Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Big News. Big. Huge.

Here's something pretty cool: I applied for a new job. I went through all of the steps. I wrote a cover letter, updated my resume, did a fifteen-minute screening call and then a one-hour in-person committee interview. After that, I became a finalist, and I did a full-day candidate visit complete with two demo lessons with real kids. There were also six interviews with real adults.

Isn't that a lot?

I'm lucky because at the end of it all, I got picked for the job. I think you're supposed to play it cool on the offer call and say you need some time to think about it, but I didn't do that. I basically interrupted my new supervisor to yell, "I'M THRILLED, AND I'M TAKING IT!"

The whole thing was for an internal transfer position at my same fantastic independent school, and here's the deal:

Beginning next fall, instead of teaching sixth and seventh grades, I'm going to teach third grade. Third grade! In a self-contained classroom where I can work on empathy and community and global competence all day long while also thinking about all the core subjects plus social and emotional coaching! Further, I'm going to handle walking in lines and distributing snack!

Lucky for me, someone I know and love a lot has expertly taught third grade for years. I called Lee. She totally coached me, you guys. She made me feel like I could do it. When I got the job, she said, "Welcome to Thirdland," and I felt like I was 100% on the team.

I think it might be the best thing ever.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Listen to Your Mother Twin Cities 2018

Here's a picture of me practicing for tonight's show. My lip might be curling in an unattractive way.
Photo Credit: Ann Marie Photography The lip curl is obviously not her fault.
In a few hours, I'll be reading a story called "Labor and Reunion" in a show called Listen to Your Mother. I wrote the story myself. It's a true one about being an adopted person and having two mothers. It's also about giving birth and being a mother myself.

That sounds like a lot, but my part only runs 4 minutes and 45 seconds, so there's no need to panic about length. And, I included a few marginally funny jokes. If you go to the show, please laugh in the appropriate places. You'll be able to tell, I think, that I tried for humor.

Of course, I'm nervous. Here are some particular fears:

  • That I'll trip on the way to the stage, need to catch myself, and shove my butt toward the audience in an awkward way.
  • That I'll choke on my spit.
  • That my bra strap will fall down.
  • That I'll lose my spot on the page and need to tell the large audience to "hold please."
  • That the audience will be weirdly silent without any laughter or reaction at all. This has happened to me before at a Back-to-School Night, and it's unpleasant.
Those are the major ones. Here are some minors:
  • That I'll have to go to the bathroom a lot of times in advance of the show and struggle to remove my jumpsuit. 
  • That the sash part of the jumpsuit will fall in the toilet during one of these trips.
  • That the reddish-orange jumpsuit will remind listeners of prison.
  • That I'll mess up the group bow.
  • That I've forgotten to shave one of my two armpits. 
  • (Update: I just checked, and we're good to go on the armpit front.)
I think that's it. Remember, I signed up for this. I auditioned for it, in fact. It's happening. Go time.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Season of Psychosis

I've been super into this podcast called Happier in Hollywood. On it, two tv writers and life-long friends discuss their work, friendship, and "the war of attrition that's life in Los Angeles." I feel like these gals are basically my best friends.

I mean, not really, I have lots of amazing IRL friends who perform the role of stalwart pals and confidants. But, I also like these two podcast women -- my best friends for a half-hour on Thursdays. 

They've been giving lots of excellent advice about taking feedback (just take it--it doesn't mean that people don't like you or believe in your talent), owning your career (just because someone else can't do the job doesn't mean you can't), and the next big move (your job is what you do from 8-6, your career is what you do from 7-Midnight, or in my case from 4:45-6:10am plus summer).

Recently, the podcast gals helped me process the eleven-page editorial letter I received from my new literary agency. At first glance, the letter looks like, "Hey, thanks for choosing us to represent you! Now, here's how you suck! We'll detail for you, line-by-line and section-by-section, the many mistakes you've made in this manuscript! And, oh, by the way, it's terrible!"

Luckily, I already had a schema for this moment from Liz and Sarah of Happier in Hollywood. After a notes call on their first pilot script, they cried and told their agent they should probably quit the project because the development team must hate them. In fact, no. The "notes" phase is normal.

Feedback and a bizillion revisions are part of the process. Also, have you read Lee's book? She claims that pretty much every writer gets an editorial letter. She proves this assertion with evidence and examples. Every writer goes back to the drawing board with a book that's maybe above average and attempts to make it great. My one measly, eleven-page letter from my friendly agency is probably the first of several major guttings I and my poor book will endure.

So here's my plan: the two main characters are getting rewrites and extensions. There will be new stakes, maybe a new ending. The first chapter is going to start in a different place. Some minor characters, and maybe even some bigger ones, are getting cut. It might be hard to say goodbye, but the book may become better for it.

Let's hope that the book becomes better and that I can actually do what the agency's asking. I mean, I might as well try.