Monday, August 1, 2011

Release, Richard, Rants, and a Feral Ballerina

The album release party was a success.  Everyone enjoyed the music, and we sold a number of cds, perhaps not so many as we hoped, but not so few as we feared either.

As a follow-up to a recent post, I must say that Richard III was quite good, the setting in the 1930s done very well, and Ian McKellen simply perfection as Richard, slimy and charming, wily and paranoid, all at once.  So the woman at the junk store was once again proved wrong, not that I ever listened to her recommendations much anyway.

I leave Thursday morning for my annual writers' conference, and find myself in a state of mingled excitement and worry, as usual.  Excitement because of the cathartic experience of spending four days in the company of fellow writers, concentrating on writing, writing as life rather than an accessory to life.  Worry, because of meeting editors and agents and exposing my writing (and through it, myself) to the scrutiny of others.  These things will always be harrowing experiences I think, no matter how my writing eventually fares, or how much confidence I gain.

The four days of the conference serve another useful (at this point indispensable) purpose as well.  They shall offer me a brief respite from work.  In general it hasn't been too bad.  I've met some lovely people, found an endless new supply of character ideas, and the tips aren't so bad either.  The last two days, however, have worn me down into a fine paste.  There are always days like that, there always will be, at any job.  At the coffeehouse there was the man who invited me out to his "ranch", the one who always asked you to stir his coffee with your little finger "to sweeten it up", the woman who went on a tirade when you ran out of her favorite salad dressing.  At the golf course there is the man who offered to be my sugar daddy, or the one who mocked me as I split up his tab, or the woman who insisted I stop and take her party's order as I was on my way to the kitchen with three water glasses in each hand, menus under one arm, and the ketchup and mustard carousel dangling from my little finger.  Not that my days are made up entirely of these occurrences.  Hardly.  There are generally plenty of good things to balance out the bad.  I don't mind cleaning up after people, really, and I actually quite like waiting on tables.  What I don't like, what makes me see red, is the air of entitlement which so often comes with the aforementioned actions, the attitude that the fact that you are waiting tables and they are not gives them the right to treat you in any way they see fit, to mock, harangue, or hit on you without compunction.  Meanwhile, they expect speed, efficiency, serenity, and grace from you.  Generally I can manage the speed and serenity, if not always the other two.  The last two days I've been slipping.  Four days of rejuvenating literary immersion should be just what I need.

Rant over.  By next Monday morning I will love customer service again, or at least see the amusing side again and dislike it a little less fiercely.

I must conclude this post with a photo of my alter-ego, the Feral Ballerina, from Stephen Pastis' comic strip Pearls Before Swine.


  1. It was nice to finally meet you at the PNWA Conference. I'm sorry to hear about the way some customers treat you and I hope the time you spent at the conference rejuvinated you. Best wishes to you in all the endeavours you and your husband pursue.

  2. Thank you. It was lovely to finally meet you as well. Here's hoping for a good year of writing, and with any luck I'll see you again next year.