||[Aug. 21st, 2009|10:23 am]
I almost deleted this thing because I thought it wasn't doing me any good anymore. It seemed more like an invitation to whine and dwell on the negative than document my daily adventures. Now that more and more crazy things are happening to me, I realize I would like a safe place to go back and revisit it someday. This occurred to me after I had to think for fifteen minutes to remember what I did for my birthday last year - I was here in Montreal!|
It's been a pretty easy transition back to life here. I took classes online for the first time (and went to school during summer term for the first time) and made it through (two As and a B, officially wrecking my 3-term 4.0 streak, but we all know technical writing is a bitch). I met a wonderful family - the mom is a writer from South Africa - and learned some interesting things. I'm living with a very easy, patient, positive guy who encourages me, respects me and treats me well.
Yesterday I emailed Suzanne at the Segal Centre (where I will be doing my internship beginning Oct 5) to let her know I had put her name down on the work permit application. About a minute later, she got a call from Immigration Quebec, who left a message saying they needed her to get back to them as soon as possible regarding my case. We met for coffee to strategize and she said I should talk to an immigration attorney. That's $300 an hour. I emailed the Segal Centre's attorney and he graciously offered to speak with me over the phone to see if we could resolve the issues without meeting in person. I left him a message about a half hour ago. I don't know attorney etiquette, so I don't know if he's going to call some kid back who's not paying him anything but I'll try back after lunch as well. Hoping he'll tell me what I want to hear. So far it seems like I have been walking a precarious line between things working out and things imploding. I was lucky that Suzanne didn't get that call from immigration any earlier, or had answered it, since she didn't even know she was the one who would be dealing with them. Woops! well you live and learn....this is all new to me. I'm hoping it will be resolved by Monday in some form.
I've had guests, finals and more guests. I desperately need to clean the apartment, thoroughly, like vacuuming the ridiculous amount of cat hair that blankets everything, dust, mop, do laundry, dishes, go grocery shopping. BORING. Then in four days? More guests.
Now that school is done until the fall, I've been indulging in some amazing reading. I made a huge google document of all the books I want to read and this is my first batch. I figure I'll get a lot done while I'm on the metro going to and from the Segal Centre everyday.
I gotta say, I can't get enough of Peanuts. I'm on 1957-58 now and it just keeps getting more amazing. It never fails to cheer me up and I have such positive associations with it since I started reading them here in Montreal last summer and whizzed through the first three or so. The Art of Fact is a fascinating one, too, and I'm learning a lot about writing nonfiction.
MOST EXCITING news is that I pitched a story via email to This American Life. I joined this site called mediabistro a few months ago which is a networking site for media professionals. I heard about it through my magazine writing class last winter and wanted to join for the "how to pitch" section, which is an insider's guide on pitching to thousands of magazines, radio shows, etc. I used the information there to work out a pitch I've had swimming in my head for a while now. Here's what I sent:
When my mom bought our family's first computer in 1996, I spent the next three years turning into other people. I was an eleven-year-old girl who had just started middle school. I had waist-length hair in a tight pony-tail, Sally Jesse Raphael glasses that dwarfed my face and a penchant for embroidered overalls. I wasn’t popular.
Then I discovered AOL chat rooms.
I scoured them, finally landing on one called “parenting.” This is where I developed my most involved alter-ego: a sensitive, manic depressive 35-year-old Australian man with an estranged wife and two twin boys. I forged relationships with mothers in their late 30s and early 40s who would share secrets their husbands didn't even know about. I would spend hours researching Brisbane, Australia, my alter-ego's hometown (17 hours ahead of my real home in Portland, Oregon.) When I diagnosed my character with manic depression, I studied up on anti-depressants and settled on WellButrin, memorizing the side effects and deftly incorporating them into my conversations.
I had created another world, a world where I wasn’t a helpless kid who got teased, where what I had to say mattered to people, where people depended on me. It had been easy. Too easy. And when I finally got outed, I was fourteen, still unpopular and very confused as to who the hell I was. Although some of my close friends knew I lied to people online, I never shared the extent of my double-life until I told a group of friends at a bar two years ago.
I feel like this story could be developed further to explore how and why we lie to ourselves and the good and bad it does to us. I'm currently a senior at Portland State University living in Montreal, Canada.
Thank you for your consideration,
They say there's usually a response within a week or two and that it's ok to email back after two weeks to make sure your pitch got through. I still can't believe I did it. Whatever the outcome, this is a big deal for me because I'm taking the initiative - I'm accepting that I'm good enough, that this is what I want to do and that it is worth shooting for. I also sent a poem to the Sun magazine a few weeks ago. They have a longer response rate of 3-6 months.
I also emailed the Montreal Girl's Roller Derby League to set up possibly doing a piece on a new recruit. They emailed back and said they'd spread the word along. I think it could turn into something pretty interesting.
I'm trying to do a lot of reading and writing before the internship because I know I'll be inundated with new things to learn and do once I'm there and won't have time for much writing. I've never had a real job where people depend on me to churn out the big results quickly so this is a little stressful and scary. I also have to learn photoshop and basic web design (also uploading video/audio) before October since that is something I'll be spending a lot of time doing. I'm nervous and after the faux-pas I pulled yesterday with Suzanne, I came to the sad and frustrating realization that the only way to learn new things and grow is to make mistakes. I HATE MAKING MISTAKES. I hate feeling embarrassed and I hate letting people down. But that's all part of it I guess.
I left a message with the immigration attorney - now it's the waiting game. Send me some positive vibes if you please.