If I'm going to retroactively continue this "including links to things I've written" tradition, I might as well mention that I had a piece a while back on Salon about tips on how to survive as a freelancer. Check it out here.
All right. Now that I've aired my Into the Wild grievances (which was surprisingly satisfying), here's what I actually wanted to write about: I just had a piece come out in The Washington Post about the annual summer convention of the National Junior Classical League. That is, 1,500 Latin-obsessed teenagers, parents, teachers and chaperones. (It was, in other words, heaven.) I also did a video of the conference, which I'm particularly psyched about.
But the best part so far has been the response -- I'm used to getting reader comments on Salon that say things like "you are disgusting" or "I'll bring the cheese, since you brought the whine." They make me feel so fantastically good about myself that I have stopped reading them. (I mean, really. I'd rather go eat real cheese and wine than read comments about what a horrible writer/woman/person I am.)
The response of the Latin community, on the other hand, has been fantastic. Freelance writers out there -- this is clearly the audience to highlight if you would like to feel good about yourselves. These are lovely people! And they say lovely things!
Some observations and lessons, gleaned from last night's tutoring sessions:
-do not wear a Chinatown Ice Cream Factory baby-t unless you want to watch a middle school boy direct all his answers about the fifth declension to the general area of your right breast
-if a very cute fifth grade girl giggles and says, "Try my special pen!" be aware that it MIGHT have a small electronic device that, when the top of the pen is clicked, delivers an electric shock to the user's right hand, resulting in a cascade of laughter from said fifth grader and a tingling sensation all the way up to the user's right elbow
-an observation: after noticing that two of my students' bathrooms had small bowls with Siamese fighting fish in them, I asked where the fish had come from. The answer? Bar Mitzvah party favors. It seems a bit weird to me to give living creatures out as party favors to begin with, but apparently the hosts failed to mention that Siamese fighting fish are so named because they attack anything you put into the bowl with them.
"I had no idea," said one mother. "I thought it would be lonely, so I put another fish in the bowl. Four hours later, my beautiful goldfish was bellyup. Now I have to feed it blood worms with a tweezer."
This is irresponsible party-hosting behavior! And besides, it's weird to give pets as gifts--what's next? Win your own puppy?
Gene here. As some may know, I make my money from freelancing, mostly in the non-profit world. I had finally decided to sell out and make it big for an internet consultancy. The interviews went well, and I was told that I would probably be picked up for an assignment soon, probably with one of those fancy bank places one hears about in the news. You can imagine my surprise then, when someone from the firm called me last friday to tell me that he had "bad news." Apparently the firm didn't want to hire me after all. I was, as the English say, gutted. Man, ain't that a can of peaches!