-of-the-pen-2017-moocs
Each week the instructors post video lectures and readings about the topic, encouraging discussion and building a network with other writers. The first assignment is to write 1000-1500 words about a portrait of a person and how they fit into their community. 

I thought at first about doing a memoir, but changing it to be fiction. How I felt displaced growing up, building a sense of belonging by coming to terms with negativity and mental health, who I am in the community now. 

One of the talks encouraged me to think deeper about what issues there are in my city, and I thought of the overlooked impoverished people that are here that no one really talks about. One man in particular, who I see going through my dumpster, inspired me to create a fictional day in the life of someone “rescued from homelessness” as my city is a front runner in the Housing First program. 

I’m thinking of a film I saw back in Art School called “In the Gutter and Other Good Places” about people who scavenge for cans and bottles to get the recycle refund. I want to show how this man is resilient and resourceful, not some drunk freeloader mooching others’ hard earned tax dollars. 

I’m excited to see where the course goes, and possibly sign up for other sessions in the future. 

Haunted Objects

I moved to a place with high ceilings. Ceilings so high I need a ladder just to change the light bulbs in my bedroom. I also require a ladder to access the windows and to hang art. 

I go to a lot of garage sales. It’s partly because I’m cheap, and was raised appreciating second hand things. I also love haggling for a cheap price, something you can’t do at WalMart. I hunt for beautiful, original, and vintage items. 

So when I saw how pricey ladders are, the thought crossed my mind to find one at a garage sale. But then I thought, you don’t want a used ladder. What if the previous owner fell and died, and now their ghost haunts the ladder causing accidents for anyone that might use the ladder? 

Where’s my writing journal, I thought, I need to write this down. 

Looking through my collection (hoard), I have so many great objects that have the potential to be haunted items. Not really, but in a fictional kind of way. I’m not sure I even believe in ghosts. Spirits, souls, vibes, residual energies, maybe.

But in a horror fiction sense, I started thinking of a series of short stories surrounding haunted items. How does an item become haunted? The ghost must have a connection to the object, maybe it was something they cherished like a ring, or something they used everyday like a paintbrush. In the case of the ladder, maybe the object becomes haunted when it causes a death. 

Can an object be haunted by more than one ghost? Can each person who falls from the cursed ladder end up connected to it, or is there a one ghost limit? Places can certainly have multiple hauntings, but what about objects?

Do certain materials attract and hold ghosts better than others? If so, is it connected to that material’s ability to conduct electricity? 

Do ghosts haunt things because they have unfinished business, want revenge, weren’t ready to die, died suddenly?

So each story will describe an object. Then it will show how the item comes into the possession of the new owner and the resulting haunting. Then it will tie in to the previous owner. 

The ring, it’s colours, the stone, maybe it’s from eBay. A woman buys it, and begins thinking she is someone else when she wears it, does things out of character for her, has weird memories. Turns out, a woman in an insane asylum wore it, and it was stolen when she died. 

The paintbrush, what it’s handle and bristles are made of, it’s at an estate sale. The new artist finds when he uses it, he blacks out, and doesn’t remember painting what is on the canvas when he wakes up in the morning. The previous owner was an artist who never became famous, but whose spirit remains obsessed with making art. 

I would photograph the objects and use a high contrast black and white filter to make them look spooky.

In the mean time I’m watching the fliers for ladder sales. 

I Was A Talented Kid

I’m going through so much old stuff while cleaning and packing for the move. 

My mom held on to lots of my work from elementary and high school. I have so many good stories, some I may rework. I’m not sure how many are based off other books or TV shows, but some are definitely originals. Oddly, I found stories I did not remember, which are very similar to projects I’m working on now. Looking at my childhood journals and creative writing makes me feel even more sure that I am meant to write. 

Here is a short story written when I was 11 or 12 (gr.7):





“I am Oly, you are Sven,” is actually a quote from the cartoon Ren & Stimpy. 

Another gem I found was a fantasy quest, I burned the edges of the paper to make it more “old-timey”: 












Needs work, but some good ideas here!

Big Changes

The day after my last post, I made a choice that will change my life completely. Everything was suddenly thrown into chaos; I am moving.

I’ve wanted to move for a long time. Every spring I start thinking about it, and by fall I decide to hole up in my cave for winter. In the past few years, I’ve been saving for a down-payment on a mortgage. I look at real estate apps and dream about all the things I don’t have in my current living situation. Natural light to grow plants. A secure art studio that my cats can’t get into. More than four feet of countertop in the kitchen. A place where I don’t have to live with the daily noise torture of loud neighbours. Nothing on the housing market fit my budget. I didn’t want to move my immense hoard to another rental just to pay off the landlord’s mortgage instead of my own.

I was looking at run-down hundred year old houses, with charm and potential. Although close to the amount the bank might lend me, down the road they were destined for some expensive and necessary repairs. I worried about even qualifying for a mortgage, being a single woman who earns less than $50,000 per year. It doesn’t matter I’m a master of frugality, never missed a bill payment in my life, never even paid interest on my credit card. The bank prefers dual income households with steady incomes, not cat lady substitute teachers with fluctuating hours, trying to be an artist and a writer.

My apartment building is in a great location, has a good building manager who immediately follows through with issues, an underground parking lot that keeps my car snow-free in the winter, and utility prices are very low. The top floor has penthouse units, with a view over the river and downtown through it’s double story tall windows. On the last day of April, I returned from a walk to the library to see the “Apartment for Rent” sign in front of the building. I looked up to the balconies, and one of the penthouse ones had nothing on it. If that’s the apartment that’s available, I should take it, I thought.

I spent the rest of the evening googling buying vs. renting. If I was approved for a mortgage, there would be so many costs I hadn’t really thought of. Besides all the hefty maintenance expenses, my utilities would also go up significantly. I’d have to pay property tax. There are lawyer fees, realtor fees, building inspections. I once thought paying rent was a waste, but I would throw much more away with buying. The interest would be just like the nightmare of student loan debt I just woke from. And what if the house I chose became a curse and a burden instead of a source of joy and security?

Once again I turn away from what society expects, what I have ingrained deep inside that I feel pressured to need, but don’t. When it comes to relationships, I am independent. When it comes to employment, I am noncommittal.  I don’t need a husband, I don’t need a full-time teaching contract, and I don’t need to buy a house.

On May 1, I call the building manager, and I already know the suite available is the one I want and I’m going to take it. And it is, and I do, like love at first sight, like a key in a lock, like being one with the Universe. My mom comes to check it out, I try really hard to think critically if this is the right financial move and not just the best emotionally, but I’m already giddy, and I give my month’s notice of moving out the same day.

There will be different and potentially worse noises up there, snoring or an unattended alarm clock for example. But if I’m going to creep around in my home wearing ear plugs and noise-cancelling headphones, I may as well like the place! I will be moved in nine days, and have until the end of the month to clean the old place. I am giving myself a break from my May writing goals until settled in. I will have a new writing nook, on the loft overlooking that gorgeous view. Literally moving up in the world.

 

 

 

 

The Next Phase

I feel I have entered the next phase in my writing journey.

The very end of March and all of April, my goal was an hour of writing every day, one blog post a day, and one hour of reading a day. I made an easy goal, and spent many more hours than that, but it kept me motivated. I’m ready to set new goals for May.

If I am not working mornings, I will write as soon as I get up. If I am, I will write after work and before supper.  From reading about writing, several people suggest using word count instead of time as a measure. I again want a goal that is easy to reach so I don’t get discouraged. I will start at 500 words a day and see how it goes, in the past month I have written as much as 2000, usually close to 1000, sometimes 300. I will allow myself one day off per week, but probably won’t need it.  I read a lot. I don’t think I need to keep track of how much.

I’ve started researching how to submit short stories to magazines. Many say unpublished work only, so I need to be careful what I put on the blog. Some consider any work available online as previously published, not just published on paper or a commercial site. This makes me a officially a published author! Just an unpaid one, unless you count the Grant MacEwan Young Writer’s Scholarship I won in 2007 for $2500.

I think instead of a daily blog post, I will try to work more on my existing projects than put my energy into my writing diary. I will cut back to one post per week, but more if I feel inspired to. I will not post any finished copies of anything I plan to eventually submit to a magazine. I have put up a rough draft of one of my fables, but it will be revised and other stories added. You are allowed to share excerpts with feedback groups, that is not considered published. I’m glad I discovered this before I posted a lot of the projects I’ve been polishing, like ‘Noise Complaint’ and ‘Medieval Feast.’

I started looking into magazines that would be a good match for what I write. So I googled creative non-fiction, which seems to be really flowing for me lately. It was also the genre of my award-winning story on Albertan culture. “True Story” is offering $300 for 5000-10,000 words, that one caught my eye. I could also find magazine websites with submission calls and contests based on horror, children’s books, travel writing, cooking, Canadian writers, women writers. There are actually a lot out there! Some you have to pay to submit, which kind of puts me off. I found a website that you sign up and they will send you different jobs hiring writers for magazines and blogs, but it has that scammy feeling, and I want to write whatever I want at my own pace, not “we need a piece on that football game by 2pm,” or whatever. I might look into it, but I need to be very selective because if a piece is accepted I can’t send it to someone else looking for unpublished work. I also need to research how copyright, First Serial Rights, and all that stuff works.

By the end of May I hope to have some polished good copies, and a better idea of who I want to make submissions to.