Trial by Fire

September 23rd, 2008 § 0 comments

or; Learning the Hard Way

During the calamity of a new york day, I am finding myself smothered by the kind of multitasking I was forewarned of before I moved here. An elderly man I bumped into while wandering central park last August put on quite a show of new york expertise for my benefit, explaining new yorker mannerisms and where they originate.“You will find you walk and talk a little bit faster” he prattled off, much to my amusement. Talking to Californians now, however, is as much a struggle to keep my temper in check as walking through a packed underground tunnel between 8th Ave and 7th during the rush hour after work. It is true that multitasking here means something a little different than I would have thought. Certainly, though I work five days a week, I have escaped from monotony. In fact, America herself, at the present moment, is anything but boring.

wall-street-old-photo

More than that, I find myself plopped in the realm of “inexperience” on many fronts. I seem to be getting myself into things by a faulty combination of luck and skill, and am figuring out later what they entail. How do you pitch an idea to an editor? No one teaches this in advance; it is part of that unspoken world of “professional” practices institutions only hint at. They seem to prepare you for it as poorly as high school does for collage. Though tact seemed to dictate producing idea after idea for proper approval, the moment I was told “no”, the learning began. The way you learn to pitch an idea is obvious when you come to the frame of mind that goes something like this: I want to write about it, it is important because of these reasons, and here is why I am the best person to do it. Again, it is quite difficult to find out just how you get images from a gallery or museum, much less which images you can use and why. Freelance sounds like normal employment with a temporary spin, but isn’t. Reading over my new contract, it feels strange to essentially be an employee while singing over a document that states, in as many ways as possible, that I am not. As my paychecks increase, I am slightly confused about what exactly I am being compensated for–the lack of security? If so it matters only slightly, nothing in new york at the present moment is secure, and I like gotham the better for it.

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